Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback full 9 point review
Four-cylinder petrol options include a 1.2 (the entry-level engine), a 1.4 and a turbocharged 1.4. A 1.0 turbocharged three-cylinder is available with 89bhp or 114bhp; it's smooth-revving and flexible, and the 114bhp version is good fun. The 1.4T is cheaper and still pretty brisk, but it doesn't rev as sweetly as the 1.0. The 1.2 is slow, and we'd also avoid the 1.3 diesels unless economy is a defining factor.
Ride & Handling
Models on 16-inch or smaller wheels get soft suspension, which is pliant and cushioning, although you get a bit of body float over high-speed undulations and the occasional shudder over mid-corner bumps. The firmer set-up you get on 17-inch alloys is a touch harsher over sharp-edged bumps, but it makes the Corsa keener to turn in to corners, reduces body lean and is never uncomfortable. All Corsas have loads of grip, but the light steering is short of feedback.
You can hear tyre noise at high speeds, particularly on models with 17-inch wheels, although it's acceptable by class standards, as is the amount of wind noise. The four-cylinder 1.4 turbo and 1.2 petrol engines sound coarse even at moderate revs, but the three-cylinder 1.0-litre is supremely quiet and smooth-revving. The six-speed manual gearbox (fitted to the more powerful versions) has a slick shift, but the five-speeder has a slightly rubbery action.
Buying & Owning
The Corsa is keenly priced, undercutting most key rivals. Discounts and finance options are also competitive, but below-par resale values mean the Corsa will be worth less used than some rivals, notably the VW Polo. Business users who go for the lower-powered 1.0-litre version will be getting one of the cheapest small cars in the class. This engine has mediocre economy, though; it achieved 43.6mpg in our True MPG real-world tests.
Quality & Reliability
A variety of textured materials, including gloss-finish trim and cushioned armrests on the front doors, make the Corsa's interior look smart. Everything generally feels good quality, but the odd sharp edge and brittle-feeling plastic means the overall finish still falls short of a VW Polo's. Reliability should be good; owners reported few major problems with the previous model in our most recent satisfaction survey.
Safety & Security
All Corsas get six airbags, stability control and hill-start assist (so you don't need to use the handbrake to stop rolling backwards on a hill). There are also packages of optional high-tech safety aids, including forward collision alert and a system that warns you if the car starts to wander from its lane. The Corsa was awarded four out of five in its Euro NCAP crash test. A spare tyre costs extra, although remote central locking and an engine immobiliser are standard.
Behind The Wheel
Most people will be able to get comfortable, provided it's in one of the models with seat-height adjustment (from Design trim upwards). Even so, the seat is short of lower-back support, and long-legged drivers may find the seat doesn't go back far enough. The air-con controls are simple, but the colour touch-screen can be a bit confusing and slow to respond. Many menus on the driver's readout are controlled via a simple rotary switch on the indicator stalk.
Space & Practicality
There's plenty of headroom in the front and back (although access is limited in three-door models), and the cabin is quite wide by the standards of the class, so four average-sized adults should be pretty comfortable. While the boot is big, however, it doesn't get the variable-height floor that some rivals do, and you have to go for SRi spec or above to get split-folding rear seats; even then, these leave a big step in the load bay when they're folded.
All Corsas get electric front windows and a heated windscreen, but the basic Life and Sting models do without air-con. Excite gets this, plus a colour touch-screen, Bluetooth and USB connections, automatic lights and wipers, and alloy wheels. Most people will be better off with a mid-spec SRi version, which adds sports seats, cruise control and heated door mirrors. Design is intended for business users; it's cheaper than SRi, but does without alloys and automatic lights and wipers.