I'm not going to talk about how the car looks aesthetically as this is a subjective matter. Instead I'm going to talk about the corsa’s driveability, build quality and economics of the car.
First I'm going to talk about build quality.
I have had no problems with the build quality although I have a few reservations regarding the materials used. The dash board is moulded out of cheap looking plastic which is nasty and coarse when you run your hands over it. Reminds me of vinyl plastic that old 12” records are made from. The dash board improves slightly when you look at the central silver console, but again the plastics used are not the best, although I'm sure they are very durable and with stand scratching and blemishes (also very easy to clean).
The instrument layout is well thought out, I don’t have to strain to reach any of the buttons.
Things improve quality wise when you grasp the steering wheel. Stitched leather, audio controls and a nice chrome Vauxhall logo. The steering wheel would not look out of place on a high spec Vectra.
The seats are made from black and grey cloth and are reasonably comfy. They completely lack in lateral support so when cornering hard you really have to hang on for fear of falling out your seat! Quite disappointed about this, although up grading to an XSI will fix this gripe.
The interior is very roomy and you really have to get in there to appreciate it. Much more room than my 2002 clio sport. I can fit 5 large passengers comfortably.
The sound system is great, it copes with deep bass notes and subtle treble pitches. The volume increases as the speed increases which is a nice touch. Really could of done with a CD changer though!
During winter the heat comes on through the blowers in about 4-5 minutes and by 10-15 minutes your toasty warm. In summer the aircon gets to work in no time and you can cruise around in your little ice palace all day.
One thing I was impressed with was the quality of the ride. It glides along the road nicely and feels like a much larger car. The suspension is relatively soft so it soaks up all those annoying bumps and pits our UK roads provide. The Corsa is by no means a performance car so I wouldn’t expect it to corner. When I do corner hard its not all bad, the corsa tends to wallow and wavier abit, but generally goes where you point it. The corsa I have has 15” alloys fitted with premium continental sports so this vastly improves grip. This also has a positive effect on breaking as the corsa can stop on a penny with a light kick from the reassuring ABS.
One thing that I'm really concerned about regarding the suspension is a strange scraping noise when a ride over speed bumps or harsh bumps on the road. It sounds like two pieces of metal scraping!? Not sure if this a fault with my suspension or the fact the soft suspension runs out of travel on large bumps.
Which leads me on to talk about the electric power steering. To me it was a very different feel to the mechanical hydraulic steering I have been used to. It seems to be firmer and less progressive. When I'm manoeuvring at low speeds and I steer quickly the electric steering fails to keep up, so as a result it over loads and I'm left with no steering aid. I have heard a few horra stories of the steering failing and costing £500 to repair! If the fuse for the steering blows the car is literally un-driveable and I mean un-driveable, its like driving in cement and I'm a big guy so I can tell you!
The performance of the little 1.2 16v engine is pleasing and the thing I love about it is its low down torque. This makes it very driveable around town where stops and starts are part of the daily commute. You can almost just drop the clutch in 1st and it won't stall! The clutch is ultra light so city driving is a doddle. Although low down torque is plentiful the power does not kick in till around 4k rpm, which means you have to wait for those twin cams to wind up. Once in the 4k power band you are zipping along nicely all the way to the rev limiter. Don’t try any traffic light/grand prix starts, as that big fat flywheel will halt any attempt of a quick get away by jolting you around like kangaroo town!
I was pleased with motorway performance and the corsa will zoom past the other side of 100mph. One thing that is annoying is @ 70 mph the gearbox rev’s at around 3.8k and over 4k @ 80mph, which generates high road noise. I think the motorway road noise in the corsa is above average, but its forte is town driving really. The torquey engine will allow to perform safe over takes with out having to knock it down a gear.
The gear box is solid, precise and provides the basis for smooth gear changes. I have, so far never missed a gear which I always used to do with my clunky clio gear box.
Economics (running costs)
I'm 23, male with 0 NCB and pay £400 a year for insurance which is good. Road tax is £110 per anum.
I do roughly 300 miles a week with mixed city and motorway driving. Due to my city mileage I'm often idling in traffic jams so my MPG figures could be higher. In cold winters I'm getting 41mpg consistently and in summer that goes up slightly to 43mpg. On the motorway travelling at 80mph+ you will see a poor 33-35mpg and @ 60 mph you will achieve about 40 mpg.
Due to 15” alloys, tyres will be much more expensive, but the increased grip is a trade off I'm more than willing to pay for. Rubber is the only thing between your car and the road so as a rule of thumb it’s the area I spend most my money on.
As a quick summery I’d say the corsa is great round the city (better than the Toyota Aygo!), cheap to run and very reliable. If your looking for a motorway cruiser then steer away from the corsa. It’s the perfect A-B car! Or if your 17 and want to bolt 19” chromo spinners, stick a shopping list down the side of your door and strap 100” subs in the back then its also a good platform for this to! Lol.
My corsa’s first MOT is due in March 2007 so I will post the results of that up in here.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my review.