Seeing the all new Vauxhall Corsa sat in the parking lot is not in itself a remarkable experience. The outside, though smart, shows no major changes from the previous incarnations of the car and the interior is modern, functional (a little underwhelming) and very similar to previous models from the American giant.
But under the bonnet, and inside the gearbox, some very clever things have been happening. So clever, in fact, that Vauxhall have made pains to promote the Ecoflex Corsa as “the greenest Vauxhall of all time”.
Why so green?
As I said, a lot of work has gone into designing both the engine and the gearbox to squeeze out every one of those precious miles per gallon. Though second gear is a little shorter (which does make the Corsa very nippy around town) both fourth and fifth have been lengthened to encourage the driver to progress rapidly through the gears. This gives the supermini a combined cycle of 70mpg with 85mpg reported for out of town driving.
Vauxhall have also made subtle tweaks to the bodywork to make it both lighter and more aerodynamic.
Doesn’t green mean low performance?
Not at all. While electric and hybrid cars can suffer from performance issues, the Corsa is a full petrol powered car. The gearbox has been designed not only to return the maximum mpg but also with performance in mind, so while you can expect a relatively sluggish 74bhp (horsepower), you’ll find that the Corsa can more than hold its own both in town and on the motorway.
Sounds great, what’s the catch?
There are a couple of minor quibbles. What the engine makes up for with performance and green credentials, it loses somewhat by being a little too noisy for comfort. Unfortunately the cabin isn’t soundproofed enough for you to ignore the engine growl but it isn’t so loud that you couldn’t get used to it.
Also the emissions register at 105g/km mark. This is impressive but if Vauxhall had managed to get below 100g/km (like its rivals, the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo) then it would have been Road Tax exempt.
So what will it cost?
Well, while the Fiesta ECOnetic will get you free Road Tax, the basic model is more than £2,500 more than the Ecoflex Corsa. For your £11,295 you get a full electric kit, CD player and twin airbags. Plus the satisfaction of driving one of the greenest cars on the road.
Verdict: 3.5 / 5