2.11.2010 Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFlex review
Vauxhall's usefully spacious Corsa supermini is a familiar sight on our roads and popular with buyers. But you need to be careful if trying to pick the most economical ecoFlex version as there are so many of them, petrols and diesels.
Only the 94bhp 1.3-litre CDTI diesel three-door beats the 100g/km barrier bringing exemption from road tax.
Review by Russell Bray for WhatGreenCar.com
Surprisingly lively thanks to a new turbocharger with variable geometry and changed software which has put the power of the 16-valve four-cylinder up engine by 20bhp to 94bhp at 4,000rpm. Add a hefty 140 lbs ft of torque from 1,750rpm and changed gear ratios and there's enough for 0-60mph in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 110mph. There is more of a turbo 'kick' than before but that's not an unpleasant characteristic.
More entertaining than before. The Corsa has always been a mature car but the ecoFLEX uses stiffer sports springs to make the car lower so it slips through the air more efficiently. For this variant the shock absorbers are softer but the anti-roll bars stiffer to tame body roll in corners. Combined with adjustments to the electrically assisted power steering the Corsa 95 ecoFLEX CDTi is now more responsive and involving to drive.
Vauxhall's clean contoured supermini looks good in most colours and is easy to live with helped by wide opening doors and a high reaching tailgate. There's good headroom even if you are tall but it will save a lot of aggro going for the five-door version if you frequently carry rear seat passengers as folding and moving forward the front seats is difficult one handed. Boot space increases from 285 litres to 1,050 with rear seats folded. Length 3999mm. Width 1713mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Effective and easy to use rather than gaudy or fancy is the order of the day with large, clearly labelled switches and buttons, most of which are lit at night.
Steering column adjusts for rake and reach and driver's seat for height as well as fore and aft. Enough space in the back for quite tall passengers and excellent front seat room.
Subjectively I thought this more powerful model sounded noisier than before but perhaps I was going quicker.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel Economy: Urban 64.2mpg, extra-urban 91.1mpg, combined 78.5mpg, which translates a fuel cost of around 7p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions of 94g/km put the Corsa ecoFLEX in band A with zero annual road tax. Insurance group 8. Warranty covers 100,000 miles.
A variable turbocharger has made this new engine both more powerful and more economical even without the stop-start system due at the end of the year and of most benefit to those who spend a lot of time in traffic. Under such conditions fuel thirst could be reduced by a further five to ten per cent. Change up a gear light encourages drivers to take advantage of the engine's low speed torque and use lower revs more of the time.
Power steering and central locking standard but air conditioning an extra £500. Electric windows and door mirrors also standard but metallic paint is £435. Electronic Stability System is £455 extra but you would have to be pretty clumsy/very unlucky to crash such a low powered car. Test Corsa also fitted with Bluetooth phone connection (£305) and satellite navigation with radio, CD player and MP3 connection (£975).
Model tested: Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFlex Exclusiv
Body-style: Three door supermini hatch
Engine/CO2: 94bhp 1.3 litre turbo-diesel / 94 gCO2/km
Trim grades: Expression, S, Exclusiv, SE, SXi, SRi, VXR
On-road price: ecoFLEX models from £9,995 for 1-litre petrol three-door. Test car 1.3 Exclusiv £14,240
Warranty: 100,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 3.5 STARS
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