SEARCH hard and long enough and you might just find someone who has not owned or had a friend or family member who has owned a Vauxhall Corsa.

In the era of Britpop, Walkmans, shell suits and The Spice Girls, this loveable motoring icon emerged in 1993.

Yes, it’s 25 years since the Corsa first came off the production line.

And key to its success has been its ability to move with the times. Who would have thought 25 years ago that a personal assistant could be accessed directly from the comfort of your car via Vauxhall’s clever OnStar system?

Or that a car born with a cassette player would one day offer something as sophisticated as Apple CarPlay, embrace engines that have almost doubled in power and offer features once the preserve of premium brands like a heated steering wheel and heated seats.

Big on value but small on price, the original model sold for £7,195 with the price rising by only £3,850 for the entry-level model in its 25 years.

The latest generation of the Corsa is available in 13 colours, and you can match it with a punchy 1.4-litre turbo engine or a 1.0-litre eco-friendly job that sips fuel.

My test car had the turbocharged petrol unit under the bonnet. Offering 100PS, it proved to be a sprightly carriage, yet economical too.

But what most impressed me about the car in Sri trim was the interior. Despite its compact exterior dimensions, there’s a clever use of cabin space that belies its size.

And the enviable space utilisation is home to some of the latest gadgets and some quality materials to increase your motoring enjoyment.

Almost every element of the Corsa’s generous cabin is new when compared with the previous version, including a re-designed instrument panel and dashboard, and greatly improved levels of functionality, highlighted by Vauxhall’s sophisticated IntelliLink system.

From the front, the Corsa’s bold face is recognisable thanks to its ‘eagle eye’-shaped headlights, incorporating LED daytime running lights, and the low sporty trapezoidal grille.

The side view of the three and five-door bodies is very different. In the three-door model, the upper window line drops to the rear which makes the car look coupe-like. In the five-door variant, the belt line extends upwards creating a dynamic connection with the roof spoiler.

Personally, I would opt for the five-door as a more practical offering.

The rear view of the Corsa features wide horizontal split tail lights that help widen the car and flow through to the rear shoulders, creating a more muscular stance.

But let’s get back to that Interior. While the basic dimensions of the cabin have not changed, almost everything that sits in was re-designed.

A driver control centre takes pride of place within the newly-designed instrument panel which is themed around horizontal lines. There’s also a re-designed steering wheel that’s more ergonomic than before along with switches and instruments that are all finished in chrome.

The interior is also practical, with the front doors featuring a compartment large enough for a 1.5-litre bottle as well as three cup holders in the centre console. There’s also a flexible cup holder located in front of the gear lever.

Under the bonnet, you can have a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo unit, a 1.3 CDTi, which meets stringent Euro-6 regulations and will appeal to diesel buyers, the 1.4-litre turbo or a choice of 1.2 or 1.4 naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engines.

Vauxhall has now updated the Corsa range, with highlights including new Euro 6.2 compliant engines and seven trim levels, with prices starting from just £11,250 on-the-road for the entry-level Active model. Available in three or five door variants, the range introduces the new 1.4-litre Euro 6.2 compliant petrol engines.

So what’s next for the Corsa? Watch out for the arrival of the new Corsa GSi in showrooms this autumn. And next year should see the arrival of the first electric Corsa.


Vauxhall Corsa Sri Nav

Price: £17,215 (Corsa range from £11,250)

Engine: Turbocharged 1.4 litre petrol, producing 100PS

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 11.0 seconds; top speed 115mph

Economy: 51.4mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 128g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****