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Corsa VXR Test Drive

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  • Corsa VXR Test Drive

    Friday 27th April 2007 - 1300 - Silver Corsa VXR

    (1090 miles odometer reading)

    As test drives go in terms of dealers and customer satisfaction this was a poor one, however, driving the car made up for that. The dealer was despondant, not fussed and uncommunicative. To make matters worse this 25 minute drive, which is generous bearing in mind I have had dealers who won't go over 5 minutes, was mostly on Dual Carriageways and main roads. I did get the chance to fling it around on occasion though and here is what I thought.

    In general the Corsa is an astonishingly good looking car. Its finest attribute seems to be that it is unisex, suitable then for males and females. It is neither too "girly" nor "masculine" and appeals to both in equal measures. It is well equipped although it does not come with the range of features available on the Astra, nor a Sport Button. Cruise Control is standard however. At first you will notice its little gills on rear and front bumper you will see it is true when people say you have to see this in the flesh to fully appreciate it's looks.

    Getting inside you notice how firm and actually wider the seats seem to be. They dont have adjustable headrests but you can open your legs out more and the seats seem easier to live with as getting in an out does not result in brushing against side bolsters and having to adopt an unusual position which can happen in the Astra. The dash seems alarmingly further away at first but you soon get used to it and this adds to the illusion of space within the car.

    Setting off you soon feel that this car is easy to live with. Everything seems effortless, the steering is ultra light, the clutch is ultra light, and brakes are sharp and precise. Putting your foot down you unleash the 192PS and realise that the car is very capable. It will propel you forward quickly and the power seems to come in from 2.5k and hits a peak around 4 - 4.5k. The main difference with the Corsa is that the power is altogether more controllable than than it's bigger brother. There is absolutley no hint of torque steer whatsoever in this car, not in a straight line anyway. That said, the car does not match the power of its bigger brother either, and in a straight line, would not be able to keep up.

    But it seems the handling is the car's finest feature. I was not able to test the car fully as we simply were not on decent enough roads to do so. However driving through roundabouts, keeping a straighter line and balancing the car with the throttle, the Corsa responded marvellously. It felt well planted and did not exhibit any of the wheelspin, judder or what I call "tyre choking" that the Astra is notorious for. With very little effort one could keep the car trickling over at around 3 -5k and ease it through the most demanding of bends purely with the use of the accelerator. The wheel did not grab this way or that way, and not once did the Corsa feel that it's grip levels were decreasing. The traction never cut in, no lights flashed and I was left smiling.

    There also some things to consider which I think were missing. What you don't get is that powerful sound from the exhaust or the cabin that you get with Astra. Rear legroom was adequate although might be a squeeze if you are carrying 4 - 5 people. If you are carrying lots of weight or passengers you may find it evident in the drive.

    All in all the Corsa is a cracking looking and driving car. What made it hard for me was stepping out of an Astra, into the Corsa then getting back into the Astra again. The difference in power was instantly noticeable and I had to mentally adjust to the car remembering that despite feeling so at first, the Corsa was not sluggish by any means. Having done that I managed to get a few good bursts with a downchange and found the car responded instantly and enthusiasticlly. (4th to 2nd at 30mph / 5th to 3rd at 50mph and 6th to 4th at 60mph).

    It felt more powerful than the new Civic Type R, than the Mini Cooper S although I would imagine the Clio 197, which I have also driven, would give it a run for its money. That said the 197 needs to be pushed to the end of the rev limiter whereas the power is more accessible from the Corsa lower down the revband.

    Now to answer some of your questions:


    Zero, wheel did not budge at any point during the drive. No traction interrupting things either.

    When / where the power peaks
    Seems to be between 2.5k all the way to 5.5k. There is no noticeable drop off if you red line the car although it will cut the power very quickly if you bounce it off the redline. The peak apears to be around 3 - 4k.

    Tunring Circle
    Not ideal like the Astra. You may have to do 3 / 4 point turns on very tight bits of road. Mine had the 18's and although the steering was feather light I had to manoevre quite a bit in the car park.

