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Cool and Classy Corsa

07.05.2004 Diamond review

Small but perfectly formed


Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Value for Money

Road Handling



Fuel consumption


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If youíd asked me six months ago, what car I have, I would have replied:

ďA blue one.Ē

Now if you ask the same question, youíd get something along the lines of:

ďA 3 door Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 Sxi with twin airbagsÖ.Ē

Admittedly, I am not an expert on speed, revs per minute (or whatever they are) or abs (I thought that was some sort of muscle in your stomach), but since taking ownership of my beloved Corsa, I have become a lot more interested in cars in general.

I started looking for a replacement for my annoying Ford Fiesta, after the gearbox seized up on the way to an important meeting. I did some research and asked around at work for any ideas for a small, nippy car. Two of my friends recommended the Corsa, while others recommended the Toyota Yaris and the Ford Ka.

So off I went, spending all my weekends trawling around garage forecourts and perusing the local paper for a special deal. I visited the local Toyota garage, and almost fell in love with a Yaris until I opened the boot and found out how much space there lacked. My job involves outreach work, where a great deal of the resources I use are always in my boot. If Iíd purchased the Yaris, I would have had limited space to add my goodies.

I looked at a Ka and couldnít believe how small it was inside. I did want a small car, but not a miniature one! Then I nearly bought a Fiat Stilo, which looked absolutely gorgeous, but I was put off by friends and family, extolling the dreadfulness of all things Fiat. In short, I felt too embarrassed to buy it, even though it was a beautiful little car.

I was eventually drawn into the local Vauxhall garage in Newport after spying an advert in our local paper. They were offering a special deal that weekend, which included a free DVD player, mountain bike and Playstation 2 with every purchase! Always one for a freebie, off I went.

I instantly fell in love with my Corsa on the forecourt. Being a bit of a novice, and not realising what make or model or specifications it had, the deciding factor initially was the colour!!! How sad is that?

My Corsa was £7,495 and at the time was 6 months old with 1800 miles on the clock. It was used solely by the garage and had not had an owner to nurture it before. It came with a 2.5 year warranty and free AA coverage.

I took it for a test drive and was totally smitten. I hadnít been used to power steering, after my clapped out old H reg Fiesta, and this felt like a dream come true! I made an offer there an then, and the very nice man knocked £500 off the asking price, I was a very happy bunny! Although, after knocking so much off the price, I wasnít allowed the free stuff, so I went home empty handed. Boo, hiss.

So, here comes the technical stuff, and the tiny details, which made me love my Corsa (obviously some makes will be different, but I am only commenting on the model which I purchased):


My little baby is ultra blue and has a pearly coating, which makes it look very sleek. It came with alloy wheels, central locking and electric windows. Plus all the usual stuff like tyres, windows and lights!

The inclusion of central locking has been an extra exciting gadget for me, as all of my previous cars did not have this luxury. I struggled for years with a car in which the boot didnít work, and had to resort to using a piece of bamboo to hold the boot door up while I loaded the shopping, not an ideal situation. So, while some people class central locking as standard, this was absolute luxury to me.

There is a device on the roof which allows you to add a roof rack at a later date.


This is where I spend most of my time (obviously) and this is where all the little gadgets still do not fail to excite me! Iím sorry, that I havenít gone into specific details about petrol consumption, tyre pressures, and engine specifications, speed and the like, but I am a complete beginner, and would be totally out of my depth explaining these options. So, here goes:

 CD player
 Radio
 Dual airbags
 Leather steering wheel
 Buttons on the steering wheel which controls the radio and CD player
 Dimmer switch for the display panel (feel like a pilot with this gadget!)
 Windscreen washer which sprays water onto windscreen, then automatically wipes the window three times with the wipers (I was very impressed with this!)
 Display for times, date, outside temperature and what radio station you are tuned into
 Air vents
 Heating system
 Horn
 Heated rear window
 Heated mirrors
 Metal look gearstick
 Plus the usual brake, accelerator etc
 Height adjustable steering

My Corsa is three door, so the kids have to climb in the back via the front seat moving forwards, this is a slight disadvantage, and in retrospect, I would have got the five door if I had enough cash.

