Hot little Vaxuhall Corsa VXR huge fun

PUBLISHED: 11:05 18 October 2015

Vauxhall Corsa VXR combines punch and practicality in a performance package.

Vauxhall Corsa VXR combines punch and practicality in a performance package.


Vauxhall’s refreshed Corsa has been given the full VXR treatment – and it’s better than ever. Matt Joy puts this pocket-rocket through its paces.

What’s new?

The current Corsa has been given a comprehensive update, with a refreshed exterior, new cabin, engines and suspension transforming the baby Vauxhall into a real contender. Now the hot VXR model crowns the range.

And it benefits from even more updates. The 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine gets a little more power and torque, the suspension now uses clever two-stage dampers for less roll with a decent ride and there’s even a performance pack option that adds a limited-slip differential, even bigger brakes and its own suspension settings.

Vauxhall Corsa VXR

Price: Vauxhall Corsa VXR, £18,375 (£20,775 with Performance Pack)

Engine:1.6-litre, 202bhp, four-cylinder turbo petrol

Transmission: Six-speed manual gearbox driving front wheels

Performance: 0-60mph 6.5 seconds; top speed 143mph

MPG: 37.7 combined

CO2 emissions: 174g/km

Looks and image

You can’t have a hot hatch without the visual enhancements to show for it, and the Corsa VXR isn’t shy about it either. There are 18in alloy wheels, side skirts, a rear spoiler and a deep front bumper, as well as a ‘nostril’ on the bonnet to help feed the hungry engine. It’s a very colour sensitive car – the eye-catching Grasshopper Green probably won’t be everyone’s choice but it looks suitably aggressive.

Space and practicality

The Corsa VXR is a small car but practical enough despite the hike in performance. Front Recaro seats mean rear legroom is fractionally reduced, but it’s acceptable. Three-door only means getting into the back needs a little effort, but there’s useful storage in the cabin and a 285-litre boot.

Behind the wheel

The Corsa VXR’s ride is firm but your bones aren’t rattled by a harsh ride. Those clever dampers do a fine job and, when driven normally, it is refined, quiet and generally well-behaved.

Press a little harder and the VXR reveals the other side to its personality. Go for the performance pack and the limited-slip differential has a big effect on how it behaves, allowing you to power out of corners with the front wheels working hard, although it needs a firm hand.

The Corsa VXR is enormous fun. The engine is keen and responsive, the brakes reassuring and the handling sweet and two-stage stability control allows you freedom to play with the reassurance of a safety net.

Value for money

Standard equipment is generous – Recaro seats, IntelliLink infotainment screen, heated windscreen, cruise control, air conditioning and alarm while the performance pack adds the bigger brakes, differential, retuned dampers and stickier tyres for £2,400.

Who would buy one?

Young enthusiasts will love its performance, handling and price tag but it will also appeal to older drivers who want a small car with a good specification and turn of speed.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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