2020 Vauxhall Corsa: full engine range revealed
Previously, we've only seen the electric version of the new Vauxhall Corsa, but now Vauxhall has released details of the petrol and diesel engines that will make up the bulk of sales...
On sale March 2020 Price from £14,000 (est)
Given all the hype surrounding electric cars, you could be forgiven for thinking that they're about to overtake petrol and diesel models in the sales charts. However, while demand is growing fast, they still represent less than 1% of the total new car market. So, in many ways, it's the conventional version of the new Vauxhall Corsa you see here, not the fully electric Corsa-e revealed a month ago, that's most important.
Exact numbers are still to be confirmed, but Vauxhall claims all versions emit less CO2 than the cleanest version of the current car, partly thanks to a weight reduction of up to 108kg.
The range kicks off with a 74bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol that's combined with a five-speed manual gearbox, or there's a 99bhp turbocharged version of this engine, which is available with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic 'box. A 99bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel completes the launch line-up, although it's not expected to be as popular as the petrols.
We won’t get to drive the finished car until the end of the year, but we’ve already tried a prototype of the 1.2-litre turbo petrol, 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 Corsa isn’t dramatically larger in any direction than the outgoing model, because Vauxhall’s research reveals that customers value its compact dimensions.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t roomier, however; 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.
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.
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.
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Top 10 small cars
The new Corsa is entering a crowded market place, so what are the small cars to beat? Below we count down the top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid.
10. Mini 3dr
Although the Mini 3dr doesn’t have the practicality of its slightly larger 5dr sibling, it's no less worthy of making the cut in your deliberations – particularly if you’d like your small car to have a premium feel but don’t regularly need all five seats.
There’s a bewildering array of options with the Mini that you can use to customise your car and make it truly your own. However, stick with the Cooper model that comes with an excellent 1.5-litre petrol engine and choose wisely from the optional packages and you’ll have a well-equipped and well-built small car for a reasonable outlay.
Our pick: 1.5T Cooper
9. Honda Jazz
The Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini-MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality, and it might even outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It's just a shame that its ride is rather unsettled.
The Jazz was the first car to come with ultra-practical fold-up rear seat bases that let you create a space large enough for a pushbike or bulky flat-pack furniture.
Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE
8. Mini 5dr
If you want a truly high-end small hatchback, the Mini 5dr is a great option. If you go for the Cooper version, you'll also get a great engine and all the technology you could ever want.
The Mini has a classy, tech-laden interior and plenty of personalisation options. Inside, a dinner plate sized central dial houses the infotainment screen.
Our pick: 1.5T Cooper 5dr
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