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What is the Vauxhall Corsa?

This year will be a significant one in terms of the Vauxhall Corsa nameplate as the fifth-generation small hatchback will become available.

Right now, little is known about the Mk5 Corsa, other than it will share its underpinnings with the Mk2 Peugeot 208, will be five-door-only and it’ll continue to go head-to-head with long-time foes such as the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo.

At-a-glance 2019 Vauxhall Corsa specs

  • Top speed: 101-129mph
  • 0-62mph: 8.6-15.0 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 31-42mpg
  • Emissions: 128-150g/km of CO2
  • Boot space: 285-1,050 litres

Which versions of the Vauxhall Corsa are available?

So far there has been limited information revealed about the fifth-generation Corsa, except that it will be available in petrol, diesel and fully electric forms – the latter expected to be badged Vauxhall eCorsa.

Despite the Mk5 model being based on a platform devised by new parent company PSA (the firm that owns Citroen, DS and Peugeot as well), it’s expected that fans of the small Vauxhall will refer to it as Corsa F, to continue that particular tradition.

Why ‘F’ for a fifth-generation car? Well, what European enthusiasts know as the Opel Corsa A was sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Nova.

Vauxhall Corsa five door, rear

Until then, Vauxhall sells a reduced line-up of fourth-generation Corsa three- and five-door hatchbacks, now only available with a choice of four different power output 1.4-litre petrol engines.

Power for the Corsa E ranges from 75hp up to 150hp, the latter the sole option in the sporty looking Corsa GSi.

Other trim levels follow Vauxhall’s usual theme of Design, SE, Sport, SRi and SRi VX-Line – the luxury leaning Elite has been discontinued, as have entry-level models such as the Sting.

Until 2018 Vauxhall also continued its tradition of offering a commercial vehicle version of its smallest model - based on the three-door bodyshell - sold as the Corsavan.

What is the Vauxhall Corsa VXR?

Over the years, Vauxhall’s had a habit of varying the titles given to its sportier offerings, but for the last two generations of Corsa the brand’s been consistent.

Starting in 2007, the quickest of the range was badged Vauhall Corsa VXR – this from a time when that label was applied to fast versions of almost every model in the range, including the Meriva MPV.

What is a Vauxhall Corsa VXR?

While it was never regarded in the same revered way as the Ford Fiesta ST, the Corsa VXR was nevertheless a belter in terms of performance, if not joyous handling. More recent versions of the VXR, which ceased to be sold in 2018, were producing 205hp and a 6.5-second 0-62mph time. It’s no slouch.

Previously, with the Mk1 and Mk2 Corsa, the punchiest versions were badged GSi, a tage that was first used on the fastest of the facelifted Vauxhall Novas from 1990.

Vauxhall Corsa styling and engineering

Vauxhall’s then owner, General Motors, was in financial dire straits when the third-generation Corsa was due for replacement, so rather than start complete afresh, it significantly updated the outgoing model.

For the Corsa E, this included using an updated version of the SCCS platform, underpinnings that were shared with the Fiat Punto. The front end was significantly reworked and the bodywork was subtly altered, but side-by-side the similarities between the Corsa Mk3 and Mk4 were obvious.

At least the interior was reworked – to a successful standard – but this couldn’t help mask the fact that the Corsa was now long in the tooth and struggling to be a genuine alternative to its better rivals.

Is the Vauxhall Corsa good to drive?

One aspect of the Corsa that markedly improved during its transition to fourth-generation guise was how much more enjoyable it was to drive.

For the most part, the ride quality was comfier and the steering sharper, with greater feedback. As an entry-level supermini it worked well.

Where there was less success was with the zippier models with a Sports Chassis option that included larger alloy wheels. Here the Corsa was fidgety over small imperfections in the road and its stiffer nature made it less pleasant to drive at both lower and higher speeds.

How much does the Vauxhall Corsa cost?

Small hatchbacks should be relatively inexpensive, especially from a mainstream brand such as Vauxhall, but that’s not the case with the Corsa.

Whether comparing list prices or finance packages using PCH or PCP arrangements, the Corsa’s rivals significantly undercut it, whichever price point you’re starting at. Particularly notable is the Corsa GSi that’s priced the same as the significantly superior Fiesta ST – there’s really no comparison. 

Find out what Vauxhall Corsa drivers think of their cars with our comprehensive owners’ reviews.

