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Corsa is here to stay

Created on 21/09/2015 @ 11:02
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

The Corsa has been one of Vauxhall’s best sellers for decades and following a brief drive at the launch of the new model earlier this year I had been keen to take a better look.

The Corsa has been pushed into the background a little recently with new Viva capturing the headlines and the all-new Astra now revealed. But judging by a week’s test drive there’s little doubt that Corsa is here to stay.

There’s a wide range of models on offer and I’ve been behind the wheel of a 1.4 Turbo SE. And despite having only 98bhp there was a maximum speed of 115mph and 0-60mph in 11 seconds so the Corsa was quick enough to keep most drivers happy.

Vauxhall don’t describe the Corsa as a city car but is far happier on the street than the motorway with a very tight turning circle that makes it a joy to drive when manoeuvring into those tight parking spaces.

The steering is nicely weighted which means sharp handling and although a couple of passengers complained of a bumpy ride I didn’t find any problem with the suspension. There was also very little road or engine noise – even at speed.

Vauxhall claim this 1.4 model will achieve 53mpg on the combined cycle but I think you would need to drive very carefully to achieve those figures. The test car clocked closer to 40mpg but, as my wife regularly complains, I do have a rather heavy right foot. It it’s fuel economy you’re after you might need to look for a different model.

Where the Corsa wins friends is on the level of kit which comes as standard on this model -  quite extraordinary for the sector really.

There’s a heated windscreen, IntelliLink Audio system with digital radio, Aux-in socket and USB connection with iPod Control, LED daytime running light and electrically heated leather-covered steering wheel -  which as a cold hands sufferer I would love.

Remote control central locking, electrically operated front window, tyre pressure monitoring system, ESP, hill start assist, ABS, six airbags, electronic engine deadlock immobiliser, and speed-sensitive power-assisted steering also come as part of the package.

The cabin is surprisingly big with loads of space up front for two to sit in comfort. The steering column is adjustable for reach and rake meaning a comfortable seating position for all sized drivers and many more of the gizmos you expect to pay for are included.

Not many competitors benefit from such impressive infotainment as the Corsa through a seven-inch touchscreen. There’s DAB Radio (which didn’t work too well in deepest Mid Wales), Bluetooth, sat-nav via the Bringo app which annoyingly needs to be on your smartphone too – that means “no Smartphone, no sat-nav.”

There are six speakers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control, driver’s seat height adjuster, air conditioning, electrically heated front seats and a multi-function trip computer.

The Corsa on test came with stunning 17 inch alloys (which were extras) and body colour exterior door handles and door mirrors which made it stand out in the crowd.

There’s also more room inside than you would expect and if you want to carry something a bit out of the ordinary the back seats split 60/40 to provide a bit more space. The boot has 285litres of space.

A “sight and light pack” was also included which offers automatic dipping. I’ve been impressed with this type of system in the past but have to admit to finding it a little annoying after a week. It’s a personal preference but I like to be in control.

The 1.4Turbo SE will set you back £14,020, which a fair price when you consider all the extras on board. If you want even more you have to pay.

The test car included metallic paint, electric glass sunroof, electronic climate control, a space saver spare wheel, a technical pack, 17inch alloys and advanced park assist which pushed the price up another £3,000 to £17,115.

I’d be inclined to miss out on some of the extras and enjoy a very well equipped and surprisingly roomy car at a competitive £14,000.

I’m glad I took a second look. This is Vauxhall doing what it does best.

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