2020 Vauxhall Corsa-e revealed: price, specs and release date
All-new Vauxhall Corsa will be sold in petrol, diesel and fully electric forms, with the latter variant offering a 211-mile range...
On sale Early 2020 Price from Around £22,000 for eCorsa (before £3500 gov't grant)
The new Vauxhall Corsa may be a small hatchback, but it represents a giant leap into the mainstream for electric cars. That’s because this model that sells in huge numbers will for the first time be offered with battery power as well as petrol and diesel engines.
Indeed, Vauxhall sees the electric variant as so important to the Corsa’s future that it has chosen to reveal it ahead of the combustion-engined models.
Called the Corsa-e, it uses a 134bhp motor and a 50kWh lithium ion battery that’s good for a range of 211 miles between charges on the official WLTP test cycle. That matches the figure of its sister car, the Peugeot e-208 (due to go on sale around the same time), and compares favourably with today’s Renault Zoe, which manages just 188 miles.
In addition, Vauxhall claims that the range of the Corsa-e can be extended by as much as 40% when it’s driven in its Eco mode, which restricts performance and increases the amount of energy that the regenerative braking system harvests to put back into the battery when you lift off the accelerator pedal.
A full charge of the Corsa-e from a domestic three-pin socket takes more than 20 hours, but this drops to eight hours if you use a dedicated 7.4kW home wallbox. Alternatively, the battery can be returned to 80% capacity in just half an hour via a 100kW rapid charger of the sort you will find at most motorway service stations.
Most performance figures are still to be shared, but a claimed 0-31mph time of 3.1sec suggests the car will be pretty nippy in town.
We won’t get to drive the Corsa-e until the end of the year, but we’ve already tried a prototype of the 1.2-litre turbo petrol model, with the ride and handling of this said to be 80% complete. Encouragingly, it already struck a good balance between the two, taking the edge off bumps and staying well controlled.
We were also impressed by the smoothness of the new eight-speed automatic gearbox. And while the steering of the prototype didn’t feel quite as natural as the Ford Fiesta’s, it was still precise enough and usefully light.
Despite being based on an all-new platform, the new, sixth-generation Corsa isn’t dramatically larger in any direction than the current model, because Vauxhall’s research reveals that customers value its compact dimensions.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t roomier, however, because clever packaging has liberated extra space for both passengers and luggage. Boot volume is one of the areas where the current Corsa struggles, with rivals such as the Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo having notably more.
In a move that echoes other recent hatchback launches, there will be no three-door version of the new Corsa, owing to slow sales of such models in recent years.
Last year, Vauxhall showed a concept car called the GT X, which featured a full-width grille with integrated headlights. However, while this bold look will eventually be applied to all Vauxhall models, development of the Corsa was already too far advanced for it to be used, so the front end is instead an evolution of the previous Corsa’s.
Similarly, the interior will feel familiar to current Vauxhall drivers, despite the brand having been sold to Citroën, DS and Peugeot owner the PSA Group in 2017, because it retains physical air conditioning controls instead of placing them on the touchscreen like those brands do. Some may argue that the PSA approach results in a more modern look, but Vauxhall’s is better for usability.
While pricing is still to be confirmed, we know the Corsa-e will be positioned towards the top of the Corsa line-up. So, it comes with a lot of standard kit, including a configurable digital instrument display alongside a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
A wide range of driver assistance systems will also be available, including adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitoring and an automatic emergency braking system that can detect cyclists and pedestrians .
Vauxhall says the e-Corsa will swiftly be followed by more electrified cars, including next year’s new Mokka X small SUV, and that by 2024 it will have an electric or plug-in hybrid version of every model in its range. Watch this space.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
The top 10 electric cars
The Vauxhall Corsa-e joins an ever-growing list of electric cars, but what are the best models on sale today? Below we count down the top 10 – and reveal the ones that are best avoided.
10. Hyundai Ioniq
The Ioniq is really three cars in one – it's available as a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and as a fully electric car. The EV version we're including here has a range of 174 miles, and enough torque to make acceleration feel brisk around town. The interior is nice, too, and our recommended Premium models get sat-nav and heated front seats as standard.
9. BMW i3
Even though it’s getting a bit old now, it still looks incredibly futuristic outside plus its smart interior makes the i3 one of the most appealing electric cars on sale today. Its groundbreaking use of super-light carbonfibre and aluminium offset the weight of the heavy battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, and a recent facelift means it’s better to drive than ever. BMW reckons that it’ll manage around 160 miles on a full charge in real-world conditions, but the i3 covered 121 miles on our Real Range test.
8. Tesla Model X
On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream combination, offering the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do look a little low-rent.