Vauxhall Corsa Electric new car review

£26,895 - £38,585
6.7out of 10

10 Second Review

Vauxhall's Corsa Electric is our market's best selling small EV. But it needed a bit more technology and a more fashionable vibe. Both of which the Griffin brand claims to have brought us with this mid-term update, which gives a sharper feel inside and out, plus an extra longer-range powertrain option.

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Detailed ratings

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Supermini-sized full-electric cars haven't generally been very credible to date, with one or two notable exceptions. But times are changing. Pretty soon, most volume brand manufacturers are going to be offering little EVs with the kind of driving range you once had to pay luxury money for. Vauxhall has found itself in the vanguard of this change, courtesy of Peugeot e-208-derived borrowed Stellantis Group technology. That was what first brought us an electric Corsa back in 2020, then badged the Corsa-e. Vauxhall changed the name to 'Corsa Electric' in 2022 and improved the driving range.
Then in mid-2023, brought us the much improved facelifted design we're looking at here, which gets a sharper design, a smarter, more digitalised interior, plus an extra powertrain option. Let's take a closer look.
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Range data

Max Speed (mph)9393
0-62 mph (s)8.28.2
Electric WLTP-Rated Driving Range (miles)221221
Length (mm)40604060
Width (mm)17651765
Height (mm)14331433
Boot Capacity (l)3091118
Power (ps)136156
Torque (lb ft)205260


Driving experience

In its original form, this electric Corsa offered a 50kWh battery powering a 136PS electric motor - and that powertrain combination continues in this updated model, offering 221 miles of range. But Corsa Electric customers can also now choose a more sophisticated 51kWh battery paired with a more powerful 156PS motor, this set-up boosting EV range to 248 miles. Either way, expect moderately rapid performance, with 62mph dispatched in under 9 seconds.
There's the usual single-speed auto transmission you get with EVs. And like all electric vehicles, this one develops all its torque at once and simply hurls itself away from rest (the 30mph mark is reached in just 2.1s and 60mph is crested in only 7.6s), disguising the fact that (also like all EVs) this Zero Emissions variant has a bit of a weight problem - that drivetrain adds over 300kgs of bulk. That extra weight arguably helps the Corsa Electric though, when it comes to ride quality; you'll feel things like speed humps keenly but at speed on the open road, it handles tarmac tears a little better than its combustion cousins.
Of course, you certainly won't achieve anything like the range figures we've quoted if you get anywhere near this EV's quoted 93mph top speed. Or if you habitually drive your Corsa Electric in the 'Sport' setting that'll be necessary to release to full 136PS power output just mentioned. Remember too that the quoted range figures require engagement of a somewhat restrictive 'Eco' mode that with the 136PS version drops power output right down to 83PS.
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Design and build

Visually, this electric Corsa is virtually identical to the combustion-engined version. Which means that like the petrol variant, this updated Corsa Electric now gets the brand's distinctive 'Vizor'-style front grille, a single solid black panel with a restyled Grifin badge. That panel's flanked by slightly more squared-off slimline LED headlights which on top variants can feature the brand's 'IntelliLux matrix pixel tech. As before, it all sits on Peugeot 208 underpinnings, which means the Stellantis Group's 'CMP' 'Common Modular Platform' and body panels fashioned from a range of high-strength steels.
Inside with this updated model, the infotainment system has been upgraded to a 10-inch screen that runs a more sophisticated user interface powered by Qualcomm's 'Snapdragon Cockpit' platform. Wireless 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring is now included, as is 'Connected 3D' navigation, over-the-air software updates and "Hey Vauxhall" voice control. The 7-inch digital instrument screen has also been improved, with sharper graphics: and a wireless charging mat is being offered for the first time. Other cabin changes include fresh upholstery choices, a redesign for the steering wheel and gear selector - and a revised high-resolution wide-view rear camera.
As before, space is at a bit of a premium for those in the rear seat, but the curvature of the front seat backs is designed to improve knee room, there's a notably low centre transmission tunnel and there's lots of room to poke your feet beneath those front chairs. The boot is the same capacity as it is in the petrol model, 309-litres in size. It's quite a usable, squarically-sized space, with 885mm of length and 867mm of width. Folding the straightforward 60:40-split rear bench reveals 1,118-litres of capacity when you load to the roof.
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Market and model

