Vauxhall Corsa (2015)It might not look a lot different, but the 2014 Vauxhall Corsa is ready to fight the Ford Fiesta

Andrew Brady | October 2014

Own a Vauxhall Corsa, or know someone who does? Chances are you do, as it’s the third best selling car in the UK, and since its launch in 1993 it’s sold by the bucketload.  It’s Vauxhall’s most profitable car, so it’s important that the manufacturer gets it right – especially with rivals as good as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.

We first got a glimpse of this new model earlier this month at the Paris Motor Show, and first impressions were a little disappointing. It looked a little, well, like the old model – but with a front end more in keeping with the ‘family face’. Essentially, Vauxhall’s stuck the front end from the Adam city car onto the Corsa.

But that’s not the only thing it’s taken from the Adam. It’s also got a much improved interior, and a three-cylinder, turbocharged 1.0-litre engine.

Vauxhall Corsa (2015)What’s the 2015 Vauxhall Corsa like to drive?

The Vauxhall Corsa has never driven as well as this. Its chassis – we tried it with the firmer, lower sports suspension – copes admirably with potholed city streets, main roads, motorways and even twisty Welsh driving roads. Even on the 17-inch alloys of our test cars, it takes a lot to unsettle the Corsa’s ride.

The Ford Fiesta still has the edge, just, on driving dynamics – but you have to start playing with the car in a way 99.9% of Corsa drivers just won’t to notice the difference.

The new 1.0-litre engine also proves competitive with Ford’s Ecoboost unit. It’s a fun drive – characterful in a typically three-pot manner, and has plenty of go.

That shove comes low down, too – with peak torque coming in at 1,800 revs. That means you don’t have to rev it to get the best out of it, helping fuel economy and proving a surprisingly relaxed driving experience.

Sure, you may need to drop down occasionally, but no more than in rivals. And the gearchange from the new six-speed ‘box is pretty slick, too, so you won’t be that bothered.

The turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol produces less power than the 115hp 1.0-litre we tried, and sounds a bit gruffer. It hustles the Corsa along nicely, but is less fuel-efficient than the smaller three-pot. It’s around £1,500 cheaper, though, which goes a long way towards cancelling out the cheaper running costs of the 1.0-litre.

Vauxhall Corsa (2015)Is the 2015 Corsa better than a Fiesta?

The two most competitive cars on the market have to be the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta, and we’ve already established that the Corsa’s catching up in the driving stakes.

The exterior of the new Vauxhall Corsa may not be massively different to the old model on the outside, but inside you’ll notice a marked improvement.

A new seven-inch infotainment screen brightens up the interior. Called IntelliLink, the new system is standard on trims but Life and Sting, and includes digital radio, USB input and Bluetooth.

Drivers can download apps for IntelliLink, including BringGo navigation (£50) and internet radio apps. Manufacturers are increasingly offering features like this in their small cars, as it’s precisely what the typical young, supermini buyer wants.

While there may be a few cheap plastics carried over from its predecessor if you look closely, the cabin is a cheery place to be. We particularly like the splashes of colour inside to match the exterior paintwork, and a generous standard specification means even the base Life model won’t leave you feeling shortchanged.

Vauxhall Corsa (2015)MR verdict: 2015 Vauxhall Corsa

The new Vauxhall Corsa is a very likeable car. We were worried at first that it’d be too similar to its predecessor, and certainly a bit more on the design front would have been welcome, but to drive it feels all-new.

While we’re used to manufacturers using new models as an excuse to pump up prices, Vauxhall has done the opposite with its Corsa in a bid to prove ultra-competitive. There’s more kit as standard, and the £8,995 starting price stays the same.

As such, we’d have no hesitation recommending a Corsa to anyone looking for a supermini – something we’d have struggled to say in the past. While it may still not quite have the edge over rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, it’s closer than ever before.

Rivals: 2015 Vauxhall Corsa

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Renault Clio
  3. SEAT Ibiza
  4. Skoda Fabia
  5. Volkswagen Polo

The Ford Fiesta currently outsells the Vauxhall Corsa and is its main rival. It’s a better all-round drive, but the Corsa pips the Fiesta’s interior. The Renault Clio has a bit more French flair than the Corsa, and offers good value for money. The SEAT Ibiza is ancient compared to the heavily-revised Corsa, but a new one is on its way. The Skoda Fabia has just been replaced and is more upmarket than before, while the Volkswagen Polo has a more premium badge. You’ll pay for it, though.

Specification: Vauxhall Corsa (2015)

Engine:  1.0-litre petrol, 1.2-litre petrol, 1.4-litre petrol, 1.3-litre diesel

Gearbox: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, five-speed automated manual

Price from: £8,995

Torque: 85 – 140lb ft

0-62mph: 10.3 – 16.0 seconds

Top speed: 121mph

MPG: 47.1 – 88.3mpg

CO2: 85 – 140g/km

Rating: 4 stars