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New Vauxhall Corsa-e ride review

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Vauxhall Corsa-e - front

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4 Oct, 2019 12:00pm Jonathan Burn

We hop into the passenger seat and go for a ride in the crucial new all-electric Vauxhall Corsa-e supermini

The latest Corsa, and in particular the all-electric Corsa-e, is one of the most important cars in Vauxhall’s history. And before this crucial new supermini arrives in showrooms at the beginning of next year, Auto Express has been invited into the passenger seat to take a closer look.

Our driver for the day is Thomas Wanke, Corsa global lead development engineer. “This is the most challenging car I have ever worked on at Vauxhall, it was very difficult,” Wanke tells us. Work only started on the Corsa in 2017 as Vauxhall/Opel was bought out by PSA, the owners of Citroen, DS and Peugeot. As such, engineers had only half the time they are usually granted to develop a car. “I hope I never have to go through that again,” Wanke added.

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Far from being half a job, this latest Corsa is the most technically advanced there has ever been; it’s the first Vauxhall that will be offered either as a petrol, diesel or fully electric model.

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Vauxhall Corsa-e - rear

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And it’s the Corsa-e we’re riding shotgun in here, although you wouldn’t know by looking at it. Aside from the aerodynamic 17-inch alloy wheels and smattering of ‘e’ badges’ it’s been designed intentionally to look like the conventional models.

From the passenger seat, it must be said, there is very little to learn about how the Corsa feels on the move, hampered chiefly by the ice-like flooring of our location.

However, it does give us an opportunity to inspect the finished cabin, and first impressions are pretty good. There are a few cheaper bits of plastic lurking on the tops of the doors but overall quality is a big step on from the current Corsa, and gives the supermini and much need ‘premium’ lift.

The 10-inch display on the dash is well integrated, rich in detail and very slick to operate. And, as you’d expect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on offer, too.

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The one thing that we can pick up from the passenger seat is the notable difference in performance the driving modes offer; the car starts in Normal mode by default, limiting the power to 110bhp and torque to 220Nm. Only when you toggle through to Sport is power upped to the 134bhp and torque to the 260Nm Vauxhall claims. The restrictions of our surroundings limits how quickly we can go but that immediacy of the throttle response is noticeable.

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Vauxhall Corsa-e - Johnny Burn

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Dropping to Eco mode reduces power to 82bhp; it will help maximise the car’s 205-mile range, or even exceed it, but the trade-off is rather lethargic performance.

Elsewhere, taking a seat in back the reveals there to be enough space for two adults but it’s no match for the SEAT Ibiza or Volkswagen Polo. The boot has the same usable space as a petrol or diesel Corsa but does without the underfloor storage, which is hardly a deal breaker.

We’ll be getting behind the wheel ourselves in November.

About Alex Ward

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