If you’ve ever toiled for nothing, you’ll understand the predicament in which Vauxhall and sibling Opel found themselves in November 2017. By then, a heavily refreshed Corsa was three years in the making and ready to go in engineering terms and, despite a prognosis for slowly declining commercial success, it was expected to make a decent splash.
Then the PSA Group – French manufacturing giant and owner of Peugeot, Citroën and the reborn DS – bought Opel-Vauxhall from GM for £1.2 billion and the decision was made to ditch the Astra-platformed model, which had already been more or less signed off, and instead build a new new Corsa on the CMP platform due to underpin the Peugeot 208 and DS 3 Crossback. The project’s chief engineer, Thomas Wanke, insists it was an easy decision to make.
So here, then, we have the first Corsa to use a truly modern French skeleton and PSA-sourced vital organs, all developed from the ground up in less than two years. Getting it to market in such a compressed timeline has been some achievement. But Vauxhall knows the effort has been worth it, because a platform that is more rigid and lighter and can take a broad range of powertrains was absolutely needed in order for the Corsa to raise its game in the face of stiffer rivals.
The Vauxhall Corsa range at a glance
Until the electric Corsa-e arrives, UK customers have a choice of two petrol engines and a sole diesel. The entry-level 1.2-litre PSA Group three-pot develops just 74bhp but, with the addition of a turbocharger, this increases to 99bhp. A more powerful petrol engine, with 129bhp, is available in markets other than ours, but this could make its way to the UK in the future.
In terms of trim levels, there’s a fairly dizzying selection to choose from: Vauxhall’s online configurator lists 11 different specifications. These start at entry-level SE and move up to our range-topping Ultimate Nav model.