Vauxhall Corsa Review (2014-2019)
The Vauxhall Corsa is a compact hatchback that’s comfortable, cost-effective and excellent value for money.
Published: 2 February 2023
This version of the Vauxhall Corsa was on sale new from 2014 until 2019, and proved hugely popular – you won’t be short of choice when buying a used one. It’s available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, an array of trim levels and a few special editions. There’s even a hot hatchback, called the Corsa VXR.
Its main rival is the Fiesta, but while the Ford feels a little nicer to drive, the Corsa is more comfortable, which is something you’ll appreciate in the city and on a long drive. It’s also spacious inside and, entry-level versions aside, is very well equipped. The high-spec models rival bigger and more expensive cars in terms of equipment. It’s more affordable than rivals like the Volkswagen Polo or the Citroen C3, so you could find that your money goes further when buying a Corsa.
- Comfortable and quiet
- Impressive equipment levels
- Spacious interior
- Some rivals are more fun to drive
- Interior is a bit bland
- No touchscreen on low-cost models
Dashboard & tech
A car that dates back to 2014 should be showing its age by now, yet the Corsa still feels relatively current. It helps that so many trim levels have a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s simple to use and packed with useful features. Vauxhall’s IntelliLink system features DAB digital radio and apps for syncing with your smartphone, while you should find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on any Corsa registered after 2016.
Most Corsas without a touchscreen feature a CD player, a radio and the ability to connect your phone via a USB socket, but the old Life trim offers little more than a radio and an aux-in socket. It’s a bit basic by modern standards, so it’s no surprise that the Life trim wasn’t available new after 2016.
The Corsa is generally comfortable across the range, but there are a few reasons why you might want to go for a higher trim level. Height adjustment for the driver’s seat didn’t become standard until later in the Corsa’s life, although the steering adjusts for height and reach, so you should be able to find a driving position that works for you.
Surprisingly, a heated windscreen is standard across the range, which you’ll be thankful for on a frosty morning. You don’t even need to splash out on a high-spec model for a heated steering wheel and heated seats, because they’re fitted to many mid-range models. Even cruise control is included as standard on later models.
Some models have front and rear parking sensors, while a rear-view camera that helps when reversing into a parking space was optional on most trim levels.
Given that the Corsa costs less than many small cars, you might be pleasantly surprised how good it looks and feels inside. The materials feel quite plush for a car of this size and price, and the various buttons, stalks and levers have a reassuring heft to them when you use them.
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Practicality & boot space
The Corsa feels very roomy for a car of this size, with enough room for four tall adults to sit in comfort. It’s even possible to squeeze another adult in the middle of the back seat, which isn’t something you can say about many small cars. There’s lots of headroom throughout the five-door Corsa, but slightly less in the three-door model.
Another reason for choosing the five-door is the size of the door opening at the back, which makes it easier to strap a child into a booster seat. As for interior storage, the door bins are big enough for a large drinks bottle, but the glovebox is a little small. There aren’t that many places for your odds and ends, but you should be able to stick your smartphone at the bottom of the centre console.
The Corsa’s 285-litre boot is average for a car of this size, although this drops to 280 litres in the three-door model. A Ford Fiesta or VW Polo of the same era offers almost identical space. If you’re after a compact car with a larger boot, take a look at a Honda Jazz.
It’s possible to squeeze a couple of suitcases into the boot of a Corsa, but if you need more room you can fold down the rear seats to increase the space to 1,120 litres. The seats don’t fold entirely flat though, so don’t get too carried away shopping for flatpack furniture. The split-folding rear seat, which lets you keep one seat up and fold another down, was included as standard on only a few trim levels and was optional on others – so if your car doesn’t have it, the back seats are either all up, or all down. A moveable boot floor was another option, letting you drop the floor for extra space or keep it in place to let you store things out of sight beneath it.
