By Mike Torpey on 2021-05-15 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Vauxhall Corsa 1.2
CONFIDENCE, belief in the product and a generous helping of persistence have paid off in spades for Vauxhall and its Corsa supermini.
Not only is the new generation Corsa the UK's best selling car so far this year but it's also been top of the charts in eight of the last 12 months, spelling an end to the domination enjoyed for so long by arch rival the Ford Fiesta.
And as the switch to electric continues to gather pace, the brand's Corsa-e leads 2021 sales in the small Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) arena while there's a fully electric van line-up due to arrive before the end of the year.
So what has Vauxhall done to make the difference? Well we've said it before about new models and will no doubt continue to do so, but this is the finest Vauxhall Corsa yet - and there have been lots of them, more than 2.2 million in Britain alone since it launched in 1993.
While it bears little resemblance to the first four generations and in truth is no longer a supermini due to its appreciably larger size, the current model not only drives beautifully, but is also good looking, good value and very refined too.
The latest line-up offers a choice of two 1.2-litre petrol engines developing 75 and 100PS along with a 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel producing 102PS plus the Corsa-e electric.
Our tested version in top spec Ultimate Nav trim was the higher powered of the two petrol units, a three-cylinder turbocharged engine allied to an eight-speed auto transmission rather than the six-speed manual gearbox which comes as standard on this model.
My initial concerns about automatic in a small car - probably dating back to the dreadful self-shifters of the old days - were certainly misplaced.
That's because the changes are smooth as you like and as the gearbox itself is light the effect on fuel consumption is kept to a minimum, about three miles per gallon compared to the manual. As for emissions the difference is 99g/km as opposed to 96g/km.
That said, while the claimed average consumption for the test car was 48.7 miles per gallon, our own average over 250 miles over mixed urban and motorway work was actually bang on 42mpg.
In all conditions - and there was some serious late spring rain - the car performed with agility and poise, feeling like it enjoyed the country lanes as much as we did driving around them, and was both settled refined through the suburbs.
There's a bit of punch there too, as the 0-60mph time of 10.2 seconds confirms, along with a potential top speed of 119mph.
The cabin may be pretty bland with few redeeming aesthetic features but passenger space is fine up front if cramped for three in the back - with legroom a particular issue for rear seat adults - but boot space is better than in previous Corsas and the back seats fold for extra carrying capacity.
What should really give potential buyers a boost are the various advanced driver assistance systems to enhance convenience and safety.
For instance there's now a blind spot alert courtesy of a symbol lighting up in the appropriate wing mirror, also a driver drowsiness set-up, speed sign recognition, lane keep assist and parking sensors plus something called a Flank Guard - 12 sensors to warn the driver if the side of the car is about to collide with an object while travelling at less than 6mph.
That's in addition to adaptive speed control, making its debut in the Corsa and automatically maintaining a distance from the vehicle in front. You also get a colour rear view camera and a 10-inch touchscreen for sat nav and infotainment.
All in all there's more than ever before to like about the latest Corsa - it looks fresh, sharp, is a treat to drive and well worth opting for Voltaic Blue Twin Coat metallic paint at Â£550. It really makes a difference.
Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Ultimate Nav automatic
Mechanical:1,199cc, 100PS 3-cyl petrol enginedriving front wheels via eight-speed auto gearbox
Max Speed: 119mph
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 48.7
Insurance Group: 17
C02 emissions: 134g/km
Bik rating: 30%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.