A history lesson…
Continually one of the best selling cars in the UK, Vauxhall’s little Corsa is a fantastic profit-earner for the company. It’s popular among the young, old and in-between thanks to a combination of good looks, small, economical engines and reliability.
From the early 1990’s, the Corsa became one of the best little cars on the market. The original Corsa A never had the reputation the new ones have but it was cheap and very basic and that’s why it struck so well with the young and old.
With new models like the super-powerful and agile VXR, the Corsa continues to please and appeal to the younger generations. 200bhp in a car as small as the Corsa is a recipe for fun and danger; which is probably why the kids love them so much.
Bang for your buck
The Corsa, even in basic spec, is a great buy. Thanks to its low price, the Corsa is cheap whatever spec you choose. If you opt for a middle-of-the-range model, you’ll enjoy air-con, lots of air-bags and some nice touches on the interior. The SRi and VXR models are aimed at the petrolheads of the UK, so avoid those if you want to concentrate on economy and sensible driving.
The EcoFlex Corsa is the one to go for if you are looking to save some money at the pumps, as they’ve been designed to sip as little as possible. Whichever Corsa you choose, you’ll be assured of a cheap, practical little hatch with everything you’d expect.
What you’ll pay
Thanks to Vauxhall’s commitment to improve build quality, the latest Corsa is a million miles away from the last Corsa. It’s just so much better it’s actually hard to put into words. As a result, the newer models are holding their value, so expect to pay £4,225 for an 06 plate 1.0i 12v Life model and the 1.6-litre SRi starts at £6,675 on an 07 plate, while the sporty VXR sits at £8,375.
What to check
As with any hatchback, you need to check everything. From alloy wheel condition to the interior, checks on every bit of the Corsa are essentials. These cars can be used for racing and could have been involved in a few bumps, so just make sure you’re happy with how it’s been treated.
A new clutch for the Corsa will set you back about £90, while a full exhaust system around £300. An alternator is about £115 and a starter motor around £90. As you can see, prices are respectable and affordable, which is another plus for driving a Vauxhall.
How it drives
Depending upon which model you go for, the Corsa can be either uninspiring or brilliant. The top-of-the-range VXR Nurburgring edition is fabulous; using race-technology to really impress in the bends and in straight lines. It boasts Brembo brakes and a mechanical limited-slip differential, so that would be a top pick for anyone who wants a fantastic, 200bhp hot hatch.
For those who just want a Corsa to get around town, we’d recommend avoiding the 1.0-litre 12v, as that engine has been used for years and just isn’t up to the challenge anymore. The better choice would be to buy an EcoFlex or a diesel, as these are not only better on fuel, but more fun, too.
Don’t expect to be able to cart a horse’s head around in the boot, as it is very disappointing, but there’s a half-decent amount of space in the rear and the Corsa does come with an airy feel inside. It’s just a great little hatchback for modern Britain.