General motors has got enough problems fighting recall-related fires back at base. But its European arm is finally emerging from equally well documented doldrums. 

European boss Karl-Thomas Neumann is a straight-talking guy who is clear on where he wants to take the business, while here in the UK, Vauxhall’s equally down-to-earth management is taking great pains not to parrot the cliche of ‘making it more premium’. A good thing, too. 

They’re also led by some talented folk back in Detroit, not least new company president Dan Ammann.

But no fightback works without strong product, and it’s no understatement to say that the new Vauxhall Corsa, seen here, is crucial to GM’s success. First impressions are good, too, judging from the results of our prototype drive.

We’re glad that the outgoing car’s styling and spacious interior have been kept. We’re also glad that the low-rent cabin has been ditched for a far classier effort, and word is that the Corsa’s so-so dynamics and lacklustre engines are much improved, too. Vauxhall back on top? It could happen.

See Autocar's exclusive studio pictures of the new Corsa.