March 2011

Vauxhall Corsa SRi 1.7 CDTi Ecoflex

Bold grille is most obvious exterior change

March 2011

picture of car from the frontpicture of car from the rearpicture of car interiorpicture of car in detail

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5 stars


  • Welcome exterior updates
  • Cabin remains good quality and more pleasing too
  • Good mix of performance and economy from largest diesel
  • Good value for money


  • Thick rear pillar reduces visibility
  • Some interior colours cause windscreen reflections
  • Cars on smaller wheels can look weedy
  • Indicators can be counter intuitive at times

Vauxhall's Corsa has become part of the nation's road furniture over the last two decades thanks to its popularity. Following on from mechanical updates in 2010 the latest version has received numerous specification upgrades as well as a number of visual enhancements.

On first acquaintance the Corsa is a clear subtle evolution over the outgoing model, with the exterior changes centred around details rather than any major metalwork changes. The most obvious difference is at the front where a new grille similar to that on the Astra is finished in chrome-effect, while much bolder headlamps first seen on the Meriva give a more modern look. A wider choice of exterior colours are also available including some vibrant shades, plus there are a range of new alloy wheel designs.

Changes inside are centred on materials and equipment, both of which are improved significantly. Although the basic architecture is the same, the quality of finish on the dashboard is improved with a different material. There are also more options in terms of seat trim and coloured finishes on the dashboard itself increasing the amount of personalisation while helping to brighten the cabin.

A further change of significance is the availability of a new multimedia system called 'Touch and Connect'. Available on all bar the two entry-level models, it includes touch-screen colour display controlling satellite navigation, MP3-player and mobile phone connectivity and audio systems.

The latest generation Corsa continues to offer a number of practical features not seen on many rivals, such as the integrated bicycle carrier and adaptive lighting. Another unusual feature new to the latest Corsa is an optional steering wheel heater that electronically warms the wheel to 34 degrees Centigrade at the push of a button.

Our verdict on the Vauxhall Corsa SRi 1.7 CDTi Ecoflex

In what amounts to a number of small changes, Vauxhall has boosted the Corsa's kerbside and showroom appeal whilst remaining strong in terms of driving dynamics, value and running costs. Although new rivals may have an edge in terms of freshness to market, its all round appeal will be hard to ignore.


A strong factor in favour of the Corsa is the impressive running costs, due to a combination of fuel economy, low emissions and low insurance groupings.

Space and practicality

Coming in under four metres in length, the new Corsa makes the most of its interior space thanks to the high roof design. Passengers front and rear are well accommodated, and there are a number of useful storage spaces throughout the cabin. Additionally, the boot can be had with a split floor, and a built-in bike rack is also available as an option.

Controls and display

The minor cabin changes have enhanced the clear dashboard layout, and the Corsa's cabin is more attractive than ever. The instrument displays and graphics are clear and easy to read, and the optional sat-nav unit is simple to operate.


For a car of this size the Corsa boasts impressive comfort levels, with comfortable if narrow seats, good ride quality and low noise levels for a car of this class. Engine noise does increase when revved, but the overall level of comfort is good.

Car security

All models bar the entry Expression model come with remote central locking, while an engine immobiliser is fitted as standard to all models.

Car safety

The Corsa has a number of features contributing towards safety, and as well as ABS, airbags and seat belt pretensioners, the Corsa also sets a high standard for pedestrian safety thanks to the carefully designed of the front end of the car.

Driver appeal

The Corsa retains a sprightly feel out on the road, making the most of its dimensions and weight. It is lively in town with responsive steering and keen engines, while the ride is well composed on poor roads. When driven with enthusiasm it is safe yet quite entertaining, and grips well. Most buyers will find it a pleasing car to drive.

Family car appeal

A five-door Corsa would make an effective family car, with sufficient space to cope with a reasonably sized family. Even taller children should have sufficient legroom in the rear, while still retaining adequate space in the boot.

First car appeal

The Corsa does make an excellent choice for a new driver, and many thousands have taken their first drive behind the wheel of one. This more sporty SRi version is even more appealing but unlikely to attract sky-high insurance premiums.

Quality and image

The Corsa sets a high standard of quality, with a pleasing feel to the cabin and an overall sharpness of design. This will inevitably help its image, which is already strong thanks to its popularity, its youth appeal and its common use as a driving school vehicle.


A tall roofline makes it easier for passengers to gain entry to the Corsa, for both front and rear seats. Five door models have good access, and three-door models are helped by tilting and sliding seats, although the gap is still relatively narrow.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

Although the standard system offers decent sound quality, the upgraded Touch and Go system offers increased audio performance with sat-nav and many connectivity options at a relatively modest price and therefore is a sensible choice to make.

Colours and trim

Much effort has been put in to make the Corsa more appealing, and the greater range of bright exterior and interior colours help to lift its appearance. The upgrade in trim quality is welcome too, as even small cars such as this are subject to much more scrutiny from discerning buyers.


The Corsa is an easy car to park thanks to its relatively compact dimensions and electric power steering, although the chunky rear pillars can restrict the view through the rear of the car.

Spare wheel

Steel full size spare wheel fitted beneath the boot floor.

Range information

Six engine options: 1.0-litre petrol (64bhp), 1.2-litre petrol (83bhp), 1.4-litre petrol (98bhp), 1.3-litre diesel (73bhp and 94bhp) and 1.7-litre diesel (128bhp). All petrol engines come with a five-speed manual gearbox as does the smaller output diesel, while the higher output 1.3-litre and the 1.7-litre diesel get a six-speed gearbox as standard. An automated manual gearbox is available on the 1.2-litre petrol, with a conventional automatic available on the 1.4-litre petrol. Trim levels are Expression, S, Exclusiv, SE, SXi, SRi and VXR.

Alternative cars

Renault Clio Renewed favourite is bigger, refined and comfortable

Ford Fiesta Ageing but still fun to drive

Kia Rio Budget option is packed with kit and good value

Volkswagen Polo High on quality, less impressive to drive

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