Launched in 2019, the fifth generation of Vauxhall’s supermini is the best ever and has been a big success. Also available with petrol and diesel engines, the Corsa was the UK’s best-selling new car in 2021.
One of the first fruits of Vauxhall’s new ownership (it’s now part of the Stellantis group which also includes Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat and Jeep), the Corsa was developed alongside the Peugeot 208.
The EV versions (badged Corsa-e and e-208) are similar, both with a claimed potential pure electric range of 222 miles.
Powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 1364hp electric motor up front, the Corsa-e is capable of accelerating from 0–60mph in just 7.6 seconds.
It will charge from 0-100% using a 7.4kW home wallbox in approximately 7.5 hours (15-80% in five hours). If you can find a rapid 100kW chargepoint it will charge from 15-80% in 30 minutes, or 45 minutes using a more common 50kW fast charger.
Looks are subjective, but both the Corsa-e and e-208 are attractive cars, with the latter perhaps having the edge.
The biggest difference between the cars is inside. The interior of the Corsa-e has a conventional front cabin layout, while the e-208 has a version of Peugeot’s “i-Cockpit” with a small, low-set steering wheel and a dashboard that is raised and set back. In other words, you view the instrument cluster by looking over, rather than through, the steering wheel.
The Vauxhall solution may not be so fancy, but for me, it’s easier to live with and the driving position is more comfortable. The simplicity of the dashboard means it’s all the more intuitive, while separate heating/cooling controls beneath the centre console screen make life so much easier.
There are currently three Corsa-e trim levels available – the Anniversary special edition (limited to 1,000 customers), plus entry-level GS-Line and Ultimate. They are all identical mechanically and differ only in equipment levels.
GS-Line gets 17-inch alloys, a sports interior trim, 7.0-inch colour touchscreen with sat nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, LED headlights with high beam assist, rear parking sensors and a black roof with tinted rear windows.
The Anniversary Edition adds Record Red metallic paint and chequered/tartan sports seats, 17-inch gloss black alloy wheels, panoramic rear-view camera, heated front seats/steering wheel and blind spot alert.
Top of the range Ultimate boasts a 10-inch infotainment screen, 17-inch bi-colour alloys, 7.0-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, Alcantara seat trim and driver’s seat massage.
The Vauxhall Corsa-e is an easy car to drive with just one forward gear and the choice of three modes – Eco, Normal or Sport.
Nippy and pleasantly refined, the steering is light and quick, so urban driving and A-road overtaking are a breeze. And unusually for an EV, the brake pedal has a progressive feel.
Despite the fact that it weighs 345kg more than a regular Corsa, it handles well, and the suspension does a good job of soaking up the lumps and bumps encountered in everyday driving.
For me, the combination of the Corsa-e’s conventional driving position, simple instrumentation and pleasant ride gives it the edge of the 208-e. If you’re torn, test drive them back-to-back.
It won’t put a smile on your face like a MINI Electric, but it’s still fun to drive and it has a much more useable range. Like most EVs, expect a real-world range as much as 20% down on the claimed 222 miles.
If you want to squeeze maximum miles out of the Corsa-e, engage ‘B’ on the gear selector for maximum brake regeneration on downhill stretches.
There’s ample space up front, though it is snug for adult passengers in the rear. Storage spaces inside include the glovebox, door bins and a compartment underneath the centre front armrest.
Boot capacity is slightly down on the ICE (internal combustion engine) Corsa (267 litres compared to 309 litres), rising to 1,081 litres with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats folded.
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