What's the used Vauxhall Corsa hatchback like?
Though it carries a fine old British name and is very proud of that heritage, the fifth-generation Vauxhall Corsa is actually quite an exotic beast.
You see beneath its not unattractive skin, it is based on the Peugeot 208 and DS 3 Crossback, both also products of the mighty Stellantis Group, an amalgam of the French brand PSA, who acquired Vauxhall in 2017, and the Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It's also built in Spain.
Previous Corsas have been very worthy if slightly unexciting cars that have sold in huge numbers to people keen to enjoy motoring at a reasonable cost and without too much stress. This 2019-onwards version continues that theme while being smarter, classier and more refined.
This latest model features a choice of three conventional engines, two petrols and one diesel, and a fully electric Corsa-e. Petrols are a 74bhp 1.2 75 and a 99bhp 1.2 Turbo, while the diesel is a 101bhp 1.5 102 Turbo D.
There is also a rather confusing line up of trim levels for the Corsa. Essentially, you have four core specifications to choose from: SE, SRi, Elite Nav and range-topping Ultimate Nav. On most trims, you can then add a Nav, Premium or a Nav Premium pack, each of which gives you a selection of extra features that Vauxhall has lumped together, and that you can’t specify individually.
As an example, entry-level ‘SE’ trim has most of the everyday basics covered, including cruise control, 16in alloy wheels, air conditioning and electric windows, while SE Premium will get you heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic lights and wipers, and rear parking sensors.
On the road, the turbocharged 99bhp version has enough flexibility for motorway journeys and accelerates quite briskly. 0-60mph takes 9.3sec, although the eight-speed automatic transmission option makes the Corsa almost a second slower from 0-60mph. The 101bhp 1.5-litre diesel is stronger than the 1.2 100 petrol from low revs and provides more flexible in-gear performance, but isn't quite as quick away from the traffic lights, 0-60mph taking 9.6sec.
Meanwhile, the Corsa-e is quick and quiet. Press your right foot down and you’ll find that there is enough performance to shove you into the back of your seat. In our tests, the Corsa-e managed a 0-60mph time of just 8.0 seconds.
The Corsa handles abrupt bumps, such as potholes and drain covers, with reasonable ease, but tends to be disturbed by smaller road surface imperfections. It's stable and surefooted with good grip, but there’s more body lean than you’ll experience in some of its rivals. Also, the Corsa’s steering is extremely light and feels a bit vague as a result.
Inside, you’ll find a good range of adjustment, in both reach and height, to the steering wheel and driver's seat, so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position. Analogue instrument dials come as standard, with a 3.5in screen set between them to display trip information. A 7.0in digital instrument display is provided from SRi trim and up. A 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard with a DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB sockets and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Even tall drivers will find plenty of space up front, with head and leg room being fairly generous for the class. The Corsa’s rear seats aren’t the easiest to get in and out of if you're an adult of above-average stature, due to its fairly narrow door apertures. Once inside, though, there's a good amount of room for two tall adults. Meanwhile, the boot is a fair size for the class, and access is good despite a fairly high loading lip.
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