As part of the PSA Group, Vauxhall’s latest offerings are seeing the benefits of being associated with the larger group. We drove the all-new Corsa in petrol & diesel form, in late 2019 & we really liked it. But, thanks to Covid 19, we’ve only just had the chance to drive the electric Corsa-e, which is built to the same specification as the Peugeot e-208.
The Corsa-e is offered in two specs with two electric powertrains; SE Nav 7.4kW & 11kW, or Elite Nav 7.4kW & 11kW. Prices after the Plug-In Car Grant, range from £27,665, for the SE Nav 7.4kW to £31,160 for the Elite Nav 11kW model. For company car users, there’s zero emissions, so the best news of all, is there’s no BIK to pay. Happy days !
Safety & security is well covered on the Corsa-e, with ABS, EBD, & EBA standard across the range, as are adaptive driver & front passenger airbags, front & rear curtain airbags alarm, deadlocking, an electronic code immobiliser & ESP with Hill Start Assist. All models feature cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Assist, Forward Collision Alert & speed sign recognition.
For comfort & convenience, all model’s have a push button start, climate control, keyless start, Bluetooth, DAB, Mirror Screen for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a 6 speaker radio & a 12v socket. Infotainment is accessed via the 7″ touchscreen. Both Corsa-e models also come with automatic lighting control, LED front fog lights, automatic headlight levelling & IntelliLux LED Matrix headlights with LED tail lights.
We were testing the Corse-e Elite Nav 7.4kW with an OTR after PiCG of £30,310.
The Corsa is different to look at than the Peugeot e-208 from the outside. The Peugeot is quite rounded, whereas, the Corsa-e offers a lower, more slimline profile than the Peugeot. All models pull off the trick of looking sporty & the black roof also adds an upmarket feel.The front & rear lights are more angular on Corsa than 208 & these too add to the sportier looks of the latest Corsa range.
Where Peugeot have their i-Cockpit & a small steering wheel, Vauxhall have kept the dashboard more traditional with a larger steering wheel too. There’s physical climate buttons rather than the fiddly on screen offering in the e-208. All in all, it’s definitely a less exciting cabin than the one you’ll find in the Peugeot, which Vauxhall tell us, is what their customers prefer.
The cabin itself, is nicely laid out & it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. The touchscreen is simple to use & easy to understand & you can also access the phone & various modes via switches on the steering wheel. Underneath the screen sit easy to use heating & ventilation controls, beneath these are a USB input & 12v socket.
There’s a starter button to the left of the steering wheel, so you can leave your keys in the small cubby in front of the automatic gear stick. Talking of which this is where you can activate the regeneration function. You can select from Drive, Neutral or Park. When you’re in Drive, you pull the stick back & you go into B, which creates more brake regeneration. Very simple to use & not at all jerky, as it can be in other electric cars.
Up front, there’s plenty of room for driver & front seat passenger. Despite the sloping roof, rear headroom is fine, but rear leg room is tight.
The Corsa-e boot offers a decent amount of space. All of the batteries are under the floor, so passenger room is unaffected. The boot is the same size above the carpet, as the petrol & diesel Corsa, with the batteries hidden in the spare wheel wheel space, so luggage capacity is slightly down at 267 litres. And, again like Peugeot, there’s no designated space for your charging cable which just has to sit in the boot space.
We took a trip to the tip & lowered the rear seats, enabling us to put several large empty IKEA boxes in the space. And with the rear seats in place, even with the charging cable, there is plenty enough room for a large weekly shop.
The Corsa-e comes with a choice of three driving modes. Eco, which slow’s everything down & is perfect for the motorway. Normal, which gives you a bit more get up & go, useful in urban traffic & Sport, which sharpens up the throttle response & the steering, making it the most enjoyable on winding, undulating roads.
We spent a week in the Corsa-e, utilising the free Tesco Podpoint chargers where we could & plugging in at home. It arrived with only a 60 mile range & left with 110. Where Vauxhall claim a range of 209 miles, we would say that in our experience, driving in town & under 40 mph elsewhere, utilising the Eco drive mode & the B regeneration, then 185 miles is definitely possible. Hit the motorway & drive at motorway speeds in Eco & that will fall to 150 miles. The regeneration of battery power around town really does make a difference.
With a 0-60mph time of 7.6 seconds, in Sport mode, the Corsa-e will go no to reach a top speed of 93mph. Perhaps it’s the silence that does it, but in Sport, it feels quicker & put’s a broad smile across your face, especially the instant pull that electric cars specialise in.
The weight of the battery make’s all electric cars & vans, a lot heavier than a petrol or diesel version, but in the case of the Corsa-e, the extra weight doesn’t hamper the experience. The light regenerative braking is well balanced, only slowing you down when you select ‘B’ in the selector to increase the force.
On a well maintained roads, I’m sure that the e Corsa-e may travel in total silence. However, there are no smooth roads in our locale & when we encountered any road which wasn’t well maintained, the vibrations through the 17″ alloy wheels were much in evidence, just as they were when we drove the e-208.
For fleet managers & company car driver’s alike, the really good news is the huge discounts running an electric car will bring. The Corsa-e comes with a BIK of zero & you’ll pay nothing, yes nothing in company car tax in tax year 2020/21. You also get the government grant, currently £3,000, off the car’s asking price, as the Corsa-e qualifies in Category One for the subsidy.
If this is tickling your fancy, we’d strongly suggest that you get at least a 7kWh home charger, so you can top up at your leisure. We have a Rolec 7kWh charger at the office & it really takes the hassle out of owning an electric vehicle. Drive, return, plug-in, repeat. And you’ll soon get the hang of where to charge publicly & some of these are actually free, which is not going to last forever.
Almost a year on from when we drove the Peugeot e-208, we finally had some time in the Corsa-e & although they are very different inside & out, in reality, on the road, they perform almost identically. Both offer an uneven ride with no provision for cable storage in the boot. But, with a range of 209 miles, it’s range is well ahead of the MINI electric & Honda e. It also offers just enough room on board for four adults & comes with a decent sized boot.
The Corsa-e is a very tempting proposition for company car drivers.
Price. £27,665 to £31,160
Powertrain. Single-motor, front-wheel drive.
Range. 209 miles WLTP.
Company Car Tax for 2020/21. Lower rate 20%. £0. Higher rate 40%. £0.
100kW fast charge (20-80%) 30 minutes.
7kW home charge (0-100%) 7.5 hours.