+ Cheap to run
+ Abundance of choice
+ Good equipment levels
- Not as polished to drive as its rivals
- Three-door is less practical
- Only average boot space
Verdict: The popularity of the Vauxhall Corsa isn’t purely down to pricing and specifications. Mature styling, a broad range of engines and a comfortable driving experience means the supermini is as popular with learners as well as more mature drivers who want a small but practical car.
Used Vauxhall Corsa (2014-2019) review: the five-minute read
Few cars are as common a sight on UK roads as the Vauxhall Corsa. It’s become one of the most popular cars across any segment and frequently topped the monthly sales figures. Launched in 2014, this generation Corsa was essentially a facelifted version of the previous model rather than an all-new version. Known to some as the Corsa E, it’s not to be confused with the fully electric Corsa-e that followed it.
It was available as a three- and five-door and competes directly with other excellent superminis such as the Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza, not to mention its Asian rivals the Hyundai i20 and Toyota Yaris. There is not shortage of competition in this part of the car market and the differences between each car can be minimal.
Although the mechanical underpinnings of this Corsa do carry over from the one that was originally introduced in 2006, the car came in for a significant overhaul with this version. An improved interior and suspension setup ensured the Corsa remained a comfortable car with broad appeal.
At one stage there was a total of eleven different specification grades for the Corsa. Over time this was reined in and reduced to an entry-grade Active, followed by Design, Energy, Sport, SRi Nav, S Nav, SRi VX-Line Nav Black and the sportiest looking GSi. Needless to say, there’s a Corsa for almost everyone out there.
There were almost as many engines to choose from too, and these ranged in size from 1.0-litre up to a stonking 1.6-litre that was squeezed into the nose of the Corsa VXR - a proper little hot hatch. There are plenty of more sensible alternatives though, and the 1.2- and 1.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol units provide adequate if less urgent power delivery, making them ideal for the typical urban commute.
Smaller 1.0-litre engines were turbocharged and came with either 89bhp or 113bhp and both of these do make the Corsa seem a bit more lively when driving. Vauxhall did also turbocharge that 1.4-litre engine giving it a 99bhp output in the regular Corsa and a more sporting 148bhp version in the Corsa GSi, which was a sort of warm hatch that filled the gap between the sillier Corsa VXR.
Vauxhall wasn’t shy about offering buyers diesel engines either, providing the choice of a 74bhp and 94bhp. The latter of those was capable of returning up to 83mpg in its most economical guise, sipping fuel on motorway journeys. A composed suspension setup that came as part of the revisions with this model meant that the little Vauxhall could hold it own over longer distances, while it is also impressively quiet for a diesel.
Competence is what the Corsa does best, though it sadly lacks the same crisp chassis and engaging drive that the Ford Fiesta enjoys. That’s not as much of a criticism of the Corsa as I may seem though as the Fiesta has long set a very high standard. For many the Corsa will come across as a well-rounded and pleasant car to drive, partly why there are so many of them around.
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Used Vauxhall Corsa (2014-2019) interior and infotainment
comfortable car for this segment. There’s a good range of adjustability for the driver’s seat as well as the steering wheel too, and the way that the windscreen stretches out ahead of the dashboard adds to the sense of space inside.
The three-spoke multifunction steering will seem just a smidge on the large side for some, but the controls it houses are within easy thumb’s reach. The instrument cluster is partly analogue and has a small but easy-to-read TFT display at its centre.
The addition of the 7-inch touchscreen display adds heightened modernity to the Corsa’s cabin and its ability to run the two main smartphone mirroring systems — Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — will be another boon to the more connectivity-focussed buyers.
Most of the materials used in the upper sections of the cabin and in areas you’re likely to come into contact with are of decent quality. In the lower sections and on the backs of the front seats, the plastics do look and feel that bit cheaper.
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Used Vauxhall Corsa (2014-2019) practicality and boot space
If practicality is of greater importance to you then choose the five-door body style and the extra rear doors make it much easier for getting passengers in and out of the rear seats. Fitting three adults across the rear seat is a squeeze but it’s possible and is fine over shorter journeys.
The Corsa doesn’t fare as well as its closest rivals the Ford Fiesta and posh Volkswagen Polo when it comes to boot space. At 285 litres it falls just short of the Fiesta’s 292 litres and can’t hold a light to the capacious 351 litres that the Polo can offer.
It is possible to fold down the rear seat bench to create more space though it’s worth nothing that lower-spec models don’t get split-folding rear seats and these don’t fold flat to sit flush with the boot floor. One nifty feature that Vauxhall did offer with the Corsa was a built-in bike carrier. Capable of carrying two bicycles, this rack is integrated into the rear bumper and easily pulls out, complete with number plate attached. It’s a clever system and well worth looking out for when shopping for a used Corsa.
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Used Vauxhall Corsa (2014-2019) driving
With such tough competition from models like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, the Vauxhall Corsa does still manage to put in a good account of itself. The suspension upgrades given to this Corsa, such as tweaked dampers, a new front sub-frame and an improved steering rack do add up to make it a car that’s still quite enjoyable to drive.
Choosing the right engine does have an effect on how the overall driving experience goes. Some of the powertrain options aren’t what you’d call powerful, even in a car of this size, so it’s well worth thinking about where and how you’ll be using the Corsa before committing to what engine variant you purchase.
The upside is that the 1.3-litre diesel is surprisingly good and seems quite refined on the move with great fuel consumption figures and hushed running. In contrast, if you’re after something that’s a real hoot, and a bit of a hooligan, get your bum into the Corsa VXR, it’s a fun little hot hatch. Admittedly, not as polished as the Fiesta ST, but a very enjoyable drive nonetheless.
Sending it down the middle, it’s worth considering the mid-range petrol engines, especially the more powerful turbocharged 1.0-litre unit. It’s the best pick of the bunch.
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