Review: Vauxhall Corsa (2014)
Much improved over previous Corsa. Better quality interior with a more upmarket feel. Impressive Good for around town.
Baffling number of different trim levels. Steering is slow and lacks feel. Other hatchbacks are more enjoyable to drive. Low Speed Pre-Ignition Detonation common problem with 1.0T 3-cylinder engine.
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Vauxhall Corsa (2014): At A Glance
- New prices start from £18,995, brokers can source from £10,315
- Contract hire deals from £132.16 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 2–35
- On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure
If this Corsa has more than a hint of the old one in the design then that's because it's not actually 'all-new'. In fact it's a very heavily revised version of its predecessor with a new look, a redesigned interior plus an overhauled chassis and suspension set-up.
That said, while the profile looks very similar, this Corsa has more to it design-wise than its rather bland predecessor. The front end apes the Vauxhall Adam while the rear follows the design of the Astra. But it's inside where you find the biggest changes.
The latest Corsa has a far better interior than before. Gone are the scratchy plastics and dated layout, replaced by a cabin similar to the Adam. That means more panache and style plus a big leap in quality. The plastics used are far superior and touches like the soft touch dash top and glossy trim make it feel more upmarket. Standard equipment on all models now also includes a heated windscreen.
As before it's reasonably spacious for a small hatchback while refinement has notably improved, especially at motorway speeds where there's less road and engine noise.
And when it comes to engines, there are again some considerable improvements. The new 1.0 Ecotec petrol is the pick of the range. It may be a small three-cylinder engine, but thanks to the fact it's turbocharged it provides perky performance with good refinement.
Two versions are available - a 90PS model and one with 115PS - and both are economical with the former averaging a claimed 65.7mpg in the three-door model. Under the skin there have been big changes with a reworked and stiffer chassis plus all-new suspension which has been tuned specifically for UK roads. It also has a lower centre of gravity.
These changes certainly improve the refinement of the Corsa and it rides very well for a small car, feeling stable and comfortable even at higher speeds. Unfortunately the new electric power steering is overly light and feels vague in corners. As a result the Corsa isn't much fun to drive, but it's ideal in town and easy to park.
Impressively the latest Corsa is not only cheaper to run than before - thanks to more economical engines and lower insurance groups - but list prices for new models are cheaper across the board.
What does a Vauxhall Corsa (2014) cost?
Buy a used Vauxhall Corsa from £6,398
Vauxhall Corsa (2014): What's It Like Inside?
While the outside of this Corsa may bear a fair resemblance to the old model, the interior is where the changes are most noticeable. The cabin has been completely redesigned with a much slicker layout and a big improvement in material quality.
The dash top now has a soft-touch covering and there's a gloss trim on the majority of models that stretches right across the dash. This combined with new ventilation controls and a redesigned stereo system mean the Corsa is far more modern than before. It now has an upmarket and stylish feel that was missing in its predecessor. As a result, the Corsa no longer feels like a utilitarian hatch.
The driving position is good and visibility all round is adequate, although the thick front pillars aren't ideal at busy junctions. On the plus side, along with a newly designed steering wheel, much better instrument dials and a nicer feel to the controls the Corsa also comes with the impressive IntelliLink stereo system.
Standard on all models apart from the Life and Sting trim levels, IntelliLink lets you control everything through a high resolution seven-inch colour touchscreen. You can connect your iPhone or Android phone and use certain apps too, such as BrinGo for navigation, without having to buy a dedicated navigation system. It's an easy system to use and adds an extra touch of class to the Corsa interior.
The dimensions of the Corsa haven't changed so both the three-door and five-door versions are the same as before in terms of space. The three-door looks good, but the doors are large, so getting out in narrow spaces isn't easy. Plus of course getting into the back is awkward. That said, there's reasonable space in the rear. The five-door is of course the more practical.
Storage is good with decent door pockets that can carry a 1.5-litre drinks bottle (if you're that thirsty) plus cupholders by the gear lever. The glovebox is a touch on the small side but boot space is good with both three and five-door models able to accommodate up to 285 litres of luggage - just slightly less than a Ford Fiesta.
Equipment levels are good across the range, although the sheer number of different trims can be somewhat baffling. The Excite appears to be the best, getting air conditioning plus it even comes with premium car features like heated seats and a heated steering wheel as standard. Confusingly the SXi trim from the old model Corsa has been dropped and replaced by SRi while what was the SRi trim is now called SRi VX Line.
