What's the used Vauxhall Corsa hatchback like?
Easy to drive, well made and often well equipped, the Vauxhall Corsa is one of those cars that is omnipresent on the nation's roads because it has something to offer the majority of drivers. It's perhaps not the most exciting of purchases, but it would not be fair to dismiss the Corsa for that reason. It is, after all, very hard to please all people, all of the time.
This generation, which ran from 2014 until 2019, was known as the Corsa E to insiders (not to be confused with the Corsa-e, which is the company's latest electric car). It was essentially a complete reskin of the car it replaced, which ran from 2006 to 2014, with heavily revised underpinnings, too.
There was a large choice of engines available, the majority being petrol, but there were a couple of Euro 6-compliant 1.3-litre diesel versions (74 and 94bhp) if you needed better fuel economy. For those who made mostly urban journeys, both the 1.2 and non-turbocharged 1.4 petrols did just fine, but for faster routes, you might have wanted to go for one of three turbocharged petrol options: an 89bhp 1.0-litre, a 99bhp 1.4 or a more powerful 113bhp version of the 1.0-litre engine. There was also a lukewarm hot-hatch GSi with a turbocharged 148bhp 1.4 or, if you fancied something hotter, there was also a 202bhp 1.6-litre engine, as fitted to the VXR.
In 2018 they were all replaced by a quartet of Euro 6.2-compliant 1.4 petrol engines producing 74bhp, 89bhp, 99bhp and 148bhp.
When it comes to trim levels, this Corsa's have always been many and varied. Life, Sting and Active trims are a bit too basic, and you should instead go for a Design model with air-con, the 7.0in infotainment system and Bluetooth. SRi and Limited Edition models add sporty exterior and interior touches plus a more practical 60/40 split for the bench in the back.
If you want to get into a really posh Corsa, look at either Excite, Energy or SE trims; they give you heated front seats with a heated steering wheel on Excite and Energy cars, while SE models come with front and rear parking sensors. SRi VX-Line and SRi VX Nav Black models have bigger alloy wheels and firmer sports suspension.
The driving experience is where this generation of the Corsa is a let down. It’s an easy car to drive, and it’s about as quiet as its contemporaries, but it doesn’t steer with the accuracy of the Ford Fiesta, nor does it manage to be as capable at long-distance motorway work as the Volkswagen Polo. Of the engine options, in the later cars, the 74bhp 1.4 petrol is fine for town driving, but you should hold out for the turbocharged 99bhp unit for motorway trips. The 148bhp petrol 1.4 engine makes the car brisk.
Most of the interior is also made from classy materials, with only a few brittle pieces of trim undermining the overall feeling of quality. Design trim cars and above get a 7.0in colour touchscreen that can become an extension of your smartphone through the use of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, thus enabling you to have sat-nav in your Corsa. It isn’t as intuitive as the system in the Skoda Fabia, as the buttons for the volume control can easily be knocked if you rest your hand on the screen.
The Corsa is a rather spacious small car, especially the five-door version, where rear occupants are treated to one of the most capacious back seats in the class. There's much more head room in the Corsa than either the Volkswagen Polo or Ford Fiesta, which helps if you have child seats in the back. To that end, those rear doors do open wide to help you to load children into their seats.
Drivers with long legs might not be too happy with the amount of leg room available, finding that the front seats don’t go quite far enough back. The driver’s seat might also be a bit mean on back support for some. If you want seat height adjustment, then you will need to avoid Life trim and go for Sting or above.
If you're interested in finding a used Corsa, or any of the other small cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.
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