Vauxhall's new-generation supermini features petrol, diesel and electric variants, shared with the Peugeot 208

Vauxhall has revealed details of the all-new Corsa in petrol and diesel form, after already showing the battery-electric version earlier this month. 

The brand claims all engine variants emit less CO2 than the most efficient versions of the outgoing Corsa, partly thanks of a weight reduction of up to 108kg. The line-up starts with a 74bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol unit mated to a five-speed manual gearbox - this is the lightest variant of the car, weighting in at 980kg. 

A 99bhp turbocharged version is also available from launch that can be had with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. 

Also available is a 1.5-litre diesel unit producing 99bhp and 184lb ft of torque, though it’s expected to make up a small fraction of the total sales. Official economy or performance figures of the three engines aren’t yet available, but they are likely to be comparable to the same units in the platform-sharing Peugeot 208.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Corsa cornering

All-new Vauxhall Corsa raises its game with the end result being a classy supermini that’s decent to drive, but still short of the benchmark set by the Ford Fiesta

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The new Corsa is the first Vauxhall model that has been developed since the firm was bought by the PSA Group, which also owns Peugeot, Citroën and DS. It shares the PSA Group’s new CMP platform and powertrains with the recently launched Peugeot 208.

The Corsa-e will match the e-208 in having a 50kWh battery to power the electric motor. The powertrain has 134bhp and produces 191lb ft, enough for a 0-31mph time of around 3.1secs.

The Corsa-e will feature three drive modes – Normal, Sport and Eco – with Vauxhall claiming the 211-mile official range can be extended by up to 40% in Eco drive mode. The hatch also features a regenerative braking system.

New technology includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, intelligent speed control, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition. Top-line models feature a 10in touchscreen infotainment system with connected navigation services, alongside full LED matrix headlights. 

The new Corsa is the first of a raft of Vauxhalls and Opels aimed at rejuvenating the brand with new levels of design integrity and engineering. 

Opel-Vauxhall vice-president of design Mark Adams told Autocar at the Corsa’s unveiling that the new model was engineered to the most robust standards in the company’s history, despite a massively shortened development programme after PSA bought GM’s European arm in 2017 and started afresh. 

New Vauxhall Corsa-e: official pics of electric hatch

A GM-based Corsa was all but finished by that point and it could have been launched, but the ‘toolbox’ of newly available PSA technology, including access to BEV hardware, plus licensing costs that would have been payable to GM, meant starting again was “a no brainer”, according to Adams. 

“We hand-picked our most experienced designers and engineers,” said Adams. “This is not a committee car.” He added that Opel’s design and engineering team had learnt new methods on the way but that the company couldn’t work within such a timeframe with every new model. “You’d kill people with the intensity of the work,” he said. 

PSA sees Vauxhall and Opel as a good fit with its French brands, noting that their respective British and German heritage means they’ll achieve sales volumes in their home markets that Peugeot, Citroën and DS won’t be able to match. 

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares has overseen a surprising turnaround of fortunes in an extremely short space of time. Opel-Vauxhall returned a £750m profit last year, its first in two decades. That has come from a mix of cost reduction, extra buying power and a reduction in discounting rather than a notable sales increase. 

Both Adams and new Vauxhall CEO Steve Norman say Opel-Vauxhall has much more autonomy within the PSA Group than under GM, where it made products that sold not only in Europe but also, with Chevrolet, Holden or Buick badging, in other regions. 

“You can’t micromanage success”, says Adams, who added he was pleased to find that PSA CEO Carlos Tavares was “extremely focused on brand values”. That approach has allowed Opel-Vauxhall to deviate from other PSA brands and inject its own DNA into the Corsa’s design. 

Deliveries of the new Corsa start at the end of this year in internal combustion form, with the Corsa-e electric variant arriving a few weeks later. The new Corsa-e can be ordered from this week and will cost £26,490 including the government grant.

Q&A with Steve Norman, Vauxhall CEO

Is the Corsa representative what of we should now expect from Vauxhall? 

“It’s what the brand has needed for some years now, and this will be the precursor for the new Mokka, which will be much more radical still in terms of design.”

 

Is it correct that the small platform means a pure-electric option, while large platforms can have a plug-in hybrid powertrain? 

“For the moment, yes. What’s interesting in the Corsa-e is that there won’t be an option with less than 136bhp. One of the things that concerns people is that Vauxhalls have become a bit staid, and we need to inject something back into it. This will be quite a fast car.”

Do you think there’s a shift in how the business runs day to day? 

“I wasn’t there in the GM days but the people who work for me were – they think the change is total. They are given freedom to act, that’s the big difference.” 

“When Carlos Tavares entered into this, he was convinced Opel was undersold in Germany and that Vauxhall was undersold in the UK, and on that I think he was right.”

Lawrence Allan and Matt Prior

Read more

New Vauxhall Corsa-e: official pics of electric hatch​

2019 Vauxhall Corsa prototype: first drive​

PSA chairman Carlos Tavares on the group's next steps​

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Comments
21

4 June 2019

It's staggering to think that after only 2 years after taking over Opel PSA have produced a new car. Sure, the platform and many shared components were already developed the new 208 and C3 Aircross, but even then 2 years is remarkable. 

4 June 2019

Sort of spry and zesty.  Cheeky.  Light on it's feet.

I'm looking forward to seeing one up close.  The interface between the rear lights and the surrounding metal is so smooth I mistook the photos for renderings!

Why couldn't GM do this?

4 June 2019

"rejuvenation of British brand". Vauxhall is effectively only a trading name for Opel and not a brand because not one Vauxhall car is a Vauxhall, they're all Opels. Maybe one day under PSA Vauxhall will be just more than a badge and will start having its own unique look and feel. 

6 June 2019

whether this one will become available as a British buillt Vauxhall... or as an Opel that needs to be imported into the UK? If I were PSA, I would do away with the Vauxhall brand which was more of a GM thing to begin with. Btw, good-looking car this Corsa. People looking for a VW Polo and perhaps even Audi A1, might want to reconsider...

4 June 2019

It carries over the look of the old Jazz nicely while modernising it just a wee bit.

Steam cars are due a revival.

4 June 2019

I was really hoping the Corsa and 208 would be the cars to make EVs very obviously accessible to the masses. Honestly, I don’t think £26.5k is accessible for said masses - certainly those folks who currently drive petrol or diesel Corsas and 208s. It’s the same sort of price as a top-spec Focus. 

Anyone that thinks £26k is reasonable honestly must be in dreamland. The electric Citigo is going to come in around £15k supposedly - I still think that’s pricey but it’ll have to be appealing PCP deals that sell that. Still a lot of work to do here. 


"Work hard and be nice to people"

4 June 2019

 That’s all it is, another Car, it breaks no new ground in car design, under the bonnet there nothing radical either, and in a few years ICE Cars will not be the norm EV are taking over, Seat have an EV Mii coming out, does 160 miles, think I’d look at that first.

Peter Cavellini.

MrJ

4 June 2019

Handsome little thing, which bodes well for future Vauxhall/Opels.

 

4 June 2019

Two articles back to back an autocar website today. How can PSA get it so right with the new Corsa and so wrong with their £41k 508 estate?

It's like two completely different companies.

4 June 2019

Great effort, this is a decent looking car.  

I don't think Vauxhall has made desirable cars since the last Cavalier and first (UK) Corsa.  Back in the mid 1980's they were a default car for the middle classes, and were a well led and focused company.  Now they have not much appeal.  Hopefully this Corsa marks a return to form.

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