Our latest Weekend Wheels suggestion had us shopping in the under £15,000 range in a bid to prove just how relatively little you can spend while having fun on four wheels. The Vauxhall Corsa GSi is known in the car community as a lukewarm hatchback, a three-door machine that’s sporty but not too hard to insure. For younger drivers or those on a tighter budget, it’s a brilliantly cheap(er) and cheerful way of injecting a little fun into your on-road experience. Case in point: this two-year-old GSi is available on cinch now for just £14,750 - a tad under our £15k cap, but read on for even more options under £10k!
For that – or an equally compelling monthly rate – you get a car painted in a racy shade of red that’s powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine producing 150hp. Vauxhall no longer builds the Corsa VXR, a red-blooded hot hatch that cost more and had 205hp, so the GSi now represents the top-rank model. And that’s great news for those who weren’t able to step up to the VXR rung, because it means the Corsa GSi comes with extra bragging rights.
Despite using a slightly less powerful engine, much of the VXR’s design has been carried into the GSi, starting with a black bonnet strip, 17-inch alloy wheels and a boot spoiler, so it looks the part. Inside, you’re given flashes of GSi sportiness via thicker bolstering on the seats (to hug your hips) and a stitching colour to contrast the fabrics, while the standard equipment is higher than normal. Included is a DAB radio infotainment system, cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Plenty to ensure you and your friends are well catered for on the road.
While the Corsa is small, and therefore very easy to drive, it does seat five and there’s enough space in the boot for a couple of suitcases. In the GSi, that functionality is accompanied by peppy performance, illustrated by an 8.9-second 0-62mph time. That’s certainly sprightly enough to keep new drivers entertained, while a manufacturer-quoted 38.5 miles per gallon average means you needn’t visit the petrol pump too often. Vauxhall’s little Corsa also weighs just over 1.2 tonnes (that’s light for a modern car with mod cons), so it handles well, too. That earns it weekend-worthy status.
Buyers at this end of the market are unquestionably well catered for, with the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208 two more great examples of similarly fun hatchbacks that can be had from under £10,000. But the Vauxhall Corsa GSi, as the top model in its range (which, by the way, also dips well below the £10,000 mark if you’d prefer to lower costs further), ought to feel pleasingly high rank to a young or budget-conscious driver. Whether it’s teenage kicks or pound-stretching motoring you’re after, the Vauxhall Corsa GSi has masses of potential for some weekend fun.