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Vauxhall Corsa Hatchback 2000-2004


quoteThe third generation Corsa or simply Corsa C, as it is known in Germany, appeared in 2000 as the first car to have been built on the new Gamma platform that was the result of collaboration between General Motors and Fiat. Later the same platform spawned cars like Vauxhall Meriva, Vauxhall Tigra and Fiat Grande Punto.quote

Pros and Cons:

  • Low prices
    Engines with decent economy
  • Early models are unsafe
    A very short list of equipment

bullet Exterior and Interior

The Corsa is beautifully built for a small car and still looks fresh despite being developed in the 20th century. The famous central crease on the hood is now widely copied by other small car designers. The Corsa has a low drag coefficient and is aesthetically appealing. Just like the previous Corsa generation, the new car came in various bright colours. Depending on the country and market, the owner could choose from over 250 different colours. This, in addition to the positive reviews by journalists, helped attract younger people to the previously un-cool Vauxhall Corsa.

Although quite quirky on the outside, the interior design has very little going for it. The inside looks dull, is of mediocre quality and lacks any extras. You could forgive such shortage of kit if it only affected the basic trim. However, as we move up through the trim levels, the situation doesn't get much better. Forget about basic creature comforts, a passenger airbag would be nice and in this day and age is a surprise it isn't included. If you're looking at an older Corsa, you'd have to choose one of the top trim levels to get two airbags. Hence (and also because of some structural issues), the car was awarded only 3 stars in the EuroNCAP crash tests although it was re-tested again in 2002 gaining an extra star. However, the Corsa is still considered an unsafe car from several perspectives.

The boot space at 260litres is the class standard, but the partly folding the seats will help you to get a bigger luggage space of 1060-litres.

bullet Engines

You can choose from four petrol engines, the 1.0-litre 57bhp, 1.2-litre 73bhp, 1.4-litre 88bhp, 1.8-litre 123bhp and a 1.7-litre 64vhp diesel engine.

bullet Performance and Economy

The only diesel engine option that's available with the Corsa is rather cumbersome and smoky. For its 1.7-litre displacement it only offers 88bhp and although it is reasonably efficient with around 60mpg, very few will actually choose a used Vauxhall diesel.

Performance of the smallest engines is comparably disappointing to the diesel engine. The tiny 3-cylinder 1.0-litre engine makes the Corsa one of the cheapest cars on the market, offering 51mpg and placing the car in insurance group 3. You'll be hardly spending any money on this, so if you're only driving in the city and don't anticipate accelerating to decent speeds or going out for a joyride, there's no reason why you wouldn't want to enjoy the savings offered by the bottom-of-the-range Corsa.

The 1.4-litre engine seems like the sensible choice that enables the car perform well on motorways too. It will deliver 35mpg, but is only available from the 6th trim level called "Comfort". This means that a Corsa that comes with the 1.4-litre engine will be include an increased level of equipment.

bullet What it's like to Drive

If you take the pretty face away, there's not much beneath the surface. The car is still quite good to drive in the city or on very smooth roads, but even then it lacks excitement. There's nothing particularly bad about the drive quality, though. At high speeds it might feel a little wobbly and noisy, but this is no worse than its competitors. The Corsa makes a good first car because it's easy to drive, easy to park and when you finally switch to another car, you'll appreciate far more.

bullet Faults and Repairs

They are reasonably reliable if maintained properly and not driven outside the city. The only time a Corsa will continue to works well is if the maintenance schedules have been observed strictly. That's why it is advisable to avoid cars that have had more than 3 owners or cars that are visibly run down. A Corsa that has fallen into disrepair are very difficult and expensive to bring back to life. Many major parts cost more than the actual value of the car, especially the Easytronic automatic transmission. On a positive side, Vauxhall dealer network is not overly expensive when it comes to repairing and checking the car.

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