The Corsa prioritises comfort and quietness over sportiness and performance in its driving (leaving aside the GSi and VXR hot-hatchback models for a moment). This means it deals with potholes and speed bumps better than most other small cars, although the Citroen C3 remains the most comfortable car in this class.
A useful feature is what Vauxhall calls City mode, which increases the steering power assistance at the touch of a button, helping to make parking a doddle even in the tightest spaces. Some models, such as the SRi VX-Line and Elite, feature stiffer suspension, which makes the Corsa more fun to drive on a country road but a little less comfortable over bumps.
By the time this Corsa went off-sale, the engine line-up had been trimmed to a 1.4-litre petrol engine in a choice of power levels. Of these, the 89bhp version is a great balance between cost and performance. There’s also a turbocharged version producing 99bhp, which makes the Corsa feel quite quick.
If you spend most of your time on a motorway or long journeys, look at the 1.3-litre CDTi diesel engine. The 94bhp version is great for overtaking and squeezing the most out of a tank of diesel, with a better balance of performance and economy than the 74bhp version. The VXR hot hatch is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 202bhp, making it a rival to the Ford Fiesta ST.
Most Corsas are fitted with a manual gearbox, but some feature either a six-speed automatic or what Vauxhall calls the Easytronic, essentially a five-speed manual gearbox with an automatic mode. It can be frustrating to use at times, so we’d recommend sticking with the traditional manual gearbox.
Fuel economy & CO2 emissions
According to official figures, Corsa models with a diesel engine can give you an average fuel economy of 72.4mpg to 88.3mpg, although it’s worth noting that these figures were achieved before the measurement methods changed in 2019. Newer cars might be less efficient on paper, but in practice you’re more likely to reach the official figures in the real world.
The 1.4-litre petrol engine can give between 40mpg and 45mpg, with the best results from a manual gearbox. The 1.0-litre turbo stretches to 62.8mpg, but that’s based on the old method of testing. In all cases, the Corsa should be an affordable car to run, thanks to low insurance group ratings and excellent fuel economy.
Value for money
The Corsa is one of the most affordable small cars you can buy – there are lots to choose from, including some very budget-conscious models, and prices are lower than for many equivalent cars. Some of the high-spec models give you a lot of standard features for the money and every version is excellent value.
Reliability & Warranty
Vauxhall performed very well in the J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study, finishing sixth in the table, which suggests the Corsa should be generally dependable. Parts and servicing are affordable, helping to keep running costs to a minimum.
This generation of Corsa went out of production in 2019, so the standard three-year warranty will have expired by now. Some small cars are covered by longer warranties, namely the Kia Rio (seven years) and Hyundai i20 (five).
The Vauxhall Corsa was given a four-star rating out of a possible five when it was tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2014. It scored well for adult, child and pedestrian protection, but safety standards have moved on since then, so the current Corsa will perform better in tests.
Standard safety features include Isofix child seat mounting points on the outer back seats, multiple airbags, hill-start assist and cruise control with a speed limiter.
Trims & Engines
The Corsa was introduced in 2014 with nine trim levels, eight of which were still available at the end of production. In addition, there are the sporty GSi and VXR models. One thing’s for sure: you won’t be short of choice. By the end, the Design trim, which was just one step up from the entry-level Active model, had a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated windscreen, air con, cruise control and front fog lights.
The low-cost Life and Active models are very basic, but beyond these you should have everything you’d expect to find in a small car. Elite, Limited Edition, SRi and SE Nav are trim levels to look for if you’re after an even more generous list of equipment.
With the exception of the 1.6-litre turbo in the VXR, all of the available engines offer a good balance of performance and economy. The 1.0-litre turbo is a particular highlight, feeling nippy in the city, yet capable on a long motorway run. It also delivers excellent fuel economy. The 1.4-litre petrol is also good and was the only engine available at the end of production. The 1.3-litre CDTi diesel is rare, but ideal if you’re looking for outstanding fuel economy.
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