Vauxhall Corsa: Rebirth from the Scrap…
Corsa looked good, but so did the original 13 years ago. Besides, the last year has seen unprecedented activity in the small car class. Some of the Corsa’s rivals, including the Toyota Yaris, Renault Clio, Peugeot 207 and Fiat Grande Punto, are new from the ground up and present formidable opposition.
Whilst most of the mechanical components are carrying over from the previous Corsa, where the new one sets new standards is in its overall packaging.
The three-door hatch has the appearance of a coupe. It sits low, has a low roofline and a high shoulder-line similar to the Astra Sport Hatch. The rear end has a tapered rear window that matches the shape of the lower part of the tailgate and is more gently raked than the 5-door.
The interior has undergone some changes too resulting in a solid, quality feel. With the increase in body size comes improved leg, shoulder and headroom. The fascia is simple and the centre console is nicely angled to make it easy to reach the comfort and audio controls, some of which are translucent and illuminated. The color of the centre console surround depends on the trim level.
It is slightly larger and roomier to accommodate all the extra safety requirements to achieve high passenger and pedestrian safety ratings, it has all the space and equipment needed for the many owners down-sizing from larger cars and it looks great. It looks very modern and pleasing on the outside and the interior is smart, roomy and well laid out.
The standard safety specification is very high, from anti-lock braking, to front and side impact and side curtain airbags on the Club model. Remote central locking, electrically operated front side windows, stereo radio and CD player are standard as is welcome lighting and the steering column is adjustable and the driver’s seat is height adjustable as well. The rear seats fold 60/40 to maximize the load and passenger carrying options and the luggage area has a dual floor to make the most of the space available.
Being a small engine, the fuel consumption figures are pretty impressive, too; 36.7mpg and 60.1 mpg for the urban and extra-urban results in a combined of 48.7 mpg. What is more, the CO2 emissions are 139g/km putting the test car in VED Band C (£100) and the 2E insurance group rating makes it even more viable for people on a budget. The positive and speed-sensitive steering offers plenty of feedback, while the stiffer body makes the car feel very stable and agile.
Even so, the diesel Corsa is a pleasant performer with light, precise controls and an attitude to the open road no former Corsa would recognize. It is quite a fun to go barreling into corners seeing how much of your hard-earned speed could be carried through the curve.
There is a price to pay: the Corsa is less compliant and comfortable than its French opponents but not irksomely so, particularly in a class where limousine comfort is not expected.
But still, new Corsa is quiet impressive despite the fact that there is nothing really outstanding about the car. It is simply very drivable, has a great feeling of solidity and, when the circumstances are right, fun.