What the Vauxhall Corsa can’t match is the excellent pricing of some its rivals, chiefly the increasingly competitive Korean contingent that includes the new Kia Rio and Chevrolet Aveo, a model that will ironically underpin the next-generation Corsa.
A three-door Corsa can be had in Expression trim for around £9500, which sounds attractive. Standard kit includes, well, not a lot really, and the 64bhp 1.0 engine is pretty weak. So you really need to move up to the S model and the 1.2 petrol engine, at a £2500 premium, to get a more desirable package. This variant gains remote central locking and electric front windows over the poverty-spec Expression.
Head right to the top end of the range and the VXR model comes fully loaded, but at £19,000, a similarly equipped – and much more involving – Renaultsport Clio can be had a full £1000 less.
However, the Corsa packs some star performers for economy. Recent improvements to the 1.3 diesel in the Ecoflex model result in combined cycle economy of 76.3mpg and 98g/km of CO2. Put simply, it’s not going to be an expensive car to run, particularly as it sits in insurance group seven. The entry-level model is even cheaper to insure (group two of 50).
The best-selling petrol engine, the 84bhp 1.2 litre, is available with a new start-stop system that brings its CO2 output down to 119g/km. This, in turn, slashes road tax from £95 to £30 and reduces benefit-in-kind for business users from the regular car’s 15 percent, to the 10 per cent band. The penalty for this is an extra £700 for the start-stop system. The regular petrol 1.2 continues in production and this model returns 55mpg on the combined cycle, and close to 50mpg in the real world.