Vauxhall Corsa VXR review - can it match the Ford Fiesta ST?

The Corsa VXR is faster and more composed than its predecessor, but its rivals are a tough bunch to beat

Evo rating
from £18,925
  • Improved refinement, dynamics and cabin
  • Best rivals edge it for dynamic ability

evo Verdict

As any good hot hatch should be, the new Corsa VXR is a great deal of fun and alarmingly quick down a twisty road. It’s expressive, adjustable both on and off-throttle and very easy to read, which makes it a car that the driver can immediately grab by the scruff, hang it over the edge of its abilities and hold it there for mile after mile. 

Though they’re arch rivals, the VXR’s personality differs significantly from the Ford Fiesta ST. The VXR has better pace and grip, but the ST’s superb damping quality ensures it remains a serious contender and our hot hatch of choice - though Vauxhall's effort should be applauded.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

evo Comment

The original Corsa VXR sold in strong numbers in the UK – around 9000 units over eight years – and won many fans for its pugnacious styling and aggressive driving style, but critical acclaim wasn’t so forthcoming. The Nurburgring and Clubsport limited edition models – fitted with mechanical LSDs and uprated suspension components – were improvements, but the title of 'best in class' still eluded the Corsa VXR. 

If this latest model is to challenge the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary for class honours, it’ll have to retain the original’s sense of fun, but team that with a more sophisticated driving style, better damping, keener steering and a much higher quality cabin. 

evo Tip

The non-Performance Pack Corsa VXR is still a capable small hot hatch, but stripped of the LSD, bigger brakes and the firmer suspension tune it’s frustrating at the point where the Performance Pack model really comes alive. It's £2400 very well spent.

> Performance and 0-62 time - Power matches the previous-gen Corsa's hottest model, but a more fluid gear-change and better traction ensure overall performance is stronger. Read more about the Corsa VXR's performance here.

> Engine and gearbox - Despite the fitment of a turbocharger, the VXR's 1.6-litre four-cylinder responds well to revs. Both components represent an improvement over the previous model. Read more about the Corsa VXR's engine here.

> Ride and handling - The new car moves the game on from the previous, with strong mid-corner grip and impressive traction when the optional LSD is fitted. Read more about the Corsa VXR's ride and handling here.

> MPG and running costs - Optimistic claimed mpg figures and the car's H tax band ranking ensure the Corsa is far from cheap to run. But amongst its class competitors, the figures are respectable. Read more about the Corsa VXR's running costs here.

> Prices, specs and rivals - Rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST undercut the Corsa in base spec, but the VXR's generous standard kit means it's amongst the best for value for money. Read more about the Corsa VXR's pricing here.

> Interior and tech - Recaro buckets and sporty trim confirm the VXR's performance intentions. Lots of standard tech and media integration make it a nice place to sit, too. Read more about the Corsa VXR's interior here.

> Design - An example of evolution rather than revolution, the new VXR sharpens up the old car's looks. Read more about the Corsa VXR's design here.

More on Corsa VXR

Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

The evolution of the Corsa VXR

From Nova onwards, how the VXR came to be
17 Apr 2015
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition video: Vauxhall Corsa VXR Ring video

New Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition takes to the famous track it's named after
23 May 2011
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring news and pictures

Nurburgring edition Vauxhall Corsa VXR hot hatch gets Renault Clio 200 Cup beating gets 201bhp
20 Apr 2011
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

New Vauxhall Corsa VXR Blue Edition

Vauxhall's Corsa VXR hot hatchback gets the facelift treatment with new Blue Edition
19 Jan 2011
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Thorney Motorsport Vauxhall Corsa VXR-R

Reigning Dunlop Sport Maxx champions unleash a road-going Vauxhall Corsa
6 Apr 2009
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Corsa VXR 888

Remap makes Corsa almost too hot to handle
14 Feb 2008
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Corsa VXR v Cooper S v Clio 197 v Ibiza Cupra: Corsa VXR v Cooper S v Clio 197 v Ibiza Cupra

Can the new 189bhp Corsa VXR beat the Cooper S, Clio 197 and Ibiza Cupra?
9 Aug 2007
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Vauxhall VXR: Vauxhall Corsa VXR v Renault Clio 197 v SEAT Ibiza Cupra v Mini Cooper S

We take the newest hot hatch all the way to the South of France to face its rivals. The skies are blue, the roads are filed under ‘epic’, and the batt…
15 Apr 2007
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Vauxhall VXR: Corsa VXR guns for Clio

Vauxhall’s 189bhp baby hot hatch boasts Renault-shading looks and Brit-tuned handling
15 Jan 2007
Vauxhall Corsa VXR hatchback

Vauxhall VXR: New Corsa launched, VXR next year

200bhp Corsa promises hot hatch revival in 2007
7 Jun 2006