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Vauxhall Corsa VXR

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Vauxhall Corsa VXR
7/10

Overall
verdict

The lumps and bumps of the body kit are reflected in the Vauxhall Corsa VXR’s vivid character. An in-yer-face experience, and one we like.

Additional Info

  • Hot hatch Vauxhalls have historically been explosive down the straights but laughable round corners. The VXR 'Ring edition is the glorious exception to that rule
  • Top Gear wildcard

    How about a second-hand Vauxhall VX220 Turbo? Lovely looking thing that is simply wonderful to drive

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What is it?

The Corsa VXR is available in two guises - but only one is brilliant though. Welcome the VXR 'Ring Edition.

Driving

The standard VXR has loads of power but not that much sophistication. Incredibly though, the Corsa 'Ring Edition turns out to be brilliant. Put any thoughts that this is no more than a cynical marketing ploy to the back of your mind, for this is really a Vauxhall that vies for hot hatch class honours. That diff turns the Corsa into a mountain devouring monster, turning in tenaciously with the nose clinging to the inside of the bend by freakish magnetic force: grip levels are astounding. The steering is precise and communicative too. 

The huge seats grip you like a vice - they're almost too narrow for the broad-shouldered and well-fed. Still, the 'Ring Edition rides with so much more finesse than the standard VXR, smartly damped but never brittle. 

Lots of performance, as evidenced by a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds. More than that, it's easily accessible performance, because the torque spread is so generous. The engine, which sounds good in bigger Vauxhalls, gets a bit harsh at high revs in the little Corsa, but not enough to take away from the fun.

On the inside

There's been a huge amount of work done to distinguish the VXR from a regular Corsa, inside and out. Whether the VXR is cool to you depends on how you wear your baseball cap. Depends too on your attitude to BTCC. Among certain social subsets this Corsa is a totem. But it doesn't have the universal desirability of a truly cool car.

The dash and interior are nicely fashioned and the whole Corsa feels pretty solid. The interior is a bit bling, with about 20 different colours of plastic, several types of lighting and a superabundance of VXR logos, but it's decently made bling. Especially at the price.

Hot hatches in general are where sporty cars get useful. But this one in particular has limitations. The front seats are so big they restrict access to the back, and the boot opening is weeny.

Owning

High insurance could be your first hurdle, but after that and a bloated tyre budget there shouldn't be many nasty surprises because this is a Vauxhall.

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Latest road tests

8/10 Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nürburgring driven
November 2011
6/10 Vauxhall Corsa VXR Arctic White
March 2009

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