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Vauxhall New Corsa impresses

newcorsa1I was invited to test drive Vauxhall’s New Corsa recently, starting in Liverpool and then into north Wales.

As it had been a few years since I’d driven the ‘old’ Corsa I wanted to see whether I was still as impressed as I had been then – knowing just how competitive this small car sector is and how reliant Vauxhall is on the retail and therefore female market.

What interested me most was the promise of a complete makeover involving a new chassis, choice of engines and personalised interiors. Would I recognise the car I wondered?

Why buy a Vauxhall?

Vauxhall is one of the two best known car brands in the UK. A franchised dealership will be near you which is reassuring when it comes to car servicing and any warranty claims. Despite being launched c20 years ago the Corsa brand name still sounds modern and the New Corsa competes well in today’s market on looks and style.

Sadly Vauxhall’s leading lifetime (100,000 mile) warranty ends this year which is a big disappointment. This gave Vauxhall a clear advantage over others with 5 and 7 year warranties. Come 2015 New Corsas will come with a 3 year 60,000 mile warranty instead.

Looks

corsa_walesThere’s a choice of three and five door models. The three door (yellow model- see stylish door curves) is aimed at the 25 to 35 budget conscious age group, without children one assumes.

The five door model (see below in grey) can be expected to sell well with older motorists, depending on family size and the practicality of accommodating more than two passengers at any stage.

These cars are best described as sporty (3 door) and spacious (5 door) to distinguish them from each other although you can also add stylish to both.

Note the LED daytime running lights and the glass sunroof option…

Inside, the cabin feels spacious, even in the three door sporty model and there’s plenty of customisation in terms of fabrics and interior colour to please all tastes.

Technology

If you like gadgets, there are plenty to keep you happy, designed to make driving easier, safer, more comfortable and more fun.

A City Mode button notably lightens the steering so it’s easy to manouevre in tight spots.

Heated options include the steering wheel, seats, door mirrors and windscreen.

There’s an infotainment system called Intellilink with digital radio, USB and Bluetooth with voice control.

I didn’t need the SatNav because we were using special timed route maps to keep our navigators on their toes.

If you need help with clutch control, there’s a Hill Start Assist.

An Advanced Park Assist will self-steer you into the tightest parking space (and impress any onlookers).

There’s a front camera system that records what’s happening as you drive and clever headlamps that corner to help with better night vision when you need it most.

Most of these are optional extras of course.

The Drive

My test-drive companion was Alasdair Campbell who is taking his Automotive Journalism MA at Coventry University. We each took turns driving and navigating through the busy city streets in Liverpool then along winding scenic roads in North Wales. This was an excellent and most enjoyable route that took the best part of a day and meant we could each test the car in a range of typical everyday driving conditions.

I was particularly impressed by the 1.0i 90PS Turbo Limited Edition three door Corsa we drove. It’s the yellow one in the photo. The drive was smooth, energetic and very quiet.

To begin with I thought the engine had switched off as we waited at traffic lights but the moment you touch the accelerator the power is instantly there, making it eco-friendly and economic.

The brakes were impressive (compared to the ones I’m used to) and cornering and overtaking was smooth, efficient and reliable.

We then switched to the new version of Vauxhall’s 1.4 turbo engine and five door model. That’s the SRi in Shiny Rock ie charcoal metallic, parked outside the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.

This gave me the opportunity to compare the onboard space and whilst the five door didn’t seem much roomier inside it will be the preferred model choice for Mums who need to fit child car seats in the back.

Price and economy

corsa 5 dr New Corsa prices for the three door model start from £8995 (the Sting 1.2i 70PS) and the five door from £9600. The entry price is lower than the current Corsa remember.

There are too many engine and trim combinations to list here so it’s best to go the the Vauxhall website and configure your ideal New Corsa there.

The combined fuel figure ranges from 52.3 mpg for a 1.2i 70PS Manual to an impressive 88.3 mpg for the 1.3 CDTi 95PS S/S eco-FLEX 3 door.

CO2 emissions g/km start at 85 g/km for the 1.3 CDTi 95PS S/S eco-FLEX 3 door – this means zero Vehicle Excise Duty. In fact all manual and Easytronic gearbox models qualify for zero car tax in year one.

Benefit in kind company car taxation rates range from 13% to 18% across the range.

Insurance groups are lower than before, mostly in 2 and 3 which makes this critical cost more affordable for younger drivers in future.

The verdict

This will be a big seller for Vauxhall. The New Corsa has involved changing every car panel even though the end size/dimensions are virtually the same.

We’re talking about a cheaper car (with better residual value anticipated), more efficient engines, new steering/suspension, less CO2 and better onboard equipment.

How can they fail when you spell it out like that?

Yes I’d happily own and drive the five door version with the 1.0i 90PS Turbo engine although I’m disappointed that the lifetime warranty is no more.

To find out more

You can browse the range, check out colours and see typical interiors and trim at vauxhall.co.uk/newcorsa.

If you’re planning to buy a car in 2015 I’d also recommend reserving a test drive via
https://www.vauxhalltestdrive.co.uk/ATD7/newcorsasignup so you’re one of the first to try it.

I was very impressed and hope you will be too.

FOXY