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View all Vauxhall Corsa reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.7 out of 5 3.7

Ageing, middle-of-the-road hatchback - replacement imminent

Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback Review Video
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PROS

  • Strong equipment levels for most versions
  • More engaging to drive than many rivals
  • Sweet 1.0-litre engines from 2014-18
  • Fine VXR performance versions from 2015-18

CONS

  • Based on the old one; on sale until 2020
  • Pricey PCP finance compared with newer rivals
  • Non-turbo engines give weaker performance
  • Sporty GSI model slower than rivals

PROS

  • Strong equipment levels for most versions
  • More engaging to drive than many rivals
  • Sweet 1.0-litre engines from 2014-18
  • Fine VXR performance versions from 2015-18

CONS

  • Based on the old one; on sale until 2020
  • Pricey PCP finance compared with newer rivals
  • Non-turbo engines give weaker performance
  • Sporty GSI model slower than rivals

Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback rivals

Along with the Ford Fiesta, the Vauxhall Corsa supermini usually somewhere near the top of the list of bestselling cars in the UK, shifting thousands of sales every month. What makes that even more impressive is the fact that the model on sale is largely the same as the verions that debuted over 10 years ago, with a major facelift undertaken in 2014, updating the styling, engine line-up and interior to keep it up to date among rivals.

The recipe is a good one, with sharp looks for the three-door version and a reasonable choice of engines and trim levels, though Vauxhall's PCP finance offers are often well off the pace, leaving the Corsa with higher monthly payments than many rivals. Despite this, the Corsa is still strong competition in the sales charts for the likes of the Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia, as well as many others. 

Significant facelift in 2014

When it arrived in 2014, the current Corsa was more of a hefty overhaul of the outgoing car, as opposed to anything all-new. The biggest visual changes for this generation Corsa over the 2006 original are found at the front, with a sharper overall look with larger grille and distinctive headlights with recognisable LEDs similar to those you'll find on the rest of the Vauxhall range. It’s the side profile where this and the previous Corsa iterations look most similar, as the windows continue into the current generation. The more coupe-like glass outline of the three-door is slightly extended with glossy plastic trim just behind the rearmost side window.

Trim levels: many and varied

You'd better like the Corsa, because Vauxhall confirmed that it will remain on sale in this form in the UK until early 2020, even though its five-door only replacement has already been revealed in Corsa-e electric form. That explains why from April 2018 the trim level structure was revised and slimmed down to Active, Design, Energy, Griffin, Sport, SRi Nav, SRi VX-Line Nav Black and SE Nav. Vauxhall reintroduced the Corsa GSi badge from July 2018 to sit below the rapid VXR models, but have since been discontinued. At the same time the number of engines was significantly pared back. All are now 1.4-litre petrols in four states of tune. The economical diesels and the much-liked 1.0-litre turbo petrols are no more.

High-tech interior and a sharp drive

Climb inside the Corsa and the Adam city car's influence is obvious with a stylish dashboard featuring soft-touch plastics for the upper moulding, more technology (almost every version benefits from the IntelliLink multimedia package). It drives significantly better than the old Corsa too, riding more pliantly on Comfort suspension models. However, at times there is a little too much firmness on those with the Sports set-up.

Vauxhall Corsa interior cabin design

Engines: all-petrol line-up from 2018

Over the Corsa's life-cycle there has been a mix of impressively efficient engines, with the focus being economy rather than high performance. So, none of the range completes the 0-62mph acceleration in less than 10 seconds, save for the GSi and the flagship VXR, which is no longer available new. VXR aside, the headline-grabbing engine was the three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol, in 90hp and 115hp outputs. We were particularly impressed by its refinement and balance between speed and efficiency, so it's a pity it was dropped in spring 2018. It’s also quieter than Ford’s similarly-sized EcoBoost engine. Depending on wheel size, the lower-powered version of the two units boasts up to 65.7mpg and as little as 100g/km of CO2.

It’s not the most efficient Corsa though; that honour still belongs to the 1.3-litre CDTi diesels in 75hp and 95hp forms, where Vauxhall claimed as high as 88.3mpg, resulting in CO2 emissions of 85g/km. Again, the diesels disappeared as part of that 2018 range rationalisation, as did the unfancied 70hp 1.2-litre petrol. Depending on trim, the 2018 engines are limited to non-turbo 1.4-litre petrols delivering 75hp and 90hp, together with turbo motors of the same size producing 100hp and 150hp. That 90hp version is also available with the option of a conventional automatic transmission; all other Corsas have five- or six-speed manual gearboxes.

Sporty Vauxhall Corsa GSi and VXR models topped the range

There was plenty of performance on tap with the Vauxhall Corsa VXR, thanks to its 205hp 1.6-litre turbo engine: top speed is 143mph, while it will scorch from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. From summer 2018, the Corsa GSi was introduced, boasting the suspension set-up of the VXR model combined with Vauxhall's 150hp 1.4-litre turbo engine. Vauxhall quoted a maximum speed of 129mph for this gap-plugging warm hatch. Be aware, though, that at launch the GSi cost more on PCP finance than the Ford Fiesta ST – a model with the power to take on the VXR, let alone the GSi. Sales of the VXR discontinued towards the end of 2018, the GSi in spring 2019.

Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback rivals

Other Vauxhall Corsa models: