22 September 2020 – Final Report
When the Corsa arrived back in March, I was interested to see what it would be like to live with a car redesigned and built within just a couple of years since the PSA Group’s takeover of Vauxhall at the end of 2017.
Things started slowly, because of lockdown, so the running-in period took considerably longer than usual. However, the Corsa was a pleasant companion; the ride was firm but supple (no doubt helped by tyres with a decent depth of sidewall), and the steering quick. I’m also a big fan of the 1.2-litre engine, which we’ve previously experienced in our long-term test of the Citroen C3 Aircross; it’s more than strong enough and has a light thirst for unleaded, managing an average of 46.2mpg over the course of our test. One slight concern was that the engine managed to get through half of its oil during our 3300-mile test.
The cabin is decently roomy up front, but my girlfriend’s teenage sons were less enamoured with the back-seat area, which forced us in the front to move our seats forward just to give them some relief.
The Corsa is also decently equipped, with cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and climate control. The climate system was the source of an unplanned dealer visit, when it became stuck on fully hot. A software update sorted it, though.
To sum up, the Corsa is an inoffensive and cheap car to live with on a day-to-day basis, but without anything to make it stand out; would you actively look forward to each drive? We’re not so sure.
9 September 2020
Houston, we have a problem. Oh yes, the Corsa has had a niggle that necessitated a trip to my local dealer, Eden Vauxhall in Newbury.
The issue? Well, I’d just undertaken a 40-mile drive with the climate control system working as air-chillingly and unobtrusively as ever. I reached journey’s end, stopped for half an hour, then restarted the car to head home.
After a mile or so, I thought: ‘blimey, it’s a bit hot’, and reached to turn down the cabin temperature. Except it was already set for 17C. Yup, no matter what temperature it was set at, it was pumping out air on maximum heat, and even when you set it to ‘Lo’, it merely pumped out maximum heat even harder. The only thing to do was switch it off and open a window – old school or what? I suppose one saving grace was that the car hadn’t seen fit to release this little gremlin three weeks or so previously, during the height of the heatwave.
Eden Vauxhall took it in a week or so later and completed the fix under warranty. Apparently the ever-mysterious ‘software update’ did the trick. Sounds cool.
In other news, the Corsa has done less than 3700 miles, but when I checked the oil recently I was slightly surprised to see that the level had dropped to the halfway mark on the dipstick. That seems a bit heavy to me.
25 August 2020
I talked before (with tongue firmly in cheek) about how economical the Corsa was proving during lockdown, given that I used around half a tank in six weeks. Well, now that things are easing up a little, and I’m able to do more miles, I can confirm that the Corsa is still proving decently thrifty on fuel.
I’ve covered a grand total of 3300 miles in the car so far (which is comfortably my lowest six-month mileage total since I start to drive back in the days when the world was in black and white), and have managed an average of 45.8mpg (even though the car reckons its doing 47mpg). I reckon that’s not bad, considering the majority of those miles have been completed either in stop-start traffic or at 50mph on the M4, with only one long journey to speak of.
Talking of the M4, the cruise control takes all the worry out of the average-speed roadworks cameras. I simply sit in the inside lane, set it to 50mph and sit back aghast at all the idiots who speed past then brake for each camera (don’t they understand how these cameras work?). Having cruise on a supermini is undeniably a stress-reducing bonus, even if the controls aren’t quite as intuitive as they could be.
11 August 2020
This is an odd thing to be writing about given that the pavements are cracking under a seemingly never-ending onslaught from the sun, but I can confirm that the heated seats in the Corsa are great. Or at least my girlfriend can. She has a back complaint, and finds that turning on the heated seat, even in summer, alleviates the aches somewhat. The fact that they heat up quickly, and that there are clear differences between the heat settings, means that she loves taking the Corsa whenever we go out.
However, I’m not such a fan of the automatic wipers. Even if the lever is set to the ‘Auto’ position, they switch off permanently when the car’s ignition is turned off, meaning you have to switch the lever between off and on again every time it rains. Why?
The auto lights, meanwhile, are good. They throw out a good width of light, and full beam is bright, while the auto-full-beam function works pretty accurately, although it doesn’t dip the lights quite as quickly as I might like on the odd occasion.
28 July 2020
The takeover of Vauxhall by the PSA Group a couple of years ago has had positives and negatives for the Corsa.
For a start, the engine is a cracker, the gearbox is accurate enough, and the dashboard is clear. I was already familiar with the engine, having lived with it in a Citroen C3 Aircross last year, and it’s even better here because it gives the Corsa decent punch and sounds great. Better still, where the Aircross switched on its lane-departure warning system every time you started the car, the Corsa has an off button, and it stays off, which is a relief.
The infotainment system is the same as that in the Citroen, which is to say a bit laggy and complicated, but Vauxhall has had the good sense to keep the climate controls separate from it. Again, that makes living with the car on a daily basis much easier.
One small thing I don’t get – the Corsa has two temperature control dials almost next to one another, but it’s just a single-zone climate system. Is that form taking precedence over function?
14 July 2020
Check out the two pictures. In the first the boot isn’t closed properly, but in the second it is. Impossible to tell, isn’t it.
If you’re on the ball, there is a clue when you try to lock the car –the mirrors don’t fold in, even though it makes the usual ‘clunk’ noise. Miss the clue and infuriation awaits, because trying to lock the car activates the alarm, which takes a couple of minutes to realise the car is actually insecure – usually just at the point when outdoor footwear has been swapped for slippers, and backside is about to interface with sofa. Cue alarm siren from outside.
I’ve taken to giving the bootlid a hefty slam, just to be sure.
29 June 2020
The sun’s out (mostly) and the world is starting to open up again, which means the Corsa and I ‘enjoyed’ the delights of a trip to the garden centre (I hate gardening, my girlfriend loves it).
I digress. Anyway, after spending an inordinate amount of cash on stuff I’ll likely ‘tend’ to an early demise, the Corsa’s smooth driving traits meant we got everything back home with the green bits still pointing upwards and most of the soil still in the pots.
However, while the Corsa is decently smooth and comfortable for transporting shrubbery, it isn’t so great at moving people. Witness my girlfriend’s two teenage sons – the younger is 6ft 2in, while the elder is 5ft 10 (a bit of a sore point) – who struggle to fit in the rear seat, let alone be comfortable. I cannot sit in my usual driving position, because there simply isn’t the space for them to get their (admittedly large) feet down into the rear-seat footwell, which causes discomfort for all concerned. Just as well we haven’t been able to do any long trips in the car thus far, but when we can go out once again we’ll probably take Tracey’s 2010 Skoda Fabia, simply because it’s so much roomier.
10 June 2020
In these days of WLTP ‘realignment’ and also revised company car taxation bandings, some cars appear to have been somewhat hamstrung. Case in point, the Corsa. That’s because its CO2 output has been raised to 125g/km, which puts it in the 30% band for company car taxation. A few years ago, that would have been the preserve of hot hatches or a mid-to-large exec with a six-cylinder petrol up front.
Nevertheless, the lowish list price means a lower-rate taxpayer will shell out around £93 per month to run a Corsa, and a higher-rate payer will face a bill of around £186.
Still, we’re showing an average of 47.3mpg over a mixture of town and motorway trips, which is pretty fine, and the decent kit is helping to take our mind off the bills. For example, the TFT display in place of the instruments is both comprehensive enough and simple to decipher. Having a digital speed front and centre, and the ability to can configure it to have a map display means you’ll spend less time with your eyes off the road. As more and more people get back on the road over the next few weeks after a couple of months off, keeping alert will be vital.
26 May 2020
Another lockdown week, another week of few miles.
However, the Corsa performed a vital, some might say essential, trip this week when it transported me to pick up a takeaway from my local fish and chip van. Not only are the fish and chips always beautifully cooked, but they remained that way on the way home with the takeaway hook keeping everything suspended and secure. Even the curry sauce. Philistine? Me? Pah!
In all seriousness, the trip also allowed me to fill up the car at last, and an average economy of 47mpg isn’t to be sniffed at, especially considering the type of trips the car has been doing.
5 May 2020
Well, I have to say that the Corsa is by far the most economical test car I’ve ever had the pleasure to run. That’s because the economy figure is currently running at around quarter of a tank per month. Pretty thrifty, I think you’ll agree.
In all seriousness, the Corsa has been used purely for a once-weekly jaunt to my local supermarket, and thence to my girlfriend’s elderly parents to drop off their shopping. So, the car hasn’t done a huge number of miles (although it is actually run-in now), but nevertheless the trips have allowed me to get an initial impression of how the Corsa will cope when life returns to normal.
The engine is a peach. It revs sweetly, pulls strongly from low revs and seems to have a genuine dislike for the taste of unleaded.
However, space is not the Corsa’s forte, because the boot feels pretty small. In addition, when you fold down the rear seat you’re left with a large step.
Supermarket car parks and the odd trip on the M4 have also highlighted the fact that the rear pillar is quite large, hampering your view when parking or changing lanes.
16 April 2020
It’s here, and I have to say it’s pretty cool. The Corsa turned up with a grand total of 147 miles on the clock, so the running-in period had to be strictly adhered to. I say ‘had’ but in reality I mean ‘has’ since the onset of the Coronavirus lockdown.
Nevertheless, I did manage to get some meaningful miles in before being confined to quarters. The 100hp 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine starts with a pleasing growl (albeit after an interminably long press of the button), and performance is brisk. It certainly has no problem keeping up on A- and B-roads, and cruising on dual-carriageways.
Inside, there’s loads of kit, including a TFT instrument display panel, automatic lights and wipers, and a touchscreen infotainment system, which incorporates digital (DAB) radio, satellite-navigation, Bluetooth, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The blue hue really pings in direct sunlight, and I love the fact that the wheels are smaller, and the tyres have decent sidewalls, which is good for comfort and takes any worry out of parking next to a kerb.
Niggles? It’s not the roomiest, and the boot needs a good shove to close properly.
Roll on the day when I can drive it properly again.
27 March 2020
By all accounts, the new Vauxhall Corsa is really good. Phrases such as ‘good to drive’, ‘enjoyable’ and ‘full of kit’ have all been bandied about in early reports. This is great news for me because I’m going to be running one for the next six months.
We’ve gone for the 1.2-litre (100ps) engine in mid-spec SRi Nav trim, which is predicted to be the most popular, and the only options we’ve added are Voltaic Blue metallic paint (£565), a space-saver spare wheel in lieu of an inflation kit (£110), and the Winter Pack that comprises heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
Winter – do your worst!