What is it?
Here’s a new Vauxhall supermini model aimed squarely at adapting the best-selling petrol-powered Corsa to current business users’ tax law, thereby selling more cars to fleets.
You’ve got to admire the way Vauxhall keeps its now rather venerable Corsa up to date. About a year ago the company made important and successful changes to the Corsa’s chassis, and followed this about six months ago with a styling refresh.
Now 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 per cent, to the 10 per cent band.
The penalty for this is an extra £715 for the start-stop system; the regular petrol 1.2 continues in production.
What’s it like?
The result is a pleasant little car, no longer the best in its hard-fought supermini class but as well-built and good looking as ever. The start-stop system kills the engine when the gearbox is in neutral and the clutch is out, and restarts unobtrusively as soon as you dip the pedal.
The engine is smooth and reasonably quiet, though performance is average rather than zesty. There’s a payback in fuel consumption: the Corsa returns 55 mpg on the combined cycle, and close to 50 mpg in the real world.
Though far from being the sportiest Corsa, the SXi is fun to drive, with light and accurate steering, a light and easy gearchange and impressively decent grip in fast corners.
The 1.2 litre, 84bhp engine may not be a powerhouse, but it revs quietly enough for the driver to enjoy using it with relative abandon.
Should I buy one?
It seems to us most private Corsa buyers will still continue to be attracted by the superior torque and fuel consumption of the 1.3-litre diesel alternative, not to mention the likelihood of a better resale value a few years down the road. But for those business users restricted to a petrol-powered car, the start-stop Corsa makes more sense than ever.