2014 Vauxhall Corsa VXR Clubsport
* New hardcore Corsa VXR driven * 201bhp; 0-60mph in 6.5sec * On sale now, priced from £22,390...
The Vauxhall Corsa VXR has never quite achieved the same reverence from hot hatch fans as some of its peers – notably the Ford Fiesta ST and Renaultsport Clio 200.
However, the Corsa VXR Nurburgring came very close, and now it's got a new Remus sports exhaust and a new name: the Vauxhall Corsa VXR Clubsport. Everything else is still the same as in the old Nurburgring edition, meaning you get a turbocharged 1.6 with 201bhp, a limited-slip differential, Bilstein springs and uprated Brembo brakes.
The standard Corsa VXR is still available to buy for £18,995, but has less power and makes do without the pricey motorsport-derived upgrades of the Clubsport.
What’s the Vauxhall Corsa VXR Clubsport like to drive?
It’s lots of fun. Sling the VXR Clubsport into a corner and you can feel the differential working to drag the nose around and prevent the car from washing wide of your chosen line, as some high-powered front-drive cars have a tendency to do.
This means you can get on the power quickly out of a corner without worrying about the Corsa doing something unexpected. It’s an easy and entertaining car to drive quickly.
However, give it a bit too much power out of a corner (particularly in damp conditions) and the tyres will scrabble for grip and cause the car to weave a little as the steering wheel writhes in your hands. It doesn't help that the engine, although flexible and happy to pull from low revs, has a noticeable surge in power when the turbo kicks in.
Still, the steering responds quickly and gives you enough confidence to make the most of the available traction, and the dampers keep the body in check even through very fast, tight corners. Having such firm suspension does result in a choppy, unsettled ride quality over undulations in the road, but the damping is good enough that it’s not too harsh over scruffy urban surfaces and things do settle down on the motorway.
The brakes could do with more sensitivity in the initial pedal travel, but it's easy to modulate the pressure when you’re braking harder. Outright stopping power is good, too.
Refinement isn't so impressive. There’s lots of tyre noise and engine boom at higher speeds, although the rorty exhaust note as you accelerate from lower revs is likely to be a big selling point for many.
What’s the 2014 Vauxhall Corsa VXR Clubsport like inside?
The Recaro sports seats are comfortable and supportive, but the dashboard feels old now. Despite piano-black trim and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, the switchgear and materials look quite cheap, and you have to pay £750 extra to get the colour infotainment system shown in our pictures, which comes with sat-nav.
All Corsa VXR models are three-door only, so it’s a squeeze to get into the back past the chunky Recaro seats. Once perched on the back bench, there’s enough room for two small adults or children.
Boot space isn't class-leading, but the 285-litre load bay will be more than good enough for light everyday use.
Should I buy one?
No, because although the Clubsport is good, it could be even better and it also costs an eye-watering £22,390. That's £5395 more than a Ford Fiesta ST. In fact, it's more expensive than the larger and much more powerful Ford Focus ST.
Sadly for the Corsa Clubsport, then, there are better hot hatches available for a lot less money.
What Car? says...
Vauxhall Corsa VXR Clubsport
Engine size 1.6-litre turbo petrol
Price from £22,390
Torque 184lb ft
0-60mph 6.5 seconds
Top speed 143mph
Fuel economy 37.3mpg