The all-new fifth-generation Vauxhall Corsa has been a long time in the making. In fact, it was in the works a couple of years ago, right before PSA Group (behind the Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands) bought Vauxhall. However, that version was eventually binned, and this version was conceived in around 2 years, an incredibly quick time frame to go from concept to driveways.
So, what do Vauxhall have to offer with the first new Corsa since the takeover? Well, not surprisingly, they’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the Peugeot 208. And why wouldn’t you? While the old Corsa enjoyed a lot of success in terms of sales, it was marketed on shear value. Whereas, this all-new Corsa is going to have to aim for a little more if it plans to contend with its supermini rivals such as the SEAT Ibiza, Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo. Because they’ve had to up their game, drivers of previous Corsa models will see a depth of engineering that they’re simply not accustomed to thanks to the Peugeot 208 underpinning.
Two petrol units and a single diesel engine are on offer. Despite being impressively efficient, we assume interest in the 1.5-litre 100PS diesel variant will be low. And you’ll probably want to avoid the base 75PS 1.2-litre petrol unit, which can only be had with 5-speed manual transmission. That leaves you with the more modern three-cylinder, direct-injection turbocharged 100PS 1.2-litre petrol powerplant and the all-electric Corsa-e featuring a 50kWh battery mated to a 100kW electric motor.
16” alloys come as standard, although if you prefer 17” alloys you will need to opt for a top-spec model. Throughout, air-con, cruise control and a multimedia touchscreen are standard too. In terms of tech, you’ll find a 7-inch centre-dash system, unless you go top of the range where you will be pleased with a wide HD 10-inch display. Sat Nav is optional with the smaller screen, so as always, it’s a case of adding optional extras until you get the spec you want.
Perspective is a funny old thing when it comes to the new Corsa as Vauxhall have added 39mm of length, while reducing the roof height by 48mm. The curved, rounded bonnet of the new design, along with the fact that it is now only offered with 5 doors, makes it look much larger than its predecessor.
In terms of design, this is certainly a Vauxhall / Peugeot hybrid as the Corsa draws heavy influence from the 208, but we also see subtle nods to the Adam (Vauxhalls city car which ceased production last year.) Inside you’re sat much lower to the ground than you were in previous models and it does boast some smarter detailing which certainly helps to make it look more sophisticated and grown-up. But are you surrounded by a much higher quality of cabin than before? In all honesty, if you’re expecting wow factor, you’re going to be disappointed. It seems to be lacking the style that we see in the 208 as we continue to see that scratchy black plastic trim from the older value for money Corsa model.
So, in terms of its build quality, there is nothing to panic sector rivals over, however, you won’t find anything to complain about when it comes to ergonomics. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be and is easy to use. The seats are comfortable and supportive and there are 309litres of boot space, even in the Corsa-e. It’s also a lot lighter than the fourth-generation model which is a huge advantage in terms of driving ability.
Is the all-new Corsa class-leading when compared to other superminis in its sector? Not really, no. But when comparing it with its predecessor it’s hard to come up with a way in which it isn’t better. It’s smarter, quieter and classier. Only time will tell if, given its new higher price, that will be enough to garner the attention of those shopping in this highly competitive sector.