Vauxhall Corsa-e review

The evergreen Vauxhall Corsa has been given a new lease of life, thanks to a pure-electric powertrain. But can it compete with talented rivals?

£27,665 - £31,160
Electric

Pros

  • Practical five-door body
  • Good real-world range
  • Drives quite well

Cons

  • No cable storage
  • Renault ZOE is better value
  • Three-phase charging costs extra
Car type Electric range Wallbox charge time Rapid charge time
Electric 209 miles 7hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW) 28mins (10-80%, 100kW)

For years, the Vauxhall Corsa has been a stalwart of UK driving schools and a favourite of young motorists enjoying their first taste of freedom behind the wheel. It's long been an affordable, no-nonsense sort of car, but the arrival of the latest generation sees it leap right to the front of the car industry's electrification revolution, with this pure-electric Corsa-e offered alongside conventional petrol and diesel-engined versions.

Of course, it's possible we wouldn't have an electric Corsa just yet, had Vauxhall and its German sister brand Opel not been taken over by Peugeot and Citroen's parent company the PSA Group in 2017. The buyout means both the internal-combustion and electric versions of the new Corsa are based on the same mechanical underpinnings as the Peugeot 208, Peugeot 2008 and DS 3 Crossback.

The electric Corsa-e isn't as affordable as its internal-combustion counterparts; the cheapest version costs over £27,000 after the government plug-in grant has been applied. That puts it in the company of some pretty accomplished rivals, such as the Honda e, MINI Electric and Renault ZOE, as well as larger and more practical offerings like the MG ZS EV and Nissan Leaf.

The Corsa-e is driven by a 134bhp electric motor, drawing power from a 50kWh battery. Maximum range in ideal conditions is 209 miles, but we'd expect to see more like 150-170 miles in real-world driving – which is much better than some of this car’s style-centric rivals. Performance is sprightly and it handles well; refinement is excellent, too.

By almost every measure, then, the Corsa-e is a fantastic small electric car. In fact, once you’ve stomached the high purchase price, it’s hard to argue with that real-world range and rock-bottom running costs. But ultimately, it’s that price that will put people off. There are cheaper but equally capable models on the market – while larger, plusher rivals aren’t far out of reach, either.

For a more detailed look at the Vauxhall Corsa-e, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...