Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Start the car and at low speeds you’ll hear that now-familiar, yet always eerie, electric hum as it moves off. Vauxhall’s quoted 0-31mph time of 2.8sec illustrates the Corsa-e’s punch; enough to shove you in the back when you swiftly pull away from the traffic lights. In fact, with a 0-60mph sprint of 7.6sec, it’s significantly quicker than the Seat Mii and Renault Zoe. It’s slower than the Mini Electric, though.
This relative verve is mirrored by other aspects of the Corsa-e driving experience, including steering that feels nicer than that of the petrol Corsa. It has more weight to it and avoids the limp, lifeless nature of its stablemate’s steering. It’s really easy to drive, too, much like the Peugeot e-208.
The ride of the Corsa-e edges towards the firm side, but all of its body movements are well controlled, it never feels truly uncomfortable and it generally feels more hunkered down than other Corsas. That’s largely down the battery pack adding an extra 355kg to its weight, with the suspension being tuned to accommodate it. So, while a trip down a cobbled street would have you bouncing around in a Renault Zoe, the Corsa-e is more controlled. This also translates to handling that’s actually pretty agile by electric car standards, with minimal body lean through corners.
The Corsa-e’s driving modes have no influence on its suspension, but Sport mode definitely makes the most of its performance, while Normal and Eco modes switch the focus more to elongating the battery range. The power system also incorporates a ‘B’ mode – activated by pulling the gearstick down when you’re in standard ‘D’ mode – that increases the effect of the car’s regenerative braking system; lift off the accelerator and the car slows down and energy that would otherwise be wasted during deceleration is harnessed to replenish the battery.
Officially, 209 miles is how far the Corsa-e can go between recharges – very similar figures to the closely-related 211-mile e-208. It’s also farther than the Seat Mii Electric’s 162 mile range, but is beaten by the Renault Zoe’s official range of 245 miles. The Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric will go even farther in real-world driving conditions, placing the Corsa-e comfortably in the middle of the pack.