It's rare that the Vauxhall Corsa doesn't feature in the monthly top 10 best sellers list in the UK, such is its enduring popularity among British motorists. It's hardly a surprise, though - Vauxhall's network is one of the largest in the country, so you rarely have to stray far from home to find a dealer or a workshop.
Its impressive value for money is key to its appeal, as is a user-friendly nature that adds to its popularity among driving schools and new licensees alike. It has much to offer more experienced drivers, too, and is a capable rival to the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Volkswagen Polo, as well as the Kia Rio and Hyundai i20.
The Opel Corsa is now into its fifth Generation, and this is the fourth version sold with the Corsa name in the UK.
Although effectively a heavy facelift of its predecessor, the latest Vauxhall Corsa was nevertheless a big step forwards when it arrived in the UK in 2014. Offered with three or five doors, it introduced a sporty new style that's particularly evident in the high-performance Vauxhall Corsa VXR, which we've reviewed separately. Even the less powerful three-door models have a youthful, fun look to them, while the five-door is a more practical choice thanks to its easier rear passenger access.
However, there's currently far less choice of engines than Corsa buyers will be used to. April 2018 range updates following the PSA Group's buyout of Vauxhall, falling diesel sales and stricter emissions regulations mean just the 1.4-litre petrol is available to buy, with the diesels and smaller petrols shelved for the time being. The 1.4-litre is at least offered with a range of power outputs, with 74 or 89bhp and a turbocharged version producing 99bhp. Byt fuel-economy figures from 44.1 to 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions from 128 to 149g/km are high for a supermini.
Betraying its mission to please every driver all of the time, the Corsa strikes a sensible compromise between comfort and driving involvement. It may not have quite the sharp reflexes and cornering fluidity of the Ford Fiesta or SEAT Ibiza, but it certainly isn't a let down, either - it resists body lean even when driven really hard, yet the ride quality doesn't suffer too badly as a trade-off. Most will find the Corsa comfortable, although potholes can shudder through the car at low speeds.
It is a big improvement over its predecessor, though
As tends to be the way with Vauxhalls, there's loads of choice on offer, with a wide variety of possible trims and engine combinations. These were pared back at the same time as the engine range, though, with Vauxhall reducing the number of trim levels from 11 to seven in a bid to simplify the range for customers and reduce manufacturing costs. Active, Design, Energy, Sport, SRi Nav, SE Nav and SRi VX-Line Nav Black remain and our favourite is the Corsa Design, which has air-conditioning, DAB radio, alloy wheels and cruise control, making it a real grown-up supermini. We also like Vauxhall's latest IntelliLink infotainment system, which is easy to use and connect to your smartphone.
One concern could be the Corsa's four-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating in a class where a number of rivals have five stars. This is partly because the testing regime has become stricter recently. The Corsa has six airbags to protect occupants, as well as the usual anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.
While it's hugely popular, the Corsa has never been blessed with a great reliability record, so some owners choose to extend the three-year warranty, and Vauxhall offers several different levels of extra cover. The Vauxhall Corsa finished 67th out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2018 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK.
At least the number of Vauxhall dealers across the nation is reassuring, while the Corsa's practicality, smooth handling and well thought-out interior make it a model that deserves its huge popularity, even if it's in need of another update to keep up with rivals.
MPG, running costs & CO2
2.5 / 5
The Vauxhall Corsa has been hit by updates that limit engine choice
Engines, drive & performance
2.5 / 5
The Vauxhall Corsa is available with a gutsy turbo petrol engine and handles well
Interior & comfort
4 / 5
Tactile materials and redesigned suspension help to make the Vauxhall Corsa very comfortable inside
Practicality & boot space
3.5 / 5
The Vauxhall Corsa offers good leg and headroom, as well as a large boot
Reliability & safety
3 / 5
Neither Vauxhall as a brand or the Corsa as an individual car have performed particularly well in customer satisfaction surveys
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