Scrambling for sockets with our Vauxhall Corsa-