Vauxhall Corsa SRi

VX-line 1.3CDTi 95ps

ecoFLEX

Vauxhall Corsa, side action
Vauxhall Corsa, front action
Vauxhall Corsa, rear action
Vauxhall Corsa, dashboard
Vauxhall Corsa, dash detail
Vauxhall Corsa, boot 1
Vauxhall Corsa, boot 2
Vauxhall Corsa, rear seats
Vauxhall Corsa, OnStar buttons

IT'S a common cry; 'surely they can't think up anything else to put on a car?'

Of course they can! Otherwise we'd still be driving cars without heaters, flashing indicators or anti-lock brakes.

But the speed of adding bits and pieces to a new car has gone into overdrive (older drivers may remember that particular function) and cars have never been so clever or well equipped.

The tasty bits usually arrive first in expensive cars, where the added cost is more easily swallowed by an owner keen to have the latest gizmo on board.

Then, as the price of the extras fall, the goodies spread down the line to cheaper models.

The Vauxhall Corsa SRi VX-line is a fine example of the process.

Not only does it have a heated windscreen as standard, when the cold strikes there's a heated steering wheel too. That costs a warmingly inexpensive £230 and comes with heated front seats as well.

Both heated windscreen and wheel are features rare enough on expensive cars even today, so well done Vauxhall for giving owners of modest Corsas the chance to stave off the effects of a wintry morning.

Then, for another £405 there's Vauxhall OnStar system which cleverly contacts emergency services if you have a bad accident, puts in you touch with an advisor at the press of a button ('where's the nearest hotel?', you might ask) or will tell police the location of your car if it's stolen.

Then the OnStar people can safely switch the engine off, which will come as a shock to the light fingered thieves who've knicked your motor.

Built on the same chassis as before, and more or less the same inside and out, the latest Corsa still manages to feel like a completely new car because, in all important aspects, that's precisely what it is.

There may be fewer versions on offer but there remains an almost bewildering number of choices of trim level and engine combinations. Their purpose is to find a precise model to match the pocket and desires of any potential purchaser; it's a plan that's certainly worked before.

The car may be designed in Germany but the suspension is tuned in the UK because a car that rides smoothly here will acquit itself well anywhere else.

We Brits also buy many more Corsas than the Germans, so that seems only fair. And ride nicely it does too, coping efficiently with some challenging surfaces in deepest Middle England.

The car's SRi level brings stiffer sports suspension which means the bumps will be felt more than in other versions.

Most Corsas will be sold with petrol engines but diesels are available for owners likely to clock up big mileages, where the car's higher purchase price will be offset by the diesel's better economy.

And a diesel Corsa doesn't like to squander fuel - the car showed an impressive 63mpg on the dash after a week's workout.

That's a long way from the car's official 78.5mpg figure, but that's always unrealistic because of the artificial way the figure is produced.

The SRi VX-line trim sits near the head of the Corsa range and comes well equipped.

In addition to the standard heated windscreen there are 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio and a colour touchscreen, but no sat nav to fill it more usefully.

FAST FACTS

Vauxhall Corsa SRi VX-line 1.3CDTi 95ps ecoFLEX

Price: £16,555

Mechanical: 94 bhp, 1,248cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 113mph

0-62mph: 11.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 78.5

Insurance Group: 9

C02 emissions: 94 g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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