First DriveLuton looks to a name change to stoke interest in its hottest supermini; we still like it but its silly pricing means its quality is a moot point
First DriveThis retitled hot Corsa is still very entertaining, but it’s expensive compared to newer rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST
What is it?
This is what you get if you take your Corsa VXR to Vauxhall's Triple Eight Race Engineering tuning firm and ask for the full monty.
Our test car includes £2605 of mods, including a 217bhp ECU remap at £550, lowered suspension at £220, a Remus sports exhaust system at £475 and an incredible £1360 for VX Racing wheels and tyres.
What's it like?
Listening to a Corsa 888 on full throttle is akin to hearing a Bloodhound's howl coming from a Yorkshire Terrier. It roars under acceleration, pops and crackles on the overrun, and will have you searching for tunnels whenever you're not buying aspirin.
Most of the benefits of the standard VXR are there, including a good level of standard equipment, spacious interior and great looks. Unfortunately the ride has lost a lot of its pliancy and now thumps over any break in the road, though the dampers ensure it remains reasonably comfortable. The benefit of this stiffer suspension is sharper chassis response, most noticeable on turn-in. But that's where the finesse ends.
The extra 28bhp has endowed the Corsa with hugely entertaining straight-line speed, and a decent amount of trademark VXR torque-steer. This is a shame, as the Corsa VXR well-rounded usability is what made it an Autocar favourite. With this one, you'll get an even bigger dose of grin-a-minute theatrics on a track or perfect road, but it's not nearly as pleasant to zip to work in.
Should I buy one?
An £18,230, 217bhp Corsa like this one is going to appeal greatly to a very small audience, and not a lot to everyone else - and that's fine. After all, this is a tuning kit and not a production model.
But you can get a Honda Civic Type-R for £1000 less, and even with this much entertainment on offer, that puts this Corsa in a position that's difficult to justify.