13 April 2005

The next Vauxhall Corsa will be bigger, bolder and much more interesting than today’s model. Autocar’s spy photographers have exposed the all-new supermini 12 months before it appears on UK roads, and these pictures prove its maker’s intent to shake up the segment with an eye-catching model in the spirit of the 1993 original.

Vauxhall’s parent company Opel is currently shaking out the Corsa’s final gremlins in intensive cold-weather testing in Sweden. It has gone to great lengths to disguise the grille, head- and tail-lights, but despite the tape and cladding it’s clear that the new Corsa will follow in the footsteps of the Astra and Tigra in assuming Vauxhall’s new wedgy, sharp-edged design language.

Underneath lie the mechanicals co-developed with Fiat, which will also underpin next year’s new Punto. Although all the sheet metal and interior fittings differ, Vauxhall insiders have hinted that many of the cars’ hard points – wheelbase, track width and bonnet height for example – will be identical.

The new Vauxhall will be offered in both three- and five-door variants and engines will include 80bhp 1.2-, 90bhp 1.4-, 105bhp 1.6- and 140bhp 1.8-litre petrol engines. A GM-tuned version of Fiat’s excellent 70bhp 1.3-litre diesel will also be offered, alongside a 1.7-litre diesel with 100bhp.

The fastest model will be the VXR, built to take on Renault’s next Renaultsport Clio. This is expected midway through 2007 and should comfortably eclipse the 180bhp of the Meriva VXR, itself due next January.

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