Life models have a heated windscreen, tyre pressure monitoring system, ESP, hill start assist, six airbags, engine deadlock immobiliser, aux-in socket, steering column adjustable for reach and rake, speed-sensitive power-assisted steering, electrically adjustable door mirrors, 14-inch steel wheels (emergency tyre inflation kit) with 185/70 R14 tyres (petrol models), 15-inch steel wheels (emergency tyre inflation kit) with 185/65 R15 tyres (diesel models), remote control central locking and electrically operated front windows.
Sting comes with body-colour exterior door handles, twin white stripes on bonnet plus roof and tailgate, white door mirror housings and front grille bar, black foil on door pillars, 16-inch white alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, leather-covered steering wheel, USB connection with iPod control, six speakers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control and driver’s seat height adjuster.
Sting R has twin black stripes on bonnet, roof and tailgate, black door mirror housings and front grille bar, 16-inch black alloy wheels, VX-Line leather-covered flat-bottom steering wheel, VX-Line leather-covered gear knob/handbrake lever, sports pedals and chrome-effect exhaust tailpipe extension.
Excite gets air conditioning (non air-conditioned 1.2i and 1.4i manual models also available), 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/55 R16 tyres, front fog lights, IntelliLink audio system with DAB, Bluetooth connectivity, USB connection with iPod control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, automatic lighting control, LED daytime running lights, electrically heated leather-covered steering wheel, electrically heated front seats, driver’s seat height adjuster, black foil on door pillars and body-colour exterior door handles.
Limited Edition comes with 17-inch black alloy wheels in Gloss Black finish, body-colour front lower spoiler, side sills, rear roof spoiler (3-door only) and rear lower skirt, chrome-effect exhaust tailpipe extension, black roof and door mirror housings, black front grille bar, black foil on door pillars, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors, sports suspension with lower ride height, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights with chrome-effect surround, dark-style tail lights, sports-style front seats, dark-tinted rear windows, air conditioning, IntelliLink audio system with DAB, Bluetooth, USB connection with iPod control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control and multi-function trip computer, sports pedals plus a leather-covered steering wheel.
Design models have IntelliLink audio system with DAB, Bluetooth, USB connection with iPod control, six speakers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control, driver’s seat height adjuster, air conditioning, black foil on door pillars, body-colour exterior door handles, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights and 15-inch structure wheels.
SRi includes air conditioning, 16-inch black alloy wheels in gloss black finish, front fog lights with chrome-effect surround, sports-style front seats, sports pedals, a leather-covered steering wheel, IntelliLink audio system with DAB, Bluetooth, USB connection with iPod control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control, multi-function trip computer, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, automatic lighting control, LED daytime running lights, black foil on door pillars, body-colour exterior door handles, 60/40 split-folding rear seat back and driver’s seat height adjuster.
SRi VX Line comes with 17-inch alloy wheels in silver finish, body-colour front lower spoiler, side sills, rear roof spoiler (3-door only) and rear lower skirt, body-colour door mirrors, a chrome-effect exhaust tailpipe extension and sports suspension with lower ride height.
SE gets 16-inch alloy wheels, electrically heated leather-covered steering wheel, electrically heated front seats, front and rear seats with Morrocana side bolsters, 60/40 split-folding rear seat back, multi-function trip computer, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, automatic lighting control, front fog lights with chrome-effect surround, chrome-effect lower side window mouldings (5-door only), chrome-effect inserts in exterior door handles, body-colour door mirrors plus front and rear parking distance sensors.
Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Corsa (2014)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Vauxhall Corsa (2014) like to drive?
There are big changes under the skin of the new Corsa with a completely redesigned chassis with new suspension components. Not only is it stiffer, but it also has a lower centre of gravity in order to improve the handling. It certainly rides very well, feeling far smoother and quieter over rough roads and bumps.
This Corsa is a big step up from the old one in this respect and much quieter too thanks to better noise insulation. As a result it's very refined, even at higher speeds.
As well as a more sophisticated suspension set-up, the Corsa gets a new speed-sensitive electric power steering system. Like the suspension and chassis, this has been specifically tuned for the UK. In fact, the latest Corsa spent 12 months being tested on UK roads before launch.