For this Corsa Electric, as with the combustion model, there are four mainstream trim levels - 'YES', 'Design', 'GS' or 'Ultimate' - and you'll be paying in the £27,000 to £38,500 bracket. With 'Design' trim, you can only have the old 136PS powertrain; with the two top trim levels, there's the option of finding around £1,400 more for the new 156PS 'Long Range' powertrain. It's worth referencing the fact that these days Vauxhall can also sell you a Hybrid-powered Corsa, which in town at least, can run much of the time on electrical energy; and that variant's much cheaper. The e-DCT6 Hybrid model in question (which is auto-only) starts from around £23,000 in 100PS form and sells across the same three trim levels.
Both the Corsa Electric and its cousin the Peugeot E-208 make more sense as EVs than another key Zero Emissions small car rival at this price point, the MINI Electric. That MINI's priced at about the same level as this Vauxhall, but has a much lower operating range in base 40.7kWh form, a three-door-only body style and a tiny boot - plus it would probably cost around £3,000 more when equipped to a similar standard. There aren't really any other direct all-electric small hatch options. A battery-powered family hatch like a Kia Niro EV or a Hyundai Kona Electric would cost from around £35,000, but both of those are slightly larger cars.
Standard kit across the range is generous. Mid-range 'GS Line' gives you LED headlights, a 10-inch Multimedia Navi infotainment screen with built-in navigation and 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. Plus there's a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, electronic climate control, sports alloy-effect pedals and 17-inch black alloy wheels. Top 'Ultimate'-spec gets you a 10-inch centre screen and a contrast-coloured black roof, plus 'IntelliLux' adaptive LED Matrix headlights. Along with keyless entry, heat for the front seats and steering wheel, part-alcantara upholstery, a centre front armrest that includes storage, a wireless 'phone charger, plus a driver's seat with massaging and lumbar support.
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Cost of ownership

If you're a Corsa Electric owner, you'll need to know that getting anywhere near the quoted WLTP-rated range readings will necessitate staying in the powertrain's provided 'Eco' mode - activating its 'Sport' setting will reduce your range by around 10%. We gave you the range figures in our 'Driving' section - 221 miles for the 50kWh model and 248 miles for the 51kWh version.
What about charging times? Well, all the latest Corsa Electric models come as standard with an 11kW on-board charger, allowing for a 0-100% AC three-phase charge to be completed in 5hrs and 15 minutes - or three hours and 20 minutes from 15-80%. The same full charge using a more typical 7kW home wallbox is estimated to take 7hrs and 30 minutes. Supporting 100kW rapid charging, a typical 0%-80% DC public charge will take just 30 minutes. At the other extreme, it'd be a yawning 21 hours and 45 minutes from a domestic plug. All the charge times remain the same, regardless of battery choice. And you can of course set charging using the 'MyVauxhall' app - or the appropriate section of the centre screen.
Finally, you'll also need to know about warranties. In a class where Hyundai and Toyota offer standard five year warranties (and Kia offers a 7 year package), Vauxhall, like most of its other rivals, persists with the usual three-year, 60,000 mile package - which can be extended up to five years and 100,000 miles at extra cost. What else might you need to know here? Well as expected with an EV, a Corsa Electric driver will (theoretically) enjoy lower maintenance costs than would be needed for a combustion model - obviously no oil changes are required and regenerative braking means that the brake pads are designed to last the life of the car. Insurance is group 27 or 28. And as usual with any EV, until 2025, you'll be free of VED car tax payments, you'll pay Benefit-in-Kind tax at a low 2% and you'll be free of Congestion and ULEZ charges in London.
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We're still at the stage at which you have to be pretty sold on the EV concept to choose a car like this. Vauxhall says its goal is to reach a stage where the overall full-life cost of a Corsa Electric (taking into account purchase price or leasing costs, plus charging fees) is approximately the same as what you'd pay to run a well-specified petrol automatic variant. Well we're some way off that at present but it'll happen sooner or later.
For the time being, this Corsa Electric is pretty much state of the art in terms of full-electric small cars, especially in this improved form. Yes, you can get the same technology in a Peugeot e-208 or a DS 3 E-TENSE. And yes, other compact EVs will take you a little further on a single charge. But this Vauxhall will reach a wider audience than any of the models just mentioned. It will continue to play a key part in democratising the idea of a supermini EV. And that makes it a very important car indeed.
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