Vauxhall Corsa Model History

Fourth-generation Vauxhall Corsa (2014-19)

  • October 2014 – Heavily revised Corsa range launched in three- and five-door hatchback forms, initially in Sting, Sting R, Life, Excite, Limited Edition, Design, SRi, SRi VX-Line and SE trims. The launch range of engines comprises of 1.2i 70hp, 1.4i 90hp, 1.0i Turbo 90hp and 115hp, and 1.4i Turbo 100hp petrols, with diesels restricted to 1.3CDTi 75hp and 95hp versions.
  • April 2015 – High performance VXR model on sale, with first deliveries in May. As before, only available in three-door form, with power from the 1.6-litre turbo quoted at 205hp.
  • September 2015 – Powered by an uprated 150hp version of the 1.4i Turbo petrol motor, the Black Edition and Red Edition bridge the gap to the powerful VXR model. Standard equipment includes 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and black and red paint schemes, complete with a sporty bodykit.
  • November 2015 – All versions barring the Sting and Sting R are fitted with an upgraded IntelliLink R4.0 multimedia system, complete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. Vauxhall’s OnStar virtual concierge service, together with the in-car wifi hotspot, is now standard on SE, Limited Edition, Black Edition, Red Edition and VXR trims. Life trim level discontinued.
  • January 2016 – Entry-level 1.4i 75hp engine replaces the 1.2i 70hp.
  • May 2016 – New flagship Elite trim level sits above SE and features climate control, bi-xenon headlamps and rear privacy glass.
  • April 2018 - Rationalised range due to 1.0-litre petrol and all diesels being discontinued. New trim level hierarchy introduced of Active, Design, Energy, Sport, SRi Nav, SRi VX-Line Nav Black, SE Nav and VXR.
  • July 2018 - GSi trim level reintroduced and available to order to sit below the faster VXR models, powered exclusively by the 150hp version of the 1.4i Turbo petrol engine. Deliveries from September.
  • April 2019 - In anticpation of the next-generation Corsa's arrival, the range is further stripped back, including the GSi model going off sale.

Third-generation Vauxhall Corsa (2006-14)

Vauxhall Corsa Mk3

Launched in 2006 as a sister car to the Fiat Grande Punto, the Mk3 Corsa (or Corsa D) was significantly larger and positioned further upmarket than its predecessor – options such as a heated steering wheel had not previously been seen on a car of this size.

Like the Mk1 Corsa, this time around there were different bodystyles for the three- and five-door versions: the former was almost coupe-like in profile, the latter a more practical, spacious shape.

Power came from a range of petrol and diesel engines, with the sportiest Corsa VXR as the performance flagship. This time around, though, there were no Tigra-badged spinoffs.

Read our user-generated third-generation Corsa owners’ reviews and find examples for sale.

Second-generation Vauxhall Corsa (2000-06)

Vauxhall Corsa Mk2

Vauxhall attempted to capture the cuteness of the original Corsa with a sharper suit for the Mk2 models on sale from 2000, but somehow failed to score a hit.

Both three- and five-door cars looked much more similar this time around, although the latter retained the original’s third side window behind the doors for an airier cabin, and all models had high-set tail lamps, with a red, silver or black finish depending upon the trim level and year.

Often known as Corsa C, the petrol and diesel engine range stretched from 1.0- to 1.8-litre capacities, with the Corsa GSi attempting to fill the performance brief.

A mild facelift was ushered-in during 2003, with shapelier bumpers and revised lighting, a year ahead of the arrival of the Corsa-based Mk2 Tigra – this time the name was applied to a two-seater roadster with a folding metal hard-top.

Discover what drivers think of their second-generation Corsas in our owners’ reviews and look at used cars for sale.

First-generation Vauxhall Corsa (1993-00)

Vauxhall Corsa Mk1

‘The new supermodel from Vauxhall’ was the tagline that accompanied the arrival of the Mk1 Corsa (or Corsa B) in 1993 – a rather apt title given how good looking the newcomer was in comparison with the dowdy Nova it replaced.

Unlike the Nova, there were no Vauxhall Corsa Saloons – just three- and five-door hatchbacks, but they were differently styled from the windscreen rearwards.

Pert, with a more aggressively sloping tailgate, the three-door majored on cuteness, while the taller, more upright rear end of the five-door gave an impression of roominess even before you got in.

While better than the Nova to drive, it was still a tad ordinary and the engine range hardly fired the imagination either – how does a 50hp non-turbocharged diesel sound, for instance? Even the Corsa GSi, the supposed performance flagship lacked lustre, with barely more than 100hp to its name.

Driving gripes aside, the Corsa formed the basis of two later curious. First to arrive in 1994 was the rather glamourous looking Tigra coupe, with an enormous wraparound glass canopy tailgate – overall it was more fun to look at than to drive. Less commercially successful was the Corsa Cabriolet of 1998, based on the three-door body with a canvas roof and exposed rollbars to act as a frame for it. It smacked of Heath Robinson, and few were sold.

Fancy a Mk1 Corsa? Find out what drivers think of them with our owners’ reviews and check out used cars for sale.