In persistent rain, our 99bhp Corsa test car battled through a shortage of traction off the line to hit 60mph in 11.2sec. In similarly adverse conditions last year, however, a 94bhp Polo with smaller, 15in wheels and 185-section tyres was able to hit 60mph from rest half a second quicker. A respectable but not outstanding standard, then.
The Corsa’s eight-speed automatic transmission made getting the car away from rest trickier than in the manual Polo and could have been a contributing factor to its slower 0-60mph time. But it doesn’t quite explain why a lighter car with greater power and torque reserves and more intermediate gear ratios to pull on was then 4.1sec slower to 100mph.
The Corsa’s healthy provision of torque does at least mean that, subjectively, it isn’t short of on-road punch. It doesn’t accelerate in quite as linear a fashion as some rival modern turbo superminis, and it can come across as a touch boosty in its power delivery through the lower middle of the rev range, but there’s a likeable pluckiness about the way it picks up pace that won’t leave you feeling grossly short-changed, either for performance in town or at speed on the motorway.