The evergreen Corsa is a consistent performer in the UK’s top three sellers’ charts – a model that has long been established as a car that not only does exactly what it says on the tin, but does so with a very distinctive character.
As superminis go, the Corsa is one of the most spacious and practical, with a high quality interior finish and excellent passenger comfort, so it’s no wonder that it remains one of the most popular small cars in the UK.
It’s particularly popular with younger buyers, not least because the 1.0-litre models are among the cheapest cars in this class to insure. It’s also one of the best cars in its class in terms of technology and connectivity, if you go for one of the 2016-onward examples with Vauxhall’s Intellilink system.
There are more angular and newer superminis on the market these days, so it’s a tribute to the Corsa’s design team that the car has survived so far with just the one facelift.
Even then, the bulbous curves, sloping bonnet and rounded roofline are all instantly identifiable and have stood the test of time exceptionally well.
Sporty models look superb when fitted with side skirts and chunky alloys, while even the more ordinary Corsas are elegant.
If you’re an outdoorsy-type, then look for one with FlexFix, which is a very clever pull-out bike rack in the rear bumper, which removes the need for both a bike carrier and a light board. It’s a brilliantly simple but fantastic feature.
In general, the Corsa’s interior is much more grown-up than some of its rivals, and while some will find its traditional layout a little boring, to others the simplicity and straightforwardness of its layout will add appeal.
The chunky steering wheel is flanked by substantial column stalks, giving it a feeling of quality, while the head unit dominates the central display, with heater and air con controls beneath.
Standard kit on every Corsa model includes a heated windscreen, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Hill Start Assist. Air-conditioning is standard on all but the cheapest models, and higher up the range several have a heated steering wheel and the smartphone-based IntelliLink system to which you can download apps for satellite navigation and for 70,000 radio stations around the world.
There are 285 litres of boot space, which is decent but not outstanding – you’ll still get a good sized suitcase or a pushchair in easily enough, though. When it comes to rear passenger space, two six footers will be happy enough, but a middle rear passenger will be a squeeze. Rear legroom is better than many small cars, though.
Driving and practicality
When it comes to comfort, you need to know which model to buy, as the Corsa comes with a choice of Comfort or Sport chassis set-ups. Generally speaking, the SRi and VX-Line models are the ones with the sports settings, but the stiffer chassis is an option across the range so check the spec carefully before you pay a deposit.
The Sport chassis really sharpens up the handling, which to many drivers will add appeal, but if you do plenty of town driving than the softer sprung comfort models are better, with smaller wheels and higher profile tyres.
The Corsa feels quite light, with responsive steering. There is also an optional City Mode button, which makes the steering even lighter for tight spots and parking spaces.
Performance-wise, the normally aspirated 1.0 three-cylinder models are willing but progress is steady, and it’s the small capacity turbo petrol units that really shine. The 1.2 and 1.4 models are steady rather than lively, but the 1.3 CDTi diesel is quite peppy, albeit rare.
The Corsa is a massive hit with young drivers, which means that its image remains strong. It’s also cheap to run and insure, with plenty of examples to choose from.
Thanks to it being a fashionable choice, it will also be very easy to sell on when you come to upgrade, which means that although there are a lot of Corsas on the market, they hold their value well.
It’s more grown-up than many superminis, especially when it comes to long distance driving and refinement, while its evergreen nature and ease of driving make it the ideal car for all types of driver.
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