With a smiley face and some bright new colours, the Corsa’s makeover is now complete. DAVID HOOPER, editor of wheelworldreviews.co.uk, has a look at the new range and tests a couple of the latest models.
VAUXHALL’S new Corsa line-up was the headline act at a range review driving day based in Leeds.
The rejuvenation of the ever-popular Corsa range is now complete, with the addition of a new look, more trims and some new colours.
A almost permanent fixture in the list of best selling cars in the UK, the Corsa has now parted company with its V-shaped grille, making way for a chrome bar which carries the redesigned Griffin badge.
A new front bumper and what Vauxhall describe as “Eagle-Eye” headlamps give the car a smiley face which will welcome you to your drive in the mornings.
There are also five new colours to choose from – some of them are dazzlingly bright, even on a damp, misty day when I drove the new models. A pearlescent Lime Green, Chilli Orange and the unusually-named Guacamole are new, while the pretty Sunny Melon, which is a light, bright yellow returns to the range, and is joined by Pepperdust metallic, which has already been seen on the new Meriva.
Inside there are also lots of improvements to trims, detailing and equipment levels. The highlight is the new Touch & Connect multi-media system which is a £750 option. It features a 5in colour screen to display 2D and 3D maps for the sat-nav system and also features a CD/radio, an auxiliary socket, USB connector and Bluetooth to make connecting a phone easy.
The Corsa’s mechanicals had already had a major make-over recently, with substantial improvements to the chassis and engine upgrades and refinements. Start/Stop technology now features on some ecoFLEX engines, with most engines in the range now falling below the magic 100g/km C02 emissions figure levels, which means you don’t pay any road tax. They also make some impressive claims on the fuel economy front – an ever-greater consideration for most hard-pressed motorists as our petrol prices rise and rise. The 1.3 CDTi with 95PS, for example, claims 91.1mpg on the government’s extra urban cycle and 80.7mpg on the combined.
I drove two models, both wearing the bright new colours. First up was the Sunny Melon Sri, with three doors and powered by a 1.7 CDTi 130PS diesel. It cost £17,390, but add Touch and Connect, a dual floor luggage compartment and a winter pack, and the prices rise to a hefty £18,420 for what is after all, a small car.
It was quiet and refined out on the road with the diesel’s noise well suppressed in the cabin, but on the wet, greasy roads, it’s 130PS engine and firm suspension combined to provide plenty of wheel spin and understeer when the car was driven with any kind of intent off roundabouts, or out of tight corners. It was fun though.
Much more refined was the slightly larger five-door in SE trim, with a 1.4-litre petrol engine under its bonnet. With most of the power to be found higher up the rev range on the petrol model, progress was much less dramatic. The car felt surprisingly refined and was quiet on the road. There was also plenty of space inside combined with a decent sized boot.
The price may still make you draw breath however, with the Touch and Connect system, adaptive forward lighting (£275) and 17in alloy wheels (£360) taking the car’s original price from £14,825 up to £16,210.
Prices for the range start at £9,995, and if you take the 20% VAT increase out of the equation, Vauxhall says the prices for the new Corsa have only risen by between £60 and £75 depending on model.