Vauxhall raises bar

with new Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa SRi Nav, 2019, front
Vauxhall Corsa SRi Nav, 2019, side
Vauxhall Corsa SRi Nav, 2019, interior
Vauxhall Corsa SRi Nav, 2019, rear
Vauxhall Corsa SRi Nav, 2019, front, upright

IT seems like the Vauxhall Corsa has been around since the invention of the wheel and with European sales of 13.5 million since 1993, there's no denying its popularity.

Now the latest model really raises the bar.

It's the sharpest styled model to date and boasts a fabulously-modern interior that's packed with the latest technology.

It's no coincidence that the smartest Corsa coincides with Groupe PSA taking ownership of Vauxhall and the new Corsa has a striking resemblance to the very latest Peugeot 208.

There are four core trim levels called SE, SRi, Elite and Ultimate Nav with plenty of scope to personalise models and prices ranging from £15,500 to £25,990.

The firepower comes via 1.2-litre petrol units with power outputs of 75ps or 100ps, or a 1.5-litre 102ps diesel engine.

Factor in the choice of a five or six-speed manual gearbox, along with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission and there should be a Corsa model to suit all tastes and budgets.

Vauxhall believes the SRi Nav model powered by the 1.2-litre petrol engine with 100ps and 205Nm of torque will be the most popular so that's the car we tried on an extensive road route with lots of fast country lanes, some dual carriageways and plenty of stop start town centre driving.

This car, priced at £19,200 (£19,850 with special Hot Red paint and a spare wheel) could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 9.3 seconds and tops out at 121mph.

The new five-door Corsa is definitely a looker sitting slightly lower to the ground and our SRi Nav model featured some additional sporty trim.

Eye-catching design cues include sweeping light clusters, a black roof and A pillars, sports front and rear body styling, chrome-effect exhaust pipes, tinted rear windows, high gloss black door pillars and roof spoiler and 16-inch silver four-twin-spoke alloy wheels.

The sporty theme continues inside the cabin with really smart fabric sports seats with neat red and white stripes.

There are red and white facia accents on the dashboard, chrome-effect interior door handles and contrast stitching. The flat-bottomed, multi-function steering wheel is leather trimmed and there are metal sports pedals to complete the look.

The interior on the outgoing Corsa always looked quite dated and drab, but new Corsa is modern, light, bright and full of top notch kit.

On-board techno treats on the SRi Nav car included a seven-inch touchscreen that is angled towards the driver, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for smartphone connection, Bluetooth, sat nav, a six-speaker sound system and lots more.

Official fuel economy is 52.3mpg at best with CO2 emissions of 96g/km.

So the fifth generation Corsa looks the business and has all the creature comforts we demand these days, but how does it handle when put to the test? The answer is very well indeed.

The acceleration through the six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and responsive and there is a constant stream of power on tap from the punchy three-pot petrol engine.

The car has shed 108kgs and feels more balanced when being pushed through the faster country lanes with excellent road holding. It is also one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in its class and that means better performance, handling and efficiency.

It's a car that can cruise effortlessly at 70mph on dual carriageways, but is also agile when meandering through busy town centres.

Comfort levels are high although back seat passengers will find the legroom a tad limited - as is the case on most superminis. But the boot limit has increased by 24 litres to 309 litres. With the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat that limit increases to 1,081 litres.

We did have a run in the 1.5-litre diesel Corsa which is a car that will appeal to the fleet market thanks to its low carbon emissions figures of 85g/km and impressive fuel economy. However, it was quite sluggish after driving the punchy petrol car.

The gears needed to be worked hard to pick up any speed and the engine lacked real guts.

A final drive in the automatic car was far more enjoyable with the super-smooth new eight-speed gearbox proving a delight. It was perfectly timed and, although this model is only likely to account for 10 per cent of Corsa sales, it is well worth considering.

And with a wealth of safety specifications, the new Corsa has certainly been brought bang up to date.

There's a vast line-up of 27 models to choose from - and if that's not quite enough there will be four new additions come spring time when an all-electric Corsa hits the showrooms.

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