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What Car? says

5 out of 5 stars

For The best used supermini around.

Against A few reliability issues, but not much else.

Verdict Sets the standard for superminis.

Go for… 1.2 Design AC 5dr

Avoid… 1.0 Expression 3dr

Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback
  • 1. Plenty of room to carry four people
  • 2. Suspension smooths out all but the harshest bumps
  • 3. Servicing costs are lower than average
  • 4. Grinding and squeaking brakes can be a problem
  • 5. Central locking problems have been reported
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Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback full review with expert trade views

Any car that has won the What Car? Car of the Year Award, and Supermini of the Year category twice, is going to be superb.

The fourth-generation Corsa manages to feel like a big car, yet it's just at home in town as it is on the motorway.

Like its contemporaries, it's larger than the model it replaced, but this gives plenty of room inside for passengers, with enough leg- and headroom to carry a family of four. The boot is a good size and has a clever underfloor storage system.

Although the Corsa uses the same chassis as the Fiat Grande Punto, the Corsa is better to drive and the suspension smoothes all but the harshest bumps.

Wind- and road noise are well contained at higher speeds, and it is surprisingly accomplished on the motorway. The materials and build quality feel solid, with well-designed, easy-to-use controls.

Trade view

Car supermarkets are a good place to track down a bargain Corsa.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The 1.0-litre feels underpowered and noisy, but the 1.2-litre model is perfectly at home in town and on A-roads. The 1.4 has enough pulling power to make higher-speed cruising more relaxed.

You can get the 1.3 diesel with either 74bhp or 89bhp – the extra performance of the 89bhp version makes it the better choice.

If you want serious performance, check out the SRi and VXR models. The SRi comes with either a 148bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol or a 123bhp 1.7-litre diesel, while the VXR has a 189bhp turbo 1.6-litre petrol engine.

These are fun and fast, but they're rare on the second-hand market, and have high purchase prices and equally high running costs.

Three-door Corsas offer a little more room in the back for passengers than five-door models, due to a slightly bigger back seat. Other than that, the two versions are the same size, and have roughly the same resale values.

Each trim is well equipped, with a CD player and central locking. Although there are cheaper models available, the Design is our favourite. Not only do you get 16-inch alloys and air-conditioning, but electrically powered front windows, heated door mirrors and an MP3-compatible stereo are included. There are also curtain airbags and ISOFIX child-seat-mounting points.

Trade view

Car supermarkets are a good place to track down a bargain Corsa.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The most economical Corsa, the lower-powered 1.3 diesel averages nearly 63mpg, while the 89bhp version does 61.4mpg.

The 1.7-litre diesel delivers between 58.9mpg and 57.6mpg, depending on trim, and the 1.0-, 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrols average between 45.6mpg and 50mpg.

It's good news on the road tax front, too, because all the small petrols – and the more powerful 1.3-litre diesel – are in VED band C. The least-powerful diesel goes one better and is in group B. Only the SRi and VXR let the side down with their group F rating.

Servicing costs are low and below those of most rivals'. Vauxhall dealers are generally cheaper than most, too, but you can save even more by using an independent garage.

The current-generation Corsa is still relatively new, so you shouldn't have to worry about repairs yet. The three-year 60,000-mile warranty and the three-year breakdown cover should cover any faults.

Trade view

Car supermarkets are a good place to track down a bargain Corsa.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Generally the Corsa is holding up well, but there are a few areas to focus on when buying used.

Grinding and squeaky brakes can afflict some cars, with dealers sometimes unable to solve the problem. So far it hasn't affected the brakes' performance, but look out for this on a test drive.

Likewise, listen for suspension clunks from the rear, which some owners have complained about.

The central locking and deadlocks can also suffer from an intermittent fault, and occasionally the engine won't start first time, but this is usually cured by removing the key from the ignition and trying again.

There has also been a recall for this generation of Corsa, concerning steering components, which could result in steering failure. Work to remedy this should have been carried out already, but if you buy your Corsa from a car supermarket, get it checked because it may have been sitting on the forecourt for some time.

Trade view

Car supermarkets are a good place to track down a bargain Corsa.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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