There is lots of room to accommodate three growing kids, but itís a bit of a squeeze with three adults in the back seat. However, the front two seats have ample room. I like to sit fairly close to the steering wheel, which means there is masses of space in the back.

The garage did not provide mats in the front, so these had to be bought as an extra. I went to Halfords for these though, which proved to be much cheaper. And there was no air conditioning on this model, which hasnít proved to be too much of an issue at the moment.

Boot space

While not huge, the Corsa does have adequate boot space. I can fit in two large, plastic toy boxes, a laptop and a small trolley suitcase, although this doesnít allow for shopping, so we have to put that in the back seat when we go to Tescos!


The Corsa is very smooth to drive, and not at all bumpy. I found this to be a problem with all of my other cars, and Iím not sure if this is down to age or not, but the Corsa is definitely a dream to drive along bumpy roads, as you can hardly feel the knocks and jolts.

At first the handbrake was a little stiff and rolled back if I didnít put it on fully, but this was just teething problems, and itís fine now.

One thing I will say that is a disadvantage, is the gearstick. It looks brilliant with its metallic finish, but itís quite stiff to actually put in gear sometimes. It hasnít been as smooth as the Fords I have had in the past. It does take some getting used to, and Iím not sure if this is endemic to the whole Corsa range or just my car. I will ask when it goes in for itís service in June.


Group 2 or 3 insurance, depending on specifications.

Other things I like about my Corsa

- I like the clever device which always makes the time right, so when the funny beeps go on the radio to indicate its 9am, the clock automatically changes.

- I like the little red button which shines when Iím running out of petrol.

- I like the device on the petrol cap which lets you put the cap on the door while filling up, so that you donít lose it.

- I like the device in the boot which you can hang your shopping bags onto, so that they donít spill over when you go too fast around a corner.

- I like the handle on the boot door which you pull down to close it, so your hands donít get messy by touching the door.

- I like the yellow colour co-ordinated compartments in the engine which indicate what you need to check, such as oil, water, break fluid and windscreen wash.


Overall I really love my car, and would not swap it for the world. Itís small, compact and does not eat the petrol, compared to other cars I have had. It suits my needs down to the ground. I donít need a sporty car, although the Corsa Sxi can be classed as sporty(ish).

I bought my car from Hartwells garage in Newport, however they do have garages throughout the UK and come under Network Q for used cars.


Prices range from £12,910 for a five door model to lower prices for second hand models. Currently I have seen an advertisement in magazines which state that a brand new Corsa (not an Sxi) is under £6,995 but this is the very basic model.

Thanks for reading.

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Comments about this review »

catsholiday 26.05.2009 18:25

Great review - Sue

inbetweendaysx 30.05.2007 18:23

packed with info, I want one now!

jaguarchallenge 25.05.2007 01:04

Excellent review, would consider buying!!

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Product Information Ľ

Manufacturer's product description

Vauxhall present the Corsa Design 1.2i 16v dualfuel 3dr Hatchback with 5 Speed Manual Gearbox, Front (FWD) running ...

Product details

Range Vauxhall Corsa
Range + Engine Type Corsa 1.2i, Corsa 1.2i 16v dualfuel, Corsa 1.2i 16v, Corsa 1.2 16v, Corsa 1.2, 1.2
Manufacturer Vauxhall


Listed on Ciao since 28/05/2001

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This review of Vauxhall Corsa SXi 1.2i has been rated:

"exceptional" by (5%):

  1. alexclare
  2. mark_allen71
  3. donf18

and a further member

"very helpful" by (88%):

  1. catsholiday
  2. Mitsudan
  3. chilipepper27

and 63 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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