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The Top Gear car review:Vauxhall Corsa
For:Transformed over the old one, it's now a genuine Ford Fiesta competitor
Against:Will casual onlookers believe the scale of the transformation?
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Scotland’s best-selling car for the last eight years has been completely overhauled. Paul Horrell reports
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What we say:
If you liked the old Corsa, You'll love this new one. A well rounded supermini, but not quite the pick of the bunch
What is it?
Standard four-metre supermini as per the Corsa that’s littered UK roads for longer than most of us would care to remember. Although in this fourth generation, it’s actually pretty good. Following a big refresh to make it look vaguely like the Adam, the Corsa makes a rational case for itself beyond reflex, nearest-dealer purchase.
Every panel is new, though it still resembles the Corsa that so many people bought in droves. Sharpened and tidied up, it now sports fresh engines, steering and suspension tuned specifically for UK roads and a new interior. It’s the best Corsa ever. Which is more of a compliment than it sounds.
Go for the new three-cylinder turbo and you won’t be disappointed. It might only be 998cc, but it produces up to 113bhp and 123lb ft of torque (there’s an 89bhp version too), and the relevant bits of the delivery stack up with normal driving. No, it’s not a hot hatch, but the engine is exceptionally quiet (it has a balancer shaft to quell any intrusive 3cyl wobble), and you can cruise on a motorway in near silence. The steering is also miles better than before, and it rides and handles very nicely indeed, though we’d avoid the ‘VX-Line’ sports suspension as it tends to roughen-up the ride quality without adding enough to the cornering ability. Gearboxes are decent, and it’s comfortable. It’s a very respectable hatch. There’s also a ‘City’ steering button that makes parking a doddle by removing a) any weight and b) any sense of where the front wheels are pointing.
On the inside
Lots has changed in this generation, and pretty much all of it for the better. The dash has most functions grouped into a central touchscreen, and although it could do with a few more shortcut buttons, it all works well. There’s a new sense of confidence to the design, and the quality is up in all areas – this feels like it’s jumped a couple of generations of development. OK, so a few of the printed seat designs will give you a headache, but that’s an optional thing. There’s also a surprising amount of space – rear headroom is more generous than the windowline would suggest – though it does get a bit claustrophobic in the back.
This is where the Corsa really gets interesting. To make the new one attractive, Vauxhall is being aggressive in terms of pricing and lease deals. You can pick up a basic car for £8,995, and across the board spec-for-spec, the range undercuts the equivalent Ford Fiesta by about a grand. Add in competitive insurance, and the Corsa makes even more sense.
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