Vauxhall Corsa (2019) Review

Vauxhall Corsa (2019) At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
Cheap to run, well-equipped and easy to drive, the Vauxhall Corsa is the embodiment of the small car all-rounder.

+Rewarding to drive, well-equipped as standard, excellent 1.2-litre 100PS petrol engine.

-Cramped rear seats, bumpy ride quality on 17-inch wheels, highest spec models are £26,000 new.

Rarely is a ‘new’ car as comprehensively updated as this Vauxhall Corsa launched in 2019. Heck, even the parent company was a new addition in the form of the PSA Group. That means this Corsa has a lot in common with the Peugeot 208, including some very fine engines. However, there is also plenty that is unique to the Corsa in the way it has been styled and set up. It’s an entertaining car to drive down twisty roads, though the low-speed ride is on the firm side, while Vauxhall has addressed the standard equipment with a much more generous specification for all models.

While Vauxhall's latest small car instalment is easily the best Corsa yet, it still can’t match the fun of the Ford Fiesta or the everyday practicality of the SEAT Ibiza.

The Vauxhall Corsa has plenty to offer buyers who are in need of an affordable small car that provides decent value and a rewarding drive. Indeed, compared to its predecessor, the latest Corsa is a revelation from behind the wheel. 

The Corsa borrows a lot of its oily bits from the Peugeot 208, with the platform and running gear all being carried over from the Peugeot. However, while the two are mechanically similar, the Vauxhall is the keener car to drive thanks to being set up specifically for UK roads. This has involved fine-tuning the suspension and steering to suit bumpier roads that also have lots of twists, turns and cambers to throw at the car.

That stiffer set-up does impact comfort, with the Corsa feeling quite unsettled at low speeds. Rough roads and pot holes produce a lot of body movement, which is made worse if you choose one of the higher specification models with larger wheels. In our view, both the Fiesta and Ibiza are more comfortable cars and also more entertaining on country lanes.

The Corsa is offered with petrol, diesel or electric power, but most will choose the zesty three-cylinder 1.2-litre 100PS petrol, which is identical to the 1.2 PureTech engine found in the Peugeot 208.

It’s one of the best petrol engines on sale today and is packed with lots of low and medium range urge for relaxed cruising, nippy acceleration and generally easy manners. It works wonderfully well in the Corsa, with 0-62mph taking around nine seconds and advertised economy peaking at a respectable 52mpg.

All versions of the Vauxhall Corsa are generously equipped as standard. Even entry-level models get LED headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels and touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as standard. 

However, while the Corsa's spec makes a lot of sense on paper, in reality the cabin is more cheap than cheerful with cramped rear seats and lots of scratchy grey plastics. The infotainment is also a long way behind the quality of the systems used by Ford or the Volkswagen Polo and its cousins from SEAT and Skoda.

Compared to the old model, the latest Vauxhall Corsa does represent a monumental leap forward in terms of handling and refinement. Much of this is down to its PSA partnership.

However, while an undeniable improvement, the Corsa's progress is hindered by its cramped and disappointing cabin. This limits its versatility and appeal in the supermini class, where the best contenders are now nipping at the heels of models from the small hatch sector in terms of cabin space, comfort and driving ability.

What does a Vauxhall Corsa (2019) cost?

Buy new from £13,928 (list price from £16,400)