Vauxhall’s fourth-generation supermini is due on sale in the UK in October in both three-door and five-door versions after a debut at the Paris motor show in the same month. Pricing won't be confirmed until 2 October, but it’s set to cost less than £10,000 in base form.
The new supermini is built on a heavily revised version of the current Corsa’s platform, but a greatly improved driving experience is promised. Every exterior body panel is new, as is the interior, and a new turbocharged 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine is among the engine range.
Today’s eight-year-old Corsa is still a strong seller in the UK, shifting 84,275 units last year as Britain’s third best-selling car. By comparison, the Fiesta sold 121,929 units.
Vauxhall’s small car brand manager, Ian Mitchell, believes that the new model “has the ingredients to be a best-seller and grow to be the class leader”.
He said: “When you look at the packaging, specification and pricing that will be competitive if not aggressive, then it’s a better-value package than its rivals and, I’d argue, dynamically it’s better also. There’s a gap to close to the Fiesta, but this should go some way to doing it.”
The exterior design of the new Corsa has clear links to the more recent newcomers in Vauxhall’s range. The front headlights and front grille design, with a coloured bar running through it, are developed from the Adam, and the blade surfacing in the doors is now a Vauxhall hallmark. At the rear, the light clusters split in the tailgate to make the Corsa’s stance look wider.
The five-door model is similar in profile to the current Corsa. This version will be pitched as a more premium and sophisticated model, with the three-door version sold as the sportier of the pair.
Although the basic monocoque is carried over, the suspension and electric steering systems are all new. UK-spec Corsas have their own steering set-ups tuned at the Millbrook proving ground. The carried-over monocoque means that the dimensions are largely the same as the outgoing car’s, with just 3mm added in length.
Two chassis set-ups will be offered: a standard Comfort set-up with 16-inch wheels, and a Sport option that rides 15-20mm lower and is offered with 16-inch or 17-inch wheels.
Mitchell said the Fiesta was the benchmark for the new Corsa’s handling and the Volkswagen Polo was earmarked as the supermini to beat for ride quality. “I think we exceed the Polo on comfort and got a Fiesta-like sharp turn-in without compromising ride quality,” said Mitchell.
Five engines will be offered from launch. The base unit will be a normally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol four-pot with 69bhp. Next in the range is an 89bhp 1.4-litre petrol, which is expected to be the best-seller, followed by a 1.4-litre petrol turbo with 99bhp.
The most interesting engine will be the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol triple, which will be introduced before the Corsa in the Adam next month. It will be offered with 89bhp and 113bhp outputs, each of which achieves 125lb ft of torque from 1800rpm. Vauxhall claims this strong low-end is particularly evident during acceleration from 50mph to 75mph – the Corsa with 133bhp makes this transition in just 10.4 seconds.
Both variants of this new engine are fitted with stop-start as standard and the 89bhp three-door returns 54.7mpg on the combined cycle according to the manufacturer's claims.