Vauxhall’s big-selling small hatchback is getting a fresh look, a new range of engines and even an all-electric model
The Vauxhall Corsa is a consistently popular car. It’s not only a favourite used car buy for students and first-time drivers, but the current model outperforms the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class executive saloon and Mini hatchback in the monthly sales charts. In fact, in the first six months of 2018, more than 28,000 Corsas were sold. To put that number in context, however, more than 56,000 Ford Fiestas were sold in the same period.
The current Corsa’s two-star road test rating is also testament to how far it lags behind small car class leaders such as the Fiesta and Seat Ibiza. A major upgrade is needed, then, to help the Corsa fight for supremacy – and that’s where this new version comes in.
Due to go on sale next year, it’s key to the success of the Vauxhall brand, now that it’s owned by PSA Group, which also owns France’s Peugeot, Citroën and DS brands. Read on to find out what we know about it so far.
The normal life of a car is around eight years, so given that the old Corsa went on sale in 2014, you might expect the current car to hang around for some time to come, albeit with a minor facelift due soon.
This new Corsa, though, was developed in less than two years, due to the fact that Vauxhall’s new owners reversed a decision to have the next Corsa based on underpinnings sourced from the previous owner, General Motors. If the Corsa was left on those underpinnings, PSA would have had to pay a licence to use them, so costs could quickly add up to millions of pounds.
We’ve become used to seeing small cars launched with 1.0-litre petrol engines as their mainstay options, but the Corsa will be offered primarily with the same 1.2-litre petrol unit we recommend in a variety of Peugeot models, in a range of outputs. Indeed, our recommended version of the 5008 large SUV is powered by this engine.
Electric version coming
Want an all-electric version? You won’t have long to wait. The appropriately named eCorsa will arrive later next year, with an anticipated range of around 250 miles. That means Vauxhall will beat Ford to the post with a small electric car, because the Fiesta isn’t expected to get an electric variant for many years to come.
The Peugeot 208 is also getting an electric variant, and both will face off against established electric
Space and dimensions
Despite being based on an all-new platform, the upcoming Corsa isn’t expected to be dramatically larger in any direction than the current car, because Vauxhall officials believe it’s already the right size for small car buyers.
That doesn’t mean it won’t offer more room, however, because clever packaging is likely to liberate more space for both the boot and rear passengers. Boot volume is one area where the current Corsa struggles, because its available space is smaller than that in its chief rival, the Ford Fiesta.
A bold new look
Even before Vauxhall was bought by PSA, the new Corsa was destined to be a revolutionary product with a bold look. That’s because, as the brand’s biggest-selling model, it will set the tone for a new generation of cars. The design will also mark a visual upmarket shift for the Corsa.
Interestingly, and in a move echoed by other recent car launches, there will be no three-door version, owing to slow sales of such models in recent years.
Although nothing is official at this stage, prices for the Corsa are expected to rise beyond the £13,575/$17,784 starting price for today’s five-door model, reflecting both the new technology in the car and its more premium positioning. It will, however, undercut the Peugeot 208, which currently starts from £14,315/$18,753. A price tag of around £14,000/$18,340 is therefore likely – and, at that price, the Corsa will also undercut the five-door Fiesta.
Wider styling plans
If you like the look of the new Corsa, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s expected to become a standard feature across a whole range of Vauxhall products. And it extends inside, too, where a new glass fascia is expected to be standard fit.