The Vauxhall Corsa is now more than 40 years old, making it one of the longest-lasting car models in the world.
2023 is the year of the facelifted and revised Corsa, and the most exciting model in this range is the all-new Corsa Electric, which comes with more range, more power, a smarter interior and a new exterior look.
This waves goodbye to a front grille and welcomes the black visor proudly displaying the Griffin badge that all other Vauxhall models now feature.
The Corsa is by far Vauxhall’s biggest seller and it has been for years, so getting the formula right for this electric version was vital for the brand. With the brand aiming to offer a fully electric lineup from 2028, the new Corsa Electric is the next piece in the puzzle following the success of the first Corsa-e, which launched in 2019.
Reasons to buy
Practical supermini with a 267-litre boot
Sleek, modern looks
Written by Ben Welham
One of the main differences with the new Corsa model – aside from the revised front end that now has the brand’s black visor design language – is the interior. Vauxhall went to great lengths to ensure the cabin of its best-selling model is one of its best features.
The new Corsa can be had in three different trim levels: Design; GS; and Ultimate. The entry-level Design trim is more than enough for most and includes rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control and a lane departure warning system.
Move up to the top-spec Ultimate and you'll benefit from all the above plus adaptive LED Matrix headlights, adaptive cruise control, sat-nav, a panoramic rear-view camera, a smartphone wireless charger and much more. If you have the cash to spend, this is the one to go for.
The first thing you'll notice when stepping inside the new car is the steering wheel, which has been totally redesigned.
Now, it’s more ergonomic than before, and it feels great in your hands. It’s also been given a general spruce-up with some new buttons, giving it a more premium look and feel.
As you glance to your right, you’ll notice the all-new 10-inch touchscreen display that come as standard in all models and has a smooth and responsive multimedia system. This makes it easy to use its built-in maps and music functions.
Plus, there are physical A/C dials below, which proves Vauxhall has been listening to what customers really want instead of hiding these controls deep in the infotainment screen menus like other manufacturers.
Below this, there's one USB-C port and two in the rear to keep all passengers occupied on those longer motorway journeys.
It’s also got a comfortable driving position with plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and seat itself, so finding the perfect driving position is a breeze.
With this being a small supermini, you may think it's harder to drive if you’re more than six feet tall, but the seat goes fairly low and the adjustability means you should be fine.
There's also a massage function in Ultimate trim models, which is always nice after a long day at work.
In front of the driver is a new seven-inch digital gauge cluster that shows all the relevant driving information from the car’s speed, range, driving mode and whether the battery is driving the car or gaining power from regenerative braking.
This is a common feature among most new electric cars, but it’s a nice addition to the Corsa to bring the cabin up to date.
To help ensure the new Corsa is running the latest software, it’s now fitted with over-the-air (OTA) updates, which means your car – when connected to the internet – will update as your phone would, so you'll always be up to date.
Vauxhall went to town to ensure the cabin of its best-selling model is one of its best features
Getting behind the wheel of the new Vauxhall Corsa Electric isn’t too dissimilar to a kids’ go-kart in that it’s small and electric.
It really is one of the easiest cars you’ll ever drive thanks to its electric motor producing either 156hp or 136hp, which is mated to a 54kWh battery offering up to 246 miles of range (WLTP).
Throughout our testing, this real-world range estimate stayed true and very accurate, unlike some EVs where the actual figures can be way off.
There are three different drive modes, starting with Eco, which is what you’d use most of the time as it’s the most efficient. Normal mode gives you a more sensitive throttle response and is ideal for town and city driving.
Flick it into Sport mode and you get much sharper acceleration, more direct steering and a red graphic on the driver’s display.
This setting allows you to launch it from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds. For reference, the standard petrol Corsa does it in 9.6 seconds.
It’s surprisingly competent around corners too, despite weighing 1,544kg. Testing it around the German Rheinhessen vineyards near the Opel factory, we were able to get a feel for its cornering capabilities, and for a family supermini, it’s more than adequate.
But nobody’s buying an electric Corsa for that, so what’s it like for everyday driving?
Whether you’re driving on the motorway or through a town, the Corsa Electric won’t disappoint.
Its steering is smooth and direct, as is the power delivery – especially in the softer Eco setting. Plus, unlike many modern cars, its lane keep assist is easy to switch off, should you want to.
Speaking of clever tech, the car’s regenerative braking is a real strong point. This system pushes energy back into the battery when you lift your foot off the accelerator and can be increased to your liking.
This, in certain cases, will mean you lose little to no range on some journeys – namely cities and towns where you’re often slowing down behind other cars in traffic.
But when the battery does need to be topped up, the new Corsa Electric can use 100kW rapid charging, which replenishes the battery from 0-80% in just 30 minutes.
It will, of course, take longer at home, but it’s often cheaper and more convenient. When on the go, however, making use of this very fast charging is a no-brainer.
Being a supermini, you wouldn’t ordinarily think it’s very practical at all, but the Corsa Electric offers a surprising amount of space.
At the rear, you’ll find a 267-litre boot, which is slightly smaller than the petrol car’s due to the battery technology and charging cables. It’s still plenty for most people’s weekly food shop or school run, however.
The rear seats are roomy too, offering enough room for up to three people, but – like with all hatchbacks – it’s best to stick to two for longer journeys.
Throughout the cabin, there are plenty of nifty storage solutions that are large enough for bottles of water and snacks.
In the Europe-spec car we drove, there was plenty of glovebox storage space – almost rivalling a supercar’s boot – but we don’t think this will make it to the right-hand-drive UK version.
The new Vauxhall Corsa Electric starts at £32,445 for the entry-level Design trim, then £34,080 for the GS and £38,585 for the top-spec Ultimate model.
Once these start cropping up on the used car markets, they'll be more affordable, but even brand-new, they’re cracking value for money – especially since most UK buyers use car finance anyway.
When it comes to running costs, the Corsa Electric is like every other electric car. Charging costs will vary depending on where you plug it in, but as a rule of thumb, it’ll cost 30p/kWh to charge at home and between 54p and 76p per kWh to use a public fast or rapid charger.
Other costs such as insurance and general maintenance costs will vary depending on the driver, but the latter shouldn’t be a problem thanks to Vauxhall’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty and its battery warranty of eight years and 100,000 miles – giving you added peace of mind, even with second-hand examples.
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Vauxhall took a serious risk when electrifying its most popular model. It could’ve gone either way, but the Corsa Electric has more than exceeded our expectations.
If you’re a fan of the ordinary Corsa of any generation, then the 2023 facelift is for you. And if you’re not quite ready for a full-on battery electric vehicle (BEV), then Vauxhall will also sell you a petrol and soon a 48V hybrid for the first time.
With the demise of the Fiesta, the Corsa has not positioned itself well in the market, making an overall package that’s tough to beat.
This review was