What’s it like?
There’s certainly little to be intimidated by in this Corsa-e. It’s a Corsa, after all, smart enough but a little generic in style, even if much improved over its predecessor, which seemed to be on sale forever. Still, it’s a shame that Vauxhall has chiselled away some of the flair of its Peugeot sibling, one of the best-looking and best-proportioned superminis on sale today.
That goes for the inside, too, which you would consider a bit plain even before seeing what Peugeot does with the same architecture.
Some subtle ‘e’ badging and bespoke alloy wheels are all there is externally to tell an electric Corsa from a conventional one, but the changes are more drastic under the skin, where the front and rear tracks have been widened, wheelbase marginally lengthened, front suspension beefed up and rear torsion beam moved back slightly – all to accommodate the H-shaped 50kWh lithium ion battery pack in the floor.
That battery defines so much about the Corsa-e. That’s an obvious statement when you consider the way its power is delivered. There’s the typical shove off the line when you first accelerate, although it’s not quite as brisk or as unruly as some rivals. Performance tails off after about 50-60mph, but the real-world shove up to that point is as much as you’d ever need in most conditions. The average Corsa buyer will think they’ve ended up in a VXR with the mute button on by accident, particularly when they activate the kickdown.
But the battery also greatly influences the ride quality and the handling. The extra weight (some 345kg) actually helps the ride compared with the standard Corsa, which feels quite nobbly. The whole car seems more settled, with the 10%-lower centre of gravity of the Corsa-e also helping here. Although the ride is better, some of the handling verve of the standard Corsa is lost on turn-in, but there’s a nice weighting to the steering that wins you over in the end when you get used to it, despite it feeling really quite springy at first.
As for its EV vitals, a real-world range of 200 miles is to be believed in the summer on mixed road conditions driven in the ‘B’ mode that turns on a nicely judged regenerative braking system. A home charger is included in the list price and the Corsa-e supports 100kW DC rapid-charging as standard, too.