Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX Limited Edition

Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX Limited Edition
The Corsa is Vauxhall's best-selling model and a near permanent fixture in the UK's top three bestsellers list, but the current car has been on sale since 2006.

To keep the Corsa current against strong rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall gave us a mildly face-lifted version this year.
Are these changes enough to keep the baby Vauxhall in the minds of supermini buyers? I spent a week with the greenest model in the range, the £16,590 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX in Limited Edition trim.

The current Corsa was launched back in 2006 and still looks quite sharp. As such, the face-lift changes are little more than tweaks to the design.

Most obvious at the front, there's a new Griffin badge, signature chrome bar stretching across the front grille, re-styled front bumper, wider and more prominent lower grille and the 'Eagle-Eye' headlamps first seen on its bigger brothers, the Insignia, Astra and Meriva.

At the side, the door trims have been removed for a smoother look and at the back there's new badging.

Considering this is supposed to be a 'green' car, the Corsa certainly doesn't look it, with the VXR styling kit, standard with the Limited Edition trim. In fact, apart from the five-door bodystyle, I reckon you could mistake this car for the far sportier VXR version. So, whilst I like the fact that this car doesn't look like a Prius, I wonder whether the VXR tweaks make this Corsa look a bit cheap?

A 76bhp 1.3 CDTi diesel engine is fitted in the ecoFLEX, which is the greenest engine available in the Corsa. This clean engine features a Start & Stop system, which means emissions of just 112g/km and a 67.3mpg Combined fuel consumption figure. On top of this, it will cost just £30 to tax this Corsa per year, so the baby Vauxhall should prove cheap to run.

Front three-quarter visibility might be poor, but the Corsa was still easy to park and I didn't miss rear parking sensors. The Vauxhall's power assisted steering is too light and could do with more feel - it's no performance car but the Corsa doesn't encourage hard driving.

The failings with the steering are a shame, as this Corsa cornered well, with plenty of grip from the 17-inch wheels and excellent body control. For me though, the Fiesta is still the driver's supermini choice.

The sports suspension means the ride is hard and there is some tyre roar on the motorway. Generally okay, but this car does seem to find every pothole and amplify it.

Inside, the Vauxhall feels robust rather than well-made. Like the exterior styling, I think that red accent trims for the air vents and the piano black trim are a bit much. Good news then, that all the switchgear is logically placed.

Despite the 1.3-litre CDTi feeling strong considering its size, this car is more about getting miles for gallon rather than outright speed. As such, it feels a bit slow when accelerating and is most at home at motorway cruising speeds.

Whilst it might be an advanced diesel engine, there's no getting away from the diesel clatter when it's started first thing in the morning. Thankfully, it does settle down when warmed and is refined on the open road.

The five-speed manual transmission is light enough but could be more precise. Performance is willing rather than fast; 60mph comes up in 13.6 seconds and the top speed is 101mph.

The Corsa's driving position is comfortable, but it's a shame the seats didn't get the same sporty if tacky makeover as the dashboard, as they lack support. The four-door bodystyle is more practical and there's plenty of room for four adults to travel in comfort. Plus, the 285 litre boot has a practical false floor to hide valuables.

In Limited Edition trim, this Corsa is well-equipped with air-conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows, power mirrors and alloy wheels as standard.

Our test car was fitted with £750 of optional Touch and Connect, touchscreen navigation system. This also includes Bluetooth and USB connectivity for iPods. Sadly, the maps look a bit simplistic, but the system seems well integrated into the Corsa's interior and the Bluetooth connectivity for my phone was excellent.

So to sum up, in Limited Edition trim, the Corsa is more of sheep in wolf's clothing. However, it does most things well and should prove very cheap to run.

Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX Limited Edition
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Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX Limited Edition
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