- Available with a choice of battery sizes
- Modern styling and well equipped
- Pleasant to drive with impressive range
- Quite expensive for a Corsa with prices from £32k
- Rear legroom is quite limited
- Noticeable tyre rumble noise
Vauxhall has added extra appeal to the mix with its latest Corsa Electric now available with a larger, more powerful battery pack that can deliver 246 miles between charges. Customers can still opt for the more affordable 50kWh battery which offers 222 miles of range.
Vauxhall has also simplified its trim levels so the Corsa Electric is offered in three specifications called Design, GS and Ultimate. Both Design and GS are available with the 50kWh 136PS battery while GS and Ultimate grades are matched to the 51kWh 156PS unit.
But whichever model is selected, and there are petrol derivatives too, owners will get a beautifully-styled, well-equipped, five-door supermini that has proven to be a firm favourite amongst drivers over the decades. And there is more good news on the horizon with plans for the arrival of a hybrid model in early 2024. This could be the ideal stepping stone for anyone not quite ready for full electrification.
But we were testing the all-new Corsa Electric and we opted for the range-topping Ultimate model with that bigger battery pack.
The Corsa is the last model in the Vauxhall line-up to adopt the company’s Visor front end look that was first seen on the latest Mokka. This distinctive styling features a single smooth panel that sits between the signature wing-shaped LED headlights housing a number of driver assistance functions, along with the company’s emblem.
Each of the three trims also gets its own specific styling cues with Design models featuring a chrome Griffin logo and 16-inch high-gloss black alloys. GS showcases a sportier theme with a black Griffin badge, black roof and A-pillars, dark tinted windows and 17-inch alloys in a choice of shades. Finally, step up to Ultimate and it gains its own badging.
Other eye-catching features on our Corsa Electric Ultimate included sports front and rear body styling, high gloss black B pillars, black mirror housings, dark tinted rear windows and tailgate and some Ultimate badges.
The interior is ultra-modern and packed with technology, including an enhanced 10-inch touchscreen infotainment set-up, accompanied by a seven-inch driver information display.
On-board technology includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, DAB radio, Bluetooth, natural voice recognition, a six-speaker sound system, LED ambient lighting, three USB-C ports and full navigation.
There is a separate panel for all the climate control settings which is always practical, rather than having to navigate touchscreen menus simply to adjust the temperature. And our car featured heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
On The Road
Handling & Performance
The introduction of a new Long-Range 51kWh battery which is paired with a 115kW/156PS motor sees the driving range between charges increase to a potential 246 miles. This compares favourably to the slightly lower-powered version with its 222 miles of range.
With 260Nm of torque on tap, our Corsa Electric Ultimate test car could complete the 0-62mph dash in 8.2 seconds which is a seventh of a second quicker than the lesser-powered version. Both models have the same top speed of 93mph.
The Corsa first graced UK roads back in 1983 and is a vitally important car for Vauxhall accounting for 30 per cent of the company’s UK sales. But the latest version has really raised the bar with stunning new looks and performance to match.
With a low centre of gravity, it boasts excellent grip and is well balanced when pushed hard through twisting country lanes. There are drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport with Sport adding a true edge, albeit a couple of seconds after switching across from Normal, so expect a slight delay.
While Eco is ideal for busier town centre driving and there is a B button to increase the level of regenerative braking.
The Corsa Electric will cruise with ease at 70mph and there is ample power on tap for quick bursts of pace. The steering is well weighted and the all-round visibility also impressed.
The soft-ish suspension helps smooth out any unexpected bumps along the way, but there is a little tyre rumble noise which is more noticeable due to the silent running of the EV.
Space & Practicality
The Corsa Electric is a five-door model that stretches 4,060mm in length, is 1,765mm wide (excluding mirrors) or 1,960mm with mirrors and 1,433mm tall.
The wheelbase is 2,538mm and that makes for a spacious cabin considering the Corsa is vying for sales in the supermini sector. There is ample room for two tall adults to sit comfortably in the front and there is room for a trio of children in the back, where like most cars of a similar size, the rear leg room is quite restricted. There are Isofix child seat anchors to the outer rear seats.
The boot can swallow 267 litres of luggage and that limit increases to a very respectable 1,081 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. The capacity is slightly larger on petrol derivatives at 309 and 1,118 litres respectively.
Elsewhere, designers have been clever to utilise the cabin space so additional storage can be found in the glovebox, compact centre console, door pockets, cup holders, seat back pockets, trays, a compartment by the driver’s door and a wireless charging pad.
Charging from a 2.3kW socket takes 21 hours, 45 minutes, or via a 7kW wallbox it is 7 hours, 30 minutes. An 11kW outlet will fully charge the battery in 5 hours, 15 minutes or alternatively a 0 to 80 per cent boost can be achieved in just 30 minutes when using a 100kW rapid charger.
The new Vauxhall Corsa Electric line-up is priced from £32,445 for the Design model with the smaller 50kWh battery delivering 136PS and increases to £38,585 for the high-end Ultimate model with the 51kWh battery delivering 156PS, as tested. Our car also featured two-coat premium paint that added a further £700 to the final price.
It is worth noting there is quite a price hike for choosing electric though with the entry-level 1.2-litre 75PS petrol model in Design specification costing £19,625.
With its zero carbon emissions, the Vauxhall Corsa Electric is an attractive model for business drivers thanks to its Benefit in Kind tax rating of just two per cent and, at present, owners of EVs are exempt from road tax, congestion charge and low emission zone fees.
But sadly, that will all change as the Government has announced it will withdraw many incentives for EV owners starting in 2025.
However, with the energy tariffs finally starting to drop, charging from home could be a financially sound way of running an electric car and, with less parts than a conventional ICE car, there are less things to go wrong so repair costs should be kept to a minimum.
Vauxhall is totally committed to the move towards full electrification and has announced that every model in its line-up will be offered in EV guise by 2024 and that the company will be carbon net zero by 2038.
In addition, for anyone not quite ready to take the plunge to full electrification, a new hybrid-powered Corsa will be launched within the next few months.
The latest Corsa certainly boasts a strong road presence with its fresh new looks and is packed with technology. But one thing is certainly guaranteed – it is a very easy car to drive and that’s always been one of its main attractions and is why it’s the ‘go-to’ model for many driving schools.