Small cars with hugely powerful engines are very much in. With the Ford Fiesta ST, the Peugeot 208 GTI and Volkswagen Polo GTI on sale, compact hot hatch buyers are already spoiled for choice. However, Vauxhall is about to add a brand new contender for those who want a small car with big power: the Corsa VXR.
Vauxhall is famed for cramming lusty engines under the bonnets of its ‘VXR’ performance models and the latest Corsa VXR is no different – offering 202bhp from its turbocharged 1.6-litre motor. This is enough to catapult the little Vauxhall to 60mph in a speedy 6.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 143mph.
With bespoke suspension and an optional ‘limited-slip differential’ to stop the power from overwhelming the front tyres, Vauxhall’s latest addition should prove just as handy around corners as on the straights. Arriving in UK showrooms in May, the new car is set to make its debut at the upcoming Geneva motor show and sports sharply chiseled lines, wheelarch-filling 17-inch alloy wheels and even a big vent in the bonnet, hinting at the power within. Powerful xenon headlights, lowered sports suspension and Recaro sports seats also differentiate the VXR from lesser Corsas.
With the punchy motor – which offers a broader spread of power than before – and a six-speed manual gearbox, the Corsa should slingshot past slower traffic with ease, when the need to overtake arises. However, it lags behind rivals in the nought to 62mph stakes and offers mediocre fuel economy, with claimed fuel consumption of 37.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 174g/km – warranting steep car tax for the class at £225.
Those after a more focused drive cans also opt for the ‘Performance Package’, which adds the limited-slip differential, larger Brembo brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels and firmer shock absorber settings.