    Gearbox (bet it is just like the Astra)
    Lighter, easier and seems smoother than the Astra. I sometimes have problems with 2nd gear in the Astra but this box felf light and dandy throughout.

    How many stop and stare
    A few. We were not driving through vilages / towns and the car was silver which did not help as it does look very subtle, yet there were still a few faces walking past the forecourt that had a peek.

    Brake Fade Did not notice this at all - good firm brakes and quite adaptable to the circumstances too.

  • #2
    I've already driven one and reviewed it Bert.
    I have a difference of opinion to you.


    • #3
      Re: Corsa VXR Test Drive

      Originally posted by P_D
      If there is anything specific / in particular you want me to test / look for / try out then please post it here and I will shower you with information upon my return.
      Yes. Get the one with the most horsepower.


      • #4
        Yes but the more reviews the better! That would be great.

        The two main things i would like to know is just how is the torquesteer on the car. I know its really bad on the astra, but the corsa is supposed to be much better, but how is it compared to other cars. I have a fiesta ST, and whilst there is some torquesteer it not bad at all.

        The other thing i would really like to know is when does the power really kick in. I know with my ST, at 1-2k rpm there isn't much, as you hit 3.5k you suddenly feel a bit of life and then past 4k the engine is flying. So really when you come out of a corner in normal driving (i.e. not bouncing off the rev limiter) it does take a few seconds after you've really put your foot down to start powering. So how does the corsa compare with that, especially with any turbo lag it has.

        Ooh another thing which you might not have a chance to play around with is the turning circle. Parking the ST is actually quite hard cos the turning cirlce is about the same as the titanics. And getting into my garage is a pain so i'm hoping the turning cirlce wont be worse.


        • #5
          The two main things i would like to know is just how is the torquesteer on the car. I know its really bad on the astra, quote]

          my wife has never complained about ours and its putting out around 297bhp, i wouldnt as far as saying its really bad!


          • #6
            Just took the car for a second test drive and ropped my friend along who has an Fiesta ST lets say he drove it longer than me and took a broucher away with him and is looking to maybe buy a corsa VXR in december lol . Think thats a review in its self haha.


            • #7
              Hello mate.

              I'd be greatful if you could let us know what the gearbox is like (IE does it change smoothly? even at low revs from a cold start?)

              I only ask because the gearbox in my 1.8 Corsa isnt the smoothest in the world in the above conditions. I realise that its a difference box, but im worried about build quality

              Thanks alot


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ojc
                I've already driven one and reviewed it Bert.
                Bert? Thats fine, not trying to better anyone elses reviews as they are all imoprtant, but would just like to add my tuppenceworth!


                • #9
                  I thought the gear box was very smooth and even my mate with the ST said that the gearbox was very smooth and easy to change between the gears if thats any help to you. I have a last shape corsa at the mo and the VXR gearbox is hundred times better.


                  • #10
                    Hi P_D

                    I'd like to know how many people stop and stare whilst you are driving it...........

                    Look forward to reading your review, and have a good drive!

                    YOU CAN ALL K155 MY VXR's!!


                    It takes 46 muscles to frown.....but only 4 to flip 'em the bird!!!


                    • #11
                      Sorry to butt in KAT had my missis in the back when i test drove it and she said it got alot of looks and i didnt promt her lol . Also while my friend drove it I noticed a lot of people looking .


                      • #12
                        Excellent!! Always good to be in a car that turns a few heads.......

                        Can't wait til it's my turn!!
                        YOU CAN ALL K155 MY VXR's!!


                        It takes 46 muscles to frown.....but only 4 to flip 'em the bird!!!


                        • #13
                          Could you make the review appeal to my girl friend please? I'm trying to convince her to go for one


                          • #14
                            Give the brakes a good few hard sharp shots, tryin driving the car long enough to get them to heat up and see if you feel any fade. Car mag has reported this, but they were driving it on a track, so it may be different usage on the track.


                            • #15
                              If anybody in the Kent area is looking to test drive or view, we have an Arden demo and a Silver static.
                              Insignia VXR, quite nippy!