The trusty Vauxhall Corsa has been a familiar sight on our roads for many years, with buyers attracted by its combination of affordability, reliability and practicality. This latest fourth-generation incarnation builds on its predecessors strengths, while addressing the old car’s weak points.

Despite using the same platform as before and being the same overall length, almost every other element of the new Vauxhall Corsa’s design and engineering has changed, significantly improving the car’s driveability, efficiency, connectivity and overall ownership experience.

All of the car’s body panels are new, and provide greater definition between the ‘sporty’ look of the three-door and the ‘premium’ five-door models. For the first time on a Corsa the car’s profile has been overlaid with Brit Mark Adams’ sculptural design, including elements such as the ‘blade’ running across the lower door-sections.

Almost every element of the Corsa’s generous cabin is completely new too, including a completely re-designed instrument panel and dashboard, and greatly improved levels of functionality.

Improved driveability to class-leading standards (an area where the old car struggled) was a key goal during the New Corsa’s development, and Vauxhall went about completely re-designing the chassis. The end result is an improvement in rolling refinement, ride quality, handling and stability. It’s still not as engaging as a Ford Fiesta but it’s much closer now.

Under the bonnet, new engines and transmissions are offered. A 1.0-litre, three-cylinder ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo headlines the petrol offerings, while a much-improved and cleaner 1.3 CDTi caters for diesel buyers.

Tested here is the 115 PS 1.0 litre motor (there’s also a 90PS). It might only have 3-cylinders, but clever engineering has ensured it’s far sweeter and smoother than most other similarly sized engines. There’s no shortage of usable performance either, thanks to a decent spread of torque provided by the turbocharger. It even manages to be good fun to drive thanks to a crisp 6-speed gearbox.

Vauxhall went to great length to tailor the new Corsa’s ride for UK roads. As long as you avoid the sportier VX-Line models, then ride quality strikes a very good balance between suppleness and control. Once riding on the sports suspension and bigger 17 inch wheels, things get firmer, but it’s still a smoother experience than with the previous generation Corsa. Speed-sensitive electric power steering – which incorporates a City mode for low-speed manoeuvring and parking also features on the new car.

As with the old car, there’s plenty of cabin space in the new Corsa  - so even taller passengers (despite the raked roofline) won’t feel cramped. Storage isn’t a strongpoint however, as aside from large front door bins and two cupholders situated ahead of the gearlever, there’s not much else available: only a very small glovebox and ultra-slim rear door bins.

Boot space is pretty good, thanks to being of deep square dimensions, although a high loading lip can hinder loading access of some bulkier items. Disappointingly split-fold seats are only available on SRI spec cars and above, with lesser models making do with a single piece fold-down rear seat. Regardless of which rear seating configuration you have though, the folded seat/s will leave a significant step resulting in an uneven load floor.

While the basic dimensions of the New Corsa’s cabin remain largely the same, almost everything that sits in it has been re-designed.

A new driver control centre takes pride of place within the newly-designed instrument panel, which is themed around horizontal lines. The New Corsa is also the first high-volume Vauxhall to be available with IntelliLink, the innovative communications system which has already been seen in the ADAM model.

IntelliLink operates through a 7-inch colour touchscreen, and can be controlled via apps such as BringGo (for navigation), Stitcher and TuneIn (for global radio channels and internet podcasts). The system is compatible with both Apple and Android phones, and incorporates additional features, such as voice command, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free and FlexDock, an area for locating/charging your mobile phone.

All Corsas get a heated windscreen and electric front windows, but base spec Life and Sting models lack key kit. Excite adds air-conditioning, a multifunction steering wheel, colour touchscreen, Bluetooth and a USB input, plus automatic headlights and wipers and alloy wheels. Mid-level SRI specification is a good bet as it offers luxuries such as cruise control, heated doors mirrors, split-folding rear seats and front sports seats.


The Corsa has always been a popular car, so Vauxhall has kept that fundamental recipe the same, but managed to successfully build upon the old model’s strengths, while addressing many of its weaknesses. The end result is a highly appealing and competitive supermini package.

Tech spec

Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 T 115 SRI 5 door
Price: £15,915
Engine: 1.0-litre, petrol 3-cylinder
Gearbox: 6-speed Manual
Power: 115 PS @5000 rpm
Torque: 170Nm @1800 rpm
Max Speed: 121 mph
0-62 mph: 10.3 secs
MPG (combined): 55.4
Emissions: 117g/km