SHOCK news. Britain’s best-selling car is NOT a Ford Fiesta.
For longer than I can remember, the Fiesta has ruled the new car sales chart.
Come boom, bust or the credit crunch, it was miles ahead of anything else. But so far in 2021, the Vauxhall Corsa has nipped in front.
Why? I believe the answer, for the most part, lies in Ford’s own hands.
The Puma has been a huge success – a cracking Fiesta-sized SUV for only a few quid more.
And everyone wants an SUV these days. So Ford has been nicking its own sales.
Also, the Corsa now comes in all three flavours – petrol, diesel and fully electric – whereas the Fiesta doesn’t.
Plus, the Corsa is now a much, much better car than the Corsa of old.
It’s basically a Peugeot 208 under the skin, sharing all the bits you can’t see with its French sibling – engine, gearbox, chassis, etc.
But you’d never know by looking at it. I’d wager the Corsa’s safe-to- the-point-of-being-really-rather-boring styling is also helping sales to a wider, ostensibly more sensible market.
It also, unexpectedly, handles better than the 208 thanks to the Vauxhall’s revised suspension, which makes it feel a dash more spirited behind the wheel.
And while the new Corsa is lower and longer, yet usefully narrower than previous models, it feels bigger than ever inside – at least in the front seats.
Meanwhile, the luggage capacity – now at 309 litres – is bigger to boot.
Stowing the rear seats, I managed to fit a full-size mountain bike in the back with some jiggery pokery.
Only just, but it did fit.
The ever-popular Corsa was traditionally somewhat regrettable inside – but that has changed, too.
THE BEST CORSA YET
While in no way posh, of course, it does now look more the part, with a standard 7in (upgradable to 10in) touchscreen infotainment system with some actual buttons and a proper knob.
And for the more mature buyer who refuses to smartphone, you can also get a built-in satnav.
It’s not the greatest but it is yet another base covered.
The seats are more comfortable than any other Corsa you’ll ever have travelled in.
It’s a fact most noticeable at the end of a long journey when you hit your destination and only then realise you have been comfortable ever since you set off.
Starting at £15,615 (while Vauxhall is offering a saving of £1,200), it’s not positioned as a budget box as such but as a decidedly accessible new car from a brand which British buyers have trusted and bought from for many decades.
With five levels of trim to choose from, you can push the price up to an alarming £25k for the Ultimate Nav spec, but the entry-level SE does come reasonably well equipped.
Other standard kit includes 16in alloys, LED headlights, lane assist, cruise control with intelligent speed limiter and speed sign recognition.
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
Power: 75hp, 118Nm
0-62mph: 12.4 secs
Top speed: 108mph
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The Vauxhall Corsa has not been the UK’s No1 previously for a bunch of reasons, not least desirability, driveability . . . and the Fiesta.
But those reasons have fallen by the wayside. The best Corsa yet deserves to be the most successful.