2008 Vauxhall Corsa Design 1.2 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Exceptional refinement and big car feel from Vauxhall's baby!


Have owned the car for approximately 2 weeks, so probably too early for anything to come up.

With a recent spell of warm sun, I did have chance to turn on the air conditioning and found it is nowhere as chilled as I would have expected. Seems to be slightly cool, so maybe it just needs re gassing... but after a year?

Not sure if I need to replace the wiper blades, they seem OK, but on the back stroke they splash water back on the screen from the washer jets. Having just found out the cost of them, maybe I will hang on!

General Comments:

I am very impressed with the new Corsa, especially coming from a Vectra SRi Diesel and doing around 450 miles a week, I was nervous as to whether it would be comfortable enough.

Cabin feels high quality, very refined and comfortable. Initially I found the seat bolsters were a bit hard on my legs, but already after owning the car for a couple of weeks, I am getting used to them and maybe they are softening up.

The Design model has very nice seats, the piano black console looks very upmarket and avoids the reflection issues from the windscreen that many Corsa owners complain of.

The 1.2 engine is exceptionally refined and feels a lot bigger, well at least until you get to an incline when you do feel the need to drop a few cogs.

Lots of nice toys though, such as the rain sensor wipers, auto dipping interior mirror, automatic headlights, welcome lighting and excellent door pocket storage. Glove box though is very small.

I do mostly motorway commuting each day, which accounts for approx 90 miles a day, so I think it's fair to say this is an exceptionally comfortable car for its class. I tend to cruise no more than 60mph on the motorways, for which the 1.2 sits at around 2500 rpm and the ride is very refined, certainly not that different from my Vectra.

Pedals feel good too, not too light that you can't feel them under your feet, the brakes are nice and progressive and the gear box smooth. I do find that you need to be very slow on releasing the clutch though in 1st gear, as the car tends to lurch on the biting point.

Audio system is very good for this class of car, great mid range and top end, and sufficient bass. The design features 7 speakers and a very nice CD/MP3/RDS setup. There is also a line in socket to connect an MP3 player, with the cup holders providing sufficient hold for an iPod, iPhone or similar.

You can program a number of settings for each key when parked by pulling back the two stalk switches simultaneously - this includes settings for a max speed alarm, auto door locking when the car begins to move, welcome lighting when unlocking the car, even down to setting the volume of the turn signal click!

I am very impressed at how economical this car has proven so far. My Vectra 2.2 SRi diesel would manage 600 miles from a 60 litre tank, which was very impressive on my commute. I am getting well in excess of 450 miles from the 45 litre tank on the Corsa, and of course saving a bit on the gas per litre over heavy oil!

Will keep you all informed as to how I get on with this car over time, as I did with my previous Vectra. I wanted to downsize from the Veccy, the only thing I am missing on the Corsa is cruise control and a bit more torque for overtaking... but otherwise it's hard to fault this baby! Great car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th April, 2009

24th Aug 2009, 07:18

Update to my review as of Aug 24th 2009...

Well it's now been 5 months since I bought the car. I am now beginning to feel the effect of regular daily motorway commutes and the smaller engine of the Corsa. I can't help but love this car though, around town and pootling about it's fun and easy to drive, with its funky interior and the smooth refinement of the 1.2 petrol engine.

I have since had cruise control fitted, which has helped me on the hour motorway jaunt to work and back each day, but I am finding aching in my shoulders and a general tiredness from the road and engine drone above 60mph.

Off the motorway it's faultless and a sheer pleasure to drive, but I don't really think it's for regular motorway journeys, especially for a tall chappy like me (I am 6ft 3).

Economy is very good with the cruise and I regularly get 500-550 miles from a tank, though if you drive it at 70mph you can almost see the fuel gauge move! At 70 you need to turn the radio up rather loud to hear it over the engine and road noise, and in 5th you have no acceleration to overtake, and only a smidge of power in 4th... but I still love this car! Hills are not the 1.2's best friend either, unless you've got plenty of momentum that is.

I've experimented with the seat position as much as possible, but still find it gives too much support in the lower back and not enough in my shoulder area... as a result I often get headaches and neck ache. Shame.. but maybe I will adjust to it?

As of yet I haven't done a very long journey in the car (other than Luton when I got the cruise fitted), that was OK although I felt tired after the trip. Compared to the old Vectra, I could drive all day on the motorway with that... I couldn't say the same for the Corsa though.

Maybe the Astra would be a better car, though side by side they don't seem to be much different. The seats of the Corsa Design are nice looking, though quite hard especially in the bolsters. They have softened a bit with driving though and my thighs don't feel as achy as when I first had the car.

Problems wise it has been fine since I had the air con regassed and cleaned the windscreen washer pump out myself. There is an annoying squeaking or squealing noise from the belt area, I believe it's the alternator belt, but the cost of replacing it seems not to be worth it just to cure the noise... but it's annoying when standing in traffic.

I will keep you all updated!

3rd Oct 2009, 17:20

I've found similar problems with Corsa/Astra seats. They took me ages to get used to - probably over a year (!), but once I did, I found them comfortable and moving to the seats in other cars caused discomfort. Maybe your back adjusts to the seats more than the seats adjust to your back!

12th Dec 2009, 06:40

The owner/reviewer tells us what a great car this is, but from the number of problems, it certainly doesn't sound like it...!

I think the smiley face should be demoted.

28th Jan 2010, 16:13

I still agree it's a great car, and the problems are not really problems... just the car isn't suited to my needs. I've spoken to other tall drivers who also found the new Corsa more of a sitting on than a sitting in experience. I'd love one as a second car, but if you travel a lot up and down motorways and you are a tall person, then you might like me find it not ideal. Unfortunately for me, my muscular discomforts were more due to RSI and the car simply didn't help... I would still recommend this as a great small car, and for short trips/city driving it is fab!

2008 Vauxhall Corsa SRi 1.6 turbo from UK and Ireland


Very quick car, but very driveable


Nothing as yet.

General Comments:

Superb 6 speed gearbox married to a very quick engine.

Seats very firm but supportive.

Ride can get bumpy on bad roads.

Fuel consumption can be reasonable with a bit of effort.

Nice looking car with the red trim on the steering wheel, seats, and the red seatbelts.

Excellent brakes.

Steering can be imprecise at speed,

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th February, 2009