Review: Vauxhall Corsa Electric 2023

From £35,475

Launched in 2019, the fifth-generation Vauxhall Corsa has been a big success, and the good news is that Vauxhall hasn’t sat on its laurels. For 2023 the Corsa has been treated to a fresh face and new infotainment tech, plus extra power and increased range for the electric version (previously marketed as the Corsa-e). Up against other entry-level urban EVs including the MINI Electric, Renault Zoe, BYD Dolphin and Fiat 500 Electric, plus bigger, cheaper rivals such as the MG4, the Corsa Electric needs all the help that it can get. We drove the new Corsa on mixed roads in the Cotswolds to find out whether Vauxhall has done enough to keep its zero-emissions supermini relevant.

> Vauxhall’s Corsa Electric gets a refresh with increased range

Vauxhall Corsa Electric side view

Vauxhall Corsa Electric – Exterior

For many, one of the biggest draws of the Corsa Electric has always been that it looks ‘normal’ with its attractive, conventional small hatch styling. No change there, though it’s now become the last model in the Vauxhall range to benefit from the brand’s new design language, and we reckon the new ‘Vizor’ front end looks just the job.

Additional exterior changes include ‘Corsa’ lettering on the rear boot lid, LED headlights and a shark fin antenna at the rear. The trim line-up has been simplified to consist of only Design, GS and Ultimate grades. A total of six colours are available: Arctic White, three two-coat metallic paint options (Crystal Silver, Voltaic Blue and Carbon Black), plus Crimson Red and Graphic Grey (two-coat premium metallic).

> Competitively priced and practical: Read our review of the 2019 Vauxhall Corsa-e

Vauxhall Corsa Electric interior

Vauxhall Corsa Electric – Interior

The cabin of the Vauxhall Corsa Electric may not be as flashy as some rivals (eg Peugeot E-208), but it’s simple, straightforward and does the job. Yes, it’s a bit dark and there are too many scratchy surfaces, but a 10-inch infotainment display is now standard across all trim levels. There’s also a 7.0-inch digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel on all but the base grade, plus a dinky new gear selector in the centre console. Top marks to Vauxhall for coming up with a sensible balance of touchscreen and physical buttons/dials for essential functions such as climate control.

Despite the upgrade, there are faster, more responsive, infotainment systems out there. But add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, ‘Hey Vauxhall’ voice recognition and a good suite of safety and driver assistance features, and the Corsa Electric is well equipped.

There’s ample space up front, though it is cosy for adult passengers in the rear. The seats aren’t plush, but perfectly comfortable, while the driving position is just fine (with a refreshingly low setting if you prefer). 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 (a still reasonable 267 litres compared to 309 litres), rising to 1,081 litres with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats folded.

> A funky compact crossover: Read our review of Vauxhall Mokka Electric

Vauxhall Corsa Electric – Performance and economy

You can still buy the Corsa Electric with the previous 134bhp electric motor and 50kW battery pairing, but it has now been joined by the more expensive 154bhp ‘Long Range’ motor and 51kWh battery combo. The former offers a claimed range of 222 miles, the latter 246 miles.

Both options deliver the same 192 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. The less powerful variant can reach 62mph from rest in 8.9 seconds. The newer model does it in 8.2 seconds.

Vauxhall Corsa Electric boot space

Frankly, there’s not much between the two versions of the Corsa Electric. Both are quick enough for everyday driving, but you’ll have to choose Sport mode to access full power, and even then, it’s more nippy than fast. Probably best to leave it in default Normal mode because it delivers the best blend of performance and efficiency. Eco dulls the driving experience, while Sport is best left for short bursts.

We achieved a decent 3.5 miles per kWh on our drive, and with a little restraint, we’d estimate a real-world range of close to 200 miles is possible – more in-city driving.

> The biggest EV revelation of 2022? Read our review of the MG4

Sadly, there are no paddles on the steering wheel to adjust brake regeneration, but you can flick the gear selector to B-mode if you want more aggressive brake regen. However, don’t go expecting a one-pedal drive.

Topping up the battery unit of the Vauxhall Corsa Electric is easy. If you have a home wall box it will charge in 7.5 hours, and if you can find a rapid 100kW charger it will take just 30 minutes for a 0-80% boost.

Vauxhall Corsa Electric rear seats

Vauxhall Corsa Electric – Handling

Pleasantly refined on all but the poorest surfaces, the Corsa Electric’s steering is light and quick, making it ideal for city driving. It also handles well and feels planted. And, despite being fairly stiff, the suspension does a good job of soaking up the lumps and bumps encountered in everyday driving.

It’s not the kind of car that you’re going to want or need to take to the limit, but for the record, it stays flat in more challenging corners and the grip is good. This is because the batteries are low-slung and the weight distribution is nicely balanced.

> “A proper pocket rocket”: Read our review of the fun and funky MINI Electric

Safe and predictable, rather than fun, the Vauxhall Corsa Electric is an easy car to live with.

Finally, and it may have just been our test car, we found the brakes were on the aggressive side. They may well ease in after a few thousand miles, but lack of progressive braking is an issue with many EVs.

> Buy new: 2023 Vauxhall Corsa Electric

> Lease: 2023 Vauxhall Corsa Electric

Vauxhall Corsa Electric – Verdict

Vauxhall has done just enough to keep the Corsa Electric in the game for a few years to come. The combination of its fresh face, longer range, better tech and overall simplicity means it’s still an ideal entry-level EV. However, it is facing stiff competition from newer rivals – some of which are cheaper, offer more space and practicality – and put a smile on your face.

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Vauxhall has done just enough to keep the Corsa Electric in the game for a few years to come. The combination of its fresh face, longer range, better tech and overall simplicity means it’s still an ideal entry-level EV. However, it is facing stiff competition from newer rivals – some of which are cheaper, offer more space and practicality – and put a smile on your face.
Show More

Quality

3.00/5

Performance

3.00/5

Range

3.50/5

Comfort

3.50/5

Dynamics

3.00/5

Fast Facts

Price

£35,475

Battery Capacity

54 kWh

WLTP Range

222-
246 miles

Maximum Power

134-
154 bhp

Torque

192 lb-ft

0-60

8.2-
8.9 secs

Top Speed

91 mph

Boot Capacity

267-
1081 litres

Pros and Cons

Looks more stylish
Easy to drive
Reasonably priced
Average range
Basic interior
Cosy in the back
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