The Corsa has always been one of the best selling cars in the UK, but it has never reviewed well, which just goes to show what us journalist know about cars! It turns out that we weren’t the only people to think that the Corsa could be better, as one of the first decisions made by the PSA group when it bought Opel was to can the new Corsa and start again with the Peugeot 208 platform. So was that the right decision and can the Corsa finally satisfy journalists and the great British public alike?
The first significant thing that adopting the PSA platform delivered was drivetrain flexibility. It is designed to accept petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric and that could be a massive benefit in a market that is transitioning. It also delivers a car that is lighter and has the potential to be more involving than previous Corsas.
The ability to swallow a battery allows Vauxhall to package a 50 kWh pack, although you do loose a little boot space with 267 litres on offer rather than 309 litres. AC charging is taken care of via the standard 11 kW on board charger which is more than adequate as all home chargepoints and most public chargepoints are 7 kW anyway.
Where the Corsa-e scores bonus points is on the DC Rapid charging front where it can accept 100 kW which is very unusually for a Supermini. This means that at compatible Ultra Rapid chargers the Vauxhall will get you back on the road quicker than rivals, and it is fully compatible with the more common 50 kW Rapids too, so there are no downsides. We think Vauxhall has got it spot on by providing 11 kW AC and 100 kW DC charging as standard.
In order to get the best out of the system there are 3 drive modes to choose from; Normal which is errr normal, Sport which provides enhanced performance but reduces range by at least 10% and Eco which reduces performance but can deliver up to 40% better range than Sport. On the official tests the Corsa-e managed 222 miles which is good but not great from a 50 kWh battery which highlights the one downside of not having a bespoke EV chassis.
The Corsa-e has a sensible range, accepts 100 kW Ultra Rapid charging and can hit 30 mph in 2.8 seconds which makes it ideally suited to urban driving. The rather big elephant in the room is that it cost nearly twice as much as the cheapest petrol Corsa, which lets face it is a lot of money. More relevant is the fact that the Corsa-e is uncomfortably close to the price of Small Family EV’s.
So who is the Corsa-e for? Well if you want a car no bigger than a Supermini and you don’t want a Renault Zoe, it makes a lot of sense. Just make sure you try the Peugeot e-208 before making your decision. If you can live with something a bit bigger it is worth trying Small Family alternatives too which can offer more space and range for similar money.
Estimated real world range: 170 – 200 miles
Official range: 222 miles
Official electricity consumption: 166 Wh/km
Battery pack: 50 kWh (gross) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty
Recharge time: 240v 29 hours; 7 kW charge approx 7 hours 30 minutes; Rapid CCS 50 kW 1 hour 10 mins (0 – 100%) 45 minutes (15-80%); Ultra Rapid CCS 100 kW 50 minutes (0 – 100%) 30 minutes (15-80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.