Vauxhall Corsa long-term test: report 3

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...

Vauxhall Corsa at petrol station

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 1532 List price £22,905 Target Price £19,590 Price as tested £23,605 Official economy 55.4mpg Test economy 44.7mpg

30 March 2024 – Are you sitting comfortably?

Small car, big city – my Vauxhall Corsa has been very much at home in London so far. Its small dimensions make it easy to park, and the 99bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine has the pep to let me keep up with the Ubers, black cabs and scooters of the Capital's roads.

But how does the Corsa cope when you fill it with people and luggage, and then venture out of town? This is something I’ve been longing to do since I took delivery of the car, and last weekend I finally had the opportunity to take it on a fairly lengthy drive to Hampshire with two friends.

Vauxhall Corsa long-termer with passengers

The first test, as with any road trip, came when we packed the boot. And the Corsa performed very well here; its 309-litre load area swallowed all of our bags, boots and coats with ease. My only gripe is the high loading lip, but thankfully none of our bags were particularly heavy, so it wasn’t a major problem on this occasion.

Then there was the next test: passenger space. Now, I have to say I was slightly worried about this, because I’m 6ft 2in and one of my passengers is 6ft 5in. However, with a designated seating plan that put us in opposite corners of the car, and the front passenger seat slid a long way forwards, I can confirm the Corsa took all of us relatively comfortably.

Vauxhall Corsa back seat space

My loftiest passenger said he had just enough knee and head room in the back, while my front passenger still had enough leg room. The latter factor is down to the small and shallow glovebox, which has probably been carved out for this exact reason.

At the beginning of our journey, the Corsa was in familiar territory: navigating London traffic. Then, when we eventually hit the M25 and M3, it remained a trooper: the engine had no trouble getting the car up to motorway speeds, and the only thing that dampened the mood a little was some wind and road noise. 

Vauxhall Corsa long-termer country lane

However, once we left the motorway and headed onto some country lanes, the journey became less comfortable. The fairly firm suspension set-up didn’t cope very well with the rutted and undulated roads; we certainly noticed ourselves moving around in the car more. I suspect a Peugeot 208 or Volkswagen Polo would have coped better here, as would a Corsa on the standard 16in wheels (rather than the 17s on my GS spec car).

Still, by the end of our 200-mile round trip, the Corsa had redeemed itself. Even with a heavy load, it averaged 47.8mpg across the mix of town, motorway and B-road driving, which I think is more than respectable. In fact, I think the Corsa coped well with the trip overall, so it’s not just a townie.

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