It's ideal in town with a very light nature, plus there's also a dedicated City Mode - activated by a button on the dash - that makes it super-light for tight manoeuvres such as parallel parking. On the motorway the Corsa also impresses with good stability and a planted feel. So, it's disapointing that the steering is so poor in the corners.
It requires more input than you expect, so although the Corsa doesn't roll too much in corners, it's not pleasant to drive quickly. It lacks the zest and zip of a Ford Fiesta and doesn't feel as reassuring as a Volkswagen Polo. Which is a real shame as this makes the Corsa frustratingly drab when it's close to being great to drive.
Alongside the standard comfort chassis, a sport chassis is available as standard on models with 17-inch wheels. This has stiffer suspension and firmer steering which does somewhat help counter the poor steering feel in corners, although it's still not great. While the stiffer springs and larger wheels mean a firmer ride, it's still not uncomfortable and copes well over ruts and potholes.
All the petrol engines in the latest Corsa are new and the highlight is the excellent 1.0 Ecotec. Like most modern small engines it's fitted with a turbocharger, so it has a peppy nature. Yet it's incredibly refined and quiet, which isn't often the case with three-cylinder units.
Two versions are available - a 90PS model and a 115PS variant - both with the same peak torque of 170Nm available from just 1800rpm. This means that despite the modest power outputs, you don't have to rev the engine hard to get meaningful performance. In fact, it's a much better engine at low revs.
There's little to choose between the two in everyday driving. Only if you really work it hard do you notice the extra power of the 115PS version so we'd suggest sticking with the 90PS model. It's perfect for the Corsa. It comes with start/stop as standard and in its most economical guise - as a three-door 90PS - it will average a claimed 65.7mpg with low CO2 emissions meaning minimal running costs.
There are two standard petrol models - a 1.2 and a 1.4 - carried over from the previous Corsa and offering reasonable performance. Alongside these is a 1.4 Turbo version. This is a four-cylinder engine that produces 100PS - somewhat confusingly less than the 1.0 Ecotec manages.
It's designed for economy and mid-range performance, making it a better motorway choice than the 1.0 Ecotec. Maximum torque is 200Nm while official economy is 55.4mpg. It's slightly smoother than the three-cylinder 1.0 engine, albeit not by much.
Drivers looking for something with a hint of sportiness are catered for with the GSi. This uses the 1.4-litre turbo, tuned to deliver 150PS. It's not as quick as the Ford Fiesta ST - or the Corsa VXR, for that matter - but it's good fun for those who want a sportiness without the running costs of a full hot hatch.
Of course if it's outright economy you're after then the 1.3 CDTi ecoFlex diesel is the model to go for. This has been carried over from the previous Corsa with specific improvements. In its most frugal guise it will average a claimed 88.3mpg with CO2 of just 85g/km. It's perfect if you spend a lot of time on the motorway but we'd suggest sticking with a petrol if you're covering short distances.
|1.0T 115||57–59 mpg||10.3 s||112–117 g/km|
|1.0T 90||61–66 mpg||11.9 s||100–106 g/km|
|1.2 70||52–53 mpg||16.0 s||120–126 g/km|
|1.3 CDTi 75||72–74 mpg||14.8 s||99–100 g/km|
|1.3 CDTi 75 ecoFLEX||72–79 mpg||14.8 s||99–100 g/km|
|1.3 CDTi 95||79 mpg||11.9 s||87 g/km|
|1.3 CDTi 95 ecoFLEX||79–88 mpg||11.9 s||85–89 g/km|
|1.3 CDTi 95 ecoFLEX Automatic||83 mpg||13.5 s||84–85 g/km|
|1.3CDTi 75 ecoFLEX||76 mpg||14.8 s||99 g/km|
|1.4 75||48–55 mpg||13.9–15.5 s||118–140 g/km|
|1.4 90||43–55 mpg||13.2–13.9 s||119–149 g/km|
|1.4 90 Automatic||43–60 mpg||13.9 s||110–149 g/km|
|1.4T 100||50–55 mpg||11.0–13.2 s||119–128 g/km|
|1.4T 150||47–50 mpg||8.9 s||132–139 g/km|
|VXR||38 mpg||11.0 s||174 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Corsa (2014)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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