Vauxhall Corsa long-term test: report 2

It's one of the most popular small cars in the UK, but are the Corsa's huge sales well-earned? We're living with a petrol example to find out...

George driving Vauxhall Corsa through city

The car Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Turbo GS Run by George Hill, staff writer

Why it’s here To find out whether Britain’s most popular small car is more than just a no-nonsense runabout

Needs to Make a daily commute through central London as easy as possible, while also being fun to drive, practical and cheap to run

Miles covered 1346 List price £22,905 Target Price £19,590 Price as tested £23,605 Official economy 55.4mpg Test economy 49.5mpg

8 March 2024 – Simple pleasures

Like an old wood burning stove that heats your home, sometimes the old ways are still the best. Similarly, there are several features on my Vauxhall Corsa that seem a bit old fashioned in today’s world, but to be honest, I actually think they work really well.

One of those features is the switchblade key. In some ways, you could say that it’s poor that the Corsa still has this, because keyless entry is more convenient. However, my time so far has proved that, at times, it isn’t.

Vauxhall Corsa checking door is locked

For example, if you want to check whether the car is locked or not, you can simply click the lock button and pull on the door handle. In a car with keyless entry, you can’t do this, because once you pull on the handle it automatically detects the key in your pocket and it opens the door. Doing it this way, you have to fully trust the system.

Then there’s the fact that you can just pop the key in the ignition, turn the key and leave it there. This is great, because you know it’s in a dedicated storage spot. In a car with keyless entry, I normally pop the key in a cup holder or storage bin, which can be annoying because it rattles around while you’re driving.

Vauxhall Corsa manual gearbox

Another thing I’m also enjoying is the ‘old school’ manual gearbox. Even though it’s not the most precise of gearchanges (with first and reverse sometimes being a bit sticky), it’s great to have the extra control over the car on my commute – I personally prefer it to an automatic gearbox. I think it’s a shame, then, that only 28.7% of new cars sold in the UK in 2023 were equipped with one, according to official sales figures.

On the contrary, there are two more modern elements that I’m not so happy with. One of them is the digital instrument cluster, which is almost too simple with its layout. A similarly priced Seat Ibiza FR Sport has a more configurable 10.25in display fitted as standard, and it can show features such as the sat nav map.

Vauxhall Corsa digital instrument cluster

The other feature is the infotainment system. While it’s great that it has a large 10in touchscreen, the system itself is fiddly and slow to use (for example, the radio menu has small icons which are difficult to tap while driving). So, for that reason, I tend to stick with the Apple CarPlay instead.

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