New Corsa ups the game

UK launch: Vauxhall Corsa 2015 model

Often asked what’s the best (or worst) car driven, or perhaps the fastest, maybe the most comfortable, it is easy to pick those which excel or disappoint, frighten or cosset. Rarely asked is what the most important car is.

Importance

For us, importance is about impact to the motoring masses. This might be a game-changer but could equally be about volume. And so we come to the new Vauxhall Corsa. The UK is the 2015 Vauxhall Corsa by MOTORWRITERCorsa’s largest market and this model alone outstrips total manufacturer sales from the likes of Peugeot. This makes it rather important in our view.

The new Corsa is an evolutionary step forward. While retaining the same shell from the windscreen back, it has a new nose, new engines, new suspension and new interior. This means the car retains a familiar profile – unlikely to frighten a loyal customer base – yet brings a wealth of technological improvements from lower centre of gravity to greater efficiency. It’s a safe move but is it enough?

Up-to-date

Starting with the exterior styling, changes appear minor but there is certainly sufficient variation – particularly at the front – to differentiate models. There is more than a hint of the Adam about the new nose which is re-shaped to aid pedestrian impact safety. Three and five door variants retain their different personalities to appeal to the more stylish and practical respectively, with an anticipated 50/50 split in sales. Inside, the greatest change is with the facia, now brought fully up-to-date with integral media interface. The textures feel good (although the glove box lid is low rent) and the shiny inserts are smart (we’d perhaps tire of the red one though). Seats are supportive and comfortable and all models are well specified.

There will be a trusty diesel but as none have been built yet, we tried the one-litre and 1.4 petrol turbo units. The 1.4 is a good match to the car, providing most of its power and torque low down. Indeed, it isn’t a happy revver but rarely needs to be. The 1.0 ‘triple’ engine, in higher (115 PS) guise, is actually more fun (and a whisker quicker). With just three cylinders, it makes a pleasing thrum yet Vauxhall has managed to banish any unpleasant vibration noticeable with certain competitors’ efforts. It revs more cleanly than the 1.4 and with just a couple of adults in the car, propelled it well. Over the course of nearly 200 miles split between models there was barely any difference in fuel consumption between the two engine variants, with both averaging in the mid-40s miles per gallon.

Hit or miss?

The new Vauxhall Corsa is undoubtedly a hit and will continue to add to the company’s great sales tally. The models are full of kit and competent handling means we can look forward to a VXR variant in the future. In the mean-time, don’t over-specify with personalisation (which takes the edge of the otherwise competitive pricing) and you’ll have a smart, cost-effective and easy-to-live-with Vauxhall. Available from January 2015.

Our choice: Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 115 PS, from £10,995 (range starts at £8,995)

Petrol: power : 115 PS (@ 5,200 rpm), torque: 166 Nm (@ 1,800 rpm), emissions: 114-117 g/km CO2 (band C), 0-62 mph: 10.4 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●●○





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