What is it?
The first time we’ve driven the new, speedily-developed Vauxhall Corsa on British roads. And if there’s anywhere it’s worth testing the Corsa, it’s here, the supermini’s largest market even compared to parent brand Opel’s home, Germany.
Vauxhall is keen to make mention of how important the Corsa is: not just to Vauxhall itself as by far and away its most popular model, but to the UK. Generally second only to the Fiesta in the supermini sales charts, it's a model that transcends age groups and classes. Almost everyone will have been in or driven a Corsa throughout their life.
Anyway, you’d have been living in a cave (or perhaps not reading Autocar often enough) if you weren’t aware of the latest Corsa’s relationship with the new Peugeot 208. Opel was close to finishing a new Corsa under GM ownership, but when the PSA Group took the reigns in 2017 the project was started afresh with PSA’s modular CMP platform, for reasons explained eloquently by my colleague from the Corsa’s European launch.
So, a mere two years from that point, we find ourselves on the roads around the sprawling Goodwood estate in a Vauxhall supermini that is unrecognisable from its predecessor. And that’s a good thing, we reckon: the old car had almost MPV-like proportions, whereas the new model has a full 48mm lopped off the roofline and 39mm added to the length. It’s actually a touch narrower, but it certainly doesn’t look it thanks to its squat, purposeful stance.
The new Corsa’s range is, thankfully, greatly simplified over the old car. Instead of a baffling array of trims and engine there’s two petrol engines, one diesel and a new, all electric version (more on that early next year). These can be mated to six trim levels (each with a ‘Nav’ spec), with options grouped into packs.