Vauxhall Corsa long-term test: report 4

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 Electric vs petrol

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 1692 List price £22,905 Target Price £19,590 Price as tested £23,605 Official economy 55.4mpg Test economy 44.7mpg

12 April 2024 – Electric feel

If I were to compare my Vauxhall Corsa to an Olympic athlete, I’d say it’s more like Mo Farah than Usain Bolt. The reason I’m saying this is because my petrol-powered Corsa has already proven it’s a good long-distance athlete, having easily completed a 200-mile round trip. So, when the opportunity arose to take a similarly lengthy journey to Brighton via Hampshire in a Vauxhall Corsa Electric, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try it out. After all, electric cars have far more in common with Mr Bolt (not just because of his name), seeing as they have instant pulling power available from their electric motors.

The car I drove was the newest version of the Corsa Electric, which had a 154bhp electric motor, a 48kWh (usable capacity) battery and an official range of 248 miles. In theory, this means it should have easily coped with the 160-mile round trip.

So, how did it get on? Well, I’m pleased to report that it did well. It completed the journey with little fuss, and was quieter to travel in than my car, although the ride was a little crashy over bumps because of the extra weight of the battery. The performance, meanwhile, was also as punchy as I expected; 0-62mph is rated at 8.2sec. However, this is only in Sport mode, where the full 154bhp is unleashed (Normal mode has 108bhp and Eco 81bhp). Still, in Sport, it’s quicker than the 9.9sec my petrol car can go from 0-62mph.

Vauxhall Corsa Electric charging

The additional miles offered by the larger battery in my Corsa Electric was appreciated on my journey (46kWh usable models have a smaller official range of 222 miles), so I only had to charge once. Efficiency was also decent at four miles per kWh on mostly the motorway, which equates to a real-world range of approximately 192 miles.

Mind you, the cost of charging wasn’t cheap. I managed to find a 150kW Instavolt public charger, which I chose because I was hoping for a quick pitstop. Unfortunately, it maxed out at 50kW and still charged me 85p/kWh for the privilege, which means I was averaging around 16p per mile on my journey. 

Considering I don’t have a home charger (where electricity is much cheaper), I can’t help but notice my petrol-powered Corsa is cheaper to run than the Corsa Electric – but only just. I recently filled up the tank at £1.44p per litre, and my car is currently averaging 44.7mpg, so my running cost is around 15p per mile. This, then, has justified my choice for choosing the petrol version over the electric model, even if the latter is a bit quicker and quieter to drive.

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