Vauxhall Corsa 10

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A practical and versatile car, the Vauxhall Corsa is one of the most popular vehicles on UK roads. With a twenty year long history behind it, it continues to go from strength to strength today.

A mix of practicality, affordability and fun, it is a car whose appeal spans generations. The economical supermini market may be a hotly competitive one, but the Corsa does well to stand out as one of the leading small cars on the market.

Since its second generation - when it was first launched in the UK under the Corsa name - the Vauxhall Corsa has been one of the most popular cars in not only the supermini market, but the UK market. Now in its fourth generation, it remains a class leader.

The Corsa performs well as an all-round small car, so its success is easy to understand. Being cheap to buy and run, it is popular among young drivers looking for affordability, but there is also a refinement and maturity to the drive, which lifts it above some of its competitors and widens its appeal. Design-wise the older models have dated noticeably, but the more recent variants are modern, if still not the most eye catching.

With drivers of all ages and temperaments, the efficiency is undoubtedly one of its strongest aspects. In particular the 2010 1.3CDTi Ecoflex, which offers returns of around 80mpg and features a start/stop system that keeps CO2 emissions under 100g/km, making it one of the most affordable cars to run in an already very affordable car class. In earlier generations such as the Corsa C, efficiency is again good, and while the CO2 emissions remain above 100g/km, the mpg returns generally remain between 30 to 60, depending on engine model. The smaller engines (1.0 and 1.2), are good for city driving, but do suffer a bit on the motorway. If you aim to clock up a lot of motorway miles the 1.4 petrol, or the 2004 1.3 CDTi is probably the best compromise between performance and affordability. There is also the hot hatch option in the form of the VXR, which boasts a turbocharged 1.6 litre engine.

Space is good in the later generations, particularly the Corsa C and D, which offer similar space for passengers as well as the driver, and luggage room ranging between 280 and 1,000 litres depending on whether the rear seats are folded or not. This space and economy places it well within the top bracket of superminis in terms of practicality.

Ride is consistently good in Corsas, and unlike others in its class, improves with each subsequent generation. While this doesn't mean that they are the most lively in their class, they are mature and refined, offering a smooth ride and good handling. Along with its low running costs and affordability on the used market, the Corsa is a strong choice in the supermini class, as shown by its consistent appearance in top selling cars lists.

The Vauxhall Corsa was first launched in the UK under the Nova name in 1983, and is now one of the most popular superminis on the road.

VXR styling kit including roof spoiler and instrument panel, body coloured, heated door mirrors, tyre inflation kit in lieu of spare wheel, driver's passenger's front, side and curtain airbags, Recaro shell-backed sports front seats with Morrocana-trimmed side bolsters and integral head restraints, air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, radio/CD player.

Vauxhall Corsas are reliable cars with strong engines. Have a look out for a few of these commonly found faults and you should be able to spot a bargain.

  • Check the exterior of the car for rust and corrosion, particularly the older models. Areas to focus on include the wheel arches and the doors.
  • Have a look at the tyres and the exhaust to make sure there is no wear and tear - look out for any breaks or leaks on the exhaust.
  • Check the accompanying documentation to see if the car has received a full service history. It's worth checking the cam belt in particular, which should be changed every 40k miles.
  • Take the car out for a test drive and check whether the steering is heavy or noisy. If it is this could indicate that it is faulty and could require replacing.
  • Apply the brakes while lightly holding the steering wheel to see if it pulls in one direction (which would mean one side are failing).
  • Corsa handbrakes are sometimes known to lack power, so check that this is in sufficient working order before agreeing to hand over anything.
  • Some Corsas have had problems with gear linkage. To check this, put it in first gear and move the gearstick around, checking for excessive movement. If there is substantial movement then it is likely that the linkage is on its way out.

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