Vauxhall Corsa-e (2020) Review

Vauxhall Corsa-e (2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Corsa-e certainly has a straightforward, no-nonsense appeal, but it also has the same drawbacks as its key rivals of cost and recharging times.

+Electric car with 205-mile range. Smoother ride than petrol models and easy to live with in and out of town.

-Rear seat space is restricted compared to many other small hatchbacks, whether EV or not.

Rather than launch an all-new brand for its battery-electric cars, Vauxhall has added this technology to its latest generation Corsa. The Corsa-e that has almost all of the benefits of the petrol-powered range with zero tailpipe emissions. An electric motor drives the front wheels, while the battery doesn’t impinge on boot space and offers up to a 209-mile range between charges. A fast charger will see the Corsa-e back up to 80 per cent of full power in 45 minutes. For those who don’t want to wear their environmental credentials on their sleeve, the Corsa-e is a good choice.

Vauxhall offers its electric version of the Corsa right alongside the big-selling petrol and diesel models. This shows Vauxhall has clear ambitions for the Corsa-e to be just as normal a choice as those with internal combustion engines and for its EV version to sell in the same sort of numbers.

Rather than luring in the early adopters and more style-conscious buyers who may well choose the Corsa-e’s rivals, Vauxhall is aiming squarely at those who might not otherwise look at an EV. They are the drivers who like the idea of zero tailpipe emissions but don’t want to wear their eco-friendliness as a badge every time they pop to the shops.

The Corsa is a good place to start for those buyers as it has all of the same positives in EV form, as well as some of the negatives. For starters, it’s a thoroughly modern supermini with plenty of safety kit included, as well as a good level of comfort and luxury equipment including a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the dash.

The front cabin of the Corsa-e is much the same as its siblings, so there’s a fine driving position and plenty of space for those up front. It’s much less generous in the back, which is a problem common to all Corsas of this generation rather than being a specifically EV issue.

However, there are some key differences between the Corsa-e and its fossil-fuelled sister models. For starters, the rear wheels are positioned very slightly further back to accommodate the battery pack that sits under the front and rear seats. The wheels are also spaced a little wider, while Vauxhall has also worked hard to keep the weight low in the body to aid handling.

Speaking of weight, the Corsa-e’s batteries contribute to an all-up weight that is 345kg more than a petrol-powered Corsa. That’s a lot of heft to be lugging about, but thankfully the retuned suspension does a better job of dealing with it than in the petrol- or diesel-powered models. So, the Corsa-e rides noticeably better than the standard models, though it does feel all of those additional kilos when changing direction in faster corners.

That won’t bother too many Corsa-e drivers as they will be more interested in the efficiency of the car. It has a claimed range of up to 209 miles on a single charge, depending on which of the three driving modes the car offers is used. This also depends on weather conditions and how many of the car’s electrical systems you use, such as lights, radio, air conditioning and wipers.

Charging the Corsa-e is much the same as for its main rivals, so you can be back up to 80 per cent of a full charge in 45 minutes using a 50kW public charger. At home, a 7.4kW wallbox will take around seven and a half hours to fully charge the Vauxhall.

That’s all standard stuff nowadays for EVs and this is where the Vauxhall Corsa-e makes its play. It’s a version of one of the best-selling small hatches that just happens to use electric power. 

Ask Honest John

Why are electric cars so expensive?
"Why are electric/hybrid cars so expensive? There’s no chance that an ordinary family will buy one. What’s going on? "
They're still relatively new. There's a lot more research and development that goes into an electric car, and the costs involved increase the list price when the car goes to market. That said, they start to make more sense when you look at the finance costs and factor in savings elsewhere. For example, an electric Vauxhall Corsa-e will cost around £50 a more month than the equivalent petrol model. That's on a four-year PCP deal, with an equal deposit. Factor in things like the cost of taxing a petrol Corsa (c.£13/month), fuelling it (you could save hundreds here depending on your mileage) and servicing it (EV servicing is usually cheaper), you could actually save a considerable amount of money by buying an electric car.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best electric car to buy in 2021?
"What's the best electric car to buy in 2021?"
It depends on your requirements. Cars like the Skoda Citigo-e iV, Vauxhall Corsa-e and Renault Zoe are a great intro to electric vehicles. The Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf are good used choices. The Volkswagen ID.3 is a superb all-rounder, as is the Kia e-Niro and Tesla Model 3. Then there are premium electric SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron. A list of the cheapest electric cars can be found here:
Answered by Andrew Brady
Which electric car is right for me?
"I need to downsize my car. I'm thinking of going electric. The longest round trip would be 200 miles. I also need to have a passenger car for my grandchildren."
We'd recommend a Vauxhall Corsa-e or Peugeot e-208. Both are really good introductions to electric vehicles: easy to drive, comfortable and with a good range (209 miles for the Corsa and 211 for the e-208). In the real world, you'll have to charge them on a 200-mile round trip but, if you can charge at your destination, they'll be more than capable. If you're after something a little more spacious, consider a Volkswagen ID.3.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Which is the best value electric car?
"Which is the best value electric car?"
We'd suggest the new Skoda Citigo-e iV which starts from £16,955 and has an official range of 161 miles. If you need a bit more space or a longer range, consider a Vauxhall Corsa-e with its 211-mile range and £26,490 price tag.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Vauxhall Corsa-e (2020) cost?