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Car Review

Vauxhall Corsa Electric review

£32,390 - £38,530
710
Published: 29 Nov 2023
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

What the Corsa Electric really aces is feeling normal to drive. Regular sized steering wheel (yes, we’re looking at you Peugeot e-208), check. Familiar gear selector on the centre console (now a toggle switch post facelift), check. Measured acceleration/deceleration (as opposed to the sharp regen in other EVs), also check. That’s been calibrated with efficiency in mind, of course.

You get three driving modes: in Eco there's 81bhp, in Normal there's 108bhp and in Sport you get the full 154bhp (at least in the more powerful version). The former maximises your range potential but stifles performance and aircon clout, and the latter vice versa.

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Is there much difference between the modes?

In all three modes it’s got enough zip to keep up with traffic in town, though acceleration is notably reduced in Eco, so you’ll likely reserve that for when you need to wring out every last mile of range.

We reckon you’ll stick in Normal mostly, which is the mode it defaults to on start-up. It's a nice middle ground. Notch it into Sport and Vauxhall claims a 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds and 93mph top speed. Not back of your seat quick, but as fast as you’d ever need a family hatch to be. Meanwhile the 134bhp version will cover the same sprint in 8.9s.

Worth noting though you get full power in all three modes if you shove the accelerator with enough gusto – handy for slip roads and overtaking – and with just a split second’s delay that avoids spinning those aero-friendly wheels up.

Is there a one-pedal driving mode?

There is a B-mode, but it’s not an aggressive setup like in some EVs so you’ll struggle to drive the car using the accelerator alone. Lift off the throttle and it won’t slow with enough vigour to trigger the brake lights, but there's enough force that you won't need to jab at the brake pedal too hard.

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We’d have liked paddles on the steering wheel to adjust the regen, but it’s a very smooth and satisfying car to mooch about town in.

Gotcha. What’s the ride like?

To compensate for its heftier weight (1.5 tonnes is a lot for a Corsa, but light for an EV) Vauxhall has stiffened up the suspension, which means the ride is a little firm.

It handles well enough with little body roll, but on the overly large alloys of our test car the ride was noticeably unsettled over any imperfections in the road. We’d stick to the smaller alloys and their bigger side-walled tyres.
For context, the Corsa Electric is more settled than its petrol-powered sibling, and having driven both on UK roads we found it coped better with ruts and juts better than the ICE car.

Will I get all of the range Vauxhall promised?

What, the full 246 miles? No chance. But then no car lives up to its lab numbers. There are two versions of the Corsa now: a 50kWh one promising 222 miles and - with the addition of a single kilowatt-hour - a 51kWh ‘Long Range’ unit that leaps up to 246. It’s not the extra cells that make the difference here, rather the introduction of a heat pump that makes temperature management more efficient.

On a chilly autumn run (remember, EVs hate the cold) we saw 3.4mi/kWh from the Corsa Electric Long Range, which is fairly good going. That equates to just over 170 miles of range. Expect more than 200 in warmer weather.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

100kW Ultimate 50kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-628.2s
  • CO20
  • BHP134.1
  • MPG
  • Price£37,135

the cheapest

100kW Design 50kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-628.9s
  • CO20
  • BHP134.1
  • MPG
  • Price£32,390

the greenest

100kW Design 50kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-628.9s
  • CO20
  • BHP134.1
  • MPG
  • Price£32,390

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