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Drive
This ultimate sporting version is of course very quick. It reaches 62mph from zero in 6.5 seconds and can top 143mph, say official stats.

Vauxhall Corsa VXR

OX & HC cover the Vauxhall Corsa VXR 1.6 Turbo (205PS), “another little pocket rocket, and one that is very popular with the young”
This second generation Corsa VXR benefits from a comprehensive chassis overhaul.

"It’s all fun like it should be"

The refinement, build quality, fit and finish of Vauxhalls have come on no end.

 

Look inside this new Corsa VXR and what you see is definitely ‘upmarket’, and a welcome step change for the brand. Yet in performance terms the magic hasn’t always been up there with the competition. Like the Fiesta, the Corsa is extremely popular with new car buyers, coming second this year (to the Fiesta) in top vehicle sales. It is a head on contester to the Fiesta ST.

On paper the Corsa is quicker than the standard Fiesta ST but it lacks that ultimate handling finesse to give it a decisive edge.

 

This ultimate sporting version is of course very quick. It reaches 62mph from zero in 6.5 seconds and can top 143mph, say official stats. It is, of course another little pocket rocket, and one that is very popular with the young. This second generation Corsa VXR benefits from a comprehensive chassis overhaul. There’s only minor tweaks to the engine which remains unchanged from the previous car; namely a new air filter and intercooler bolted on to a Remus exhaust. The chassis gets the main treatment with springs sitting 10mm lower, new bushes, stiffer rear suspension and uprated anti-roll bars. If you want more you can add £2,400 and treat yourself to the Performance Pack for serious adrenaline driving.

The VXR way

On paper the Corsa is quicker than the standard Fiesta ST but it lacks that ultimate handling finesse to give it a decisive edge. We are talking of a very thin line here so if you’re more pro Vauxhall than Ford there’s little between the two in actual speed. It’s more about how the speed is delivered. The Corsa accelerates like a hare in a straight line but gives way sooner on the bends. You’ll get the odd understeer tyre squeal when you’re past the limit mainly due to the added stiffness of the suspension fighting for the direction you intended. Thankfully there’s enough seat of the pants feedback from the improved chassis to allow you to measure and gauge your pace accordingly to avoid overstepping the mark.

Where you will find an improvement is in the mid-range (say 50-70mph), where you’ll find more speed is available higher up the rev range due to revised software mapping. It’s all fun like it should be; the new Corsa VXR has matured, with the improved speed and handling it is a toy to be enjoyed. Like the Fiesta it doubles up as a daily run-around, and shopping trolley, as well as a road burner and arguably beats the Fiesta in the cabin comfort stakes. At £18,440 on the road, it is a much improved machine.

- Kevin Haggarthy

Specification

Engine: 1.6 16v Ecotec, 1598 cc | Max speed: 143mph | 0-62mph: 6.5 secs | Power: 205 PS | Average mpg: 37.7 | CO2: 174g/km