PROS: The 1.0-litre ecoFLEX engine is the cheapest option, fuel economy of over 55mpg, good handling and ride.
CONS: This 1.0-litre engine lacks power outside the city, 18 seconds to do 0-62mph, only comes with two airbags as standard, very basic equipment levels.
Inside the cabin the Corsa feels like a bigger car. Finding a good driving position isn’t too difficult, even on this S version; height adjustment on the driver’s seat and two-way adjustment on the steering wheel cost extra though. Visibility all round is reasonably good although the thick windscreen pillars can obstruct forward visibility sometimes.
This S version comes fitted with a 1.0-litre 66bhp 3 cylinder 12 valve ecoFLEX petrol engine. It has a top speed of 96mph and will do 0-62mph in a relatively slow 18.2 seconds. Average fuel economy is decent at 55.4mpg, but the Corsa isn’t a particularly light car, and although the 66lb-ft of torque produced is generally adequate for city driving, this entry-level engine feel like it lacks power at times, especially at cruising speeds. You might want to consider the 1.4-litre petrol version for a bit more performance. The five-speed manual gearbox fitted works well, giving a positive change, although it can feel a bit notchy at times.
The Corsa’s handling is good for a car its size. It has plenty of grip in corners and inspires confidence. Body roll is kept to a minimum and the suspension does a good job of soaking up most bumps and uneven road surfaces. Steering is sharp and responsive.
Overall the Corsa S is very comfortable and quiet and maintains its composure both in city traffic and out on the open road. Engine noise is well dampened in the cabin, even when working it hard, which you have to do to get the best out of it. Road noise is also well suppressed, and although wind noise is more evident on the five-door design than the three-door one, it’s not intrusive.
The latest version of the Corsa has sleeker and sportier lines than previous ones, and looks good from any angle. The interior does it justice as well – with a well-designed and attractive layout inside the cabin, which has a nice solid, well-built feel to it.
The S version comes with basic standard equipment fitted; power steering, remote central locking, electric door mirrors, electric front windows, immobiliser and CD. You might want to consider upgrading to the Exclusiv trim which will give you more adjustment on the driver’s seat and steering wheel, air-conditioning and MP3 connectivity.
Vauxhall also offer optional stability control (£465), air-conditioning (£515), metallic paint (£495) and additional front side airbags (£435) as options.
This five-door Corsa really is a family car, and getting five people in comfortably isn’t a problem, with good head-room and leg-room for all. Unfortunately on the S trim version the rear seat is not split, unlike on higher spec versions, so you don’t get as much flexibility regarding boot space. You get 285-litres of space with the rear bench in position and that expands to 1,100-litres with it down.
EuroNCAP awarded the maximum five-star rating overall for the Corsa, with individual ratings of five-stars for occupant safety, three-stars for child safety and three-stars for pedestrian safety. Twin front airbags are fitted as standard and you can opt for additional ones, at a cost. There’s also an anti-skid control option available, which is affordable and worthwhile having.
The Corsa look and feels well built, and the finish is excellent. However, it can’t be ignored that customers gave a less than average rating for the Corsa in terms of reliability in the 2011 JD Power Survey.
The Corsa is covered by Vauxhall’s 100,000 mile warranty and regular service intervals are every 20,000 miles.
Priced at £12,050 – it’s an attractive option – being cheap to buy, with low insurance rates in group 2, and low CO2 emissions (120g/km) putting it in VED band C for Road Tax. Fuel economy of 55.4mpg also means that running costs are among the lowest in its class.
Resale values aren’t high, and the most sought after models are those with without the weaker engines and with more equipment such as air-conditioning and alloy wheels, so think carefully before you choose your trim level.
While it’s no longer top of its class, the Corsa’s mix of practical space, refinement and quality mean it still competes well with the likes of Ford’s Fiesta or VW’s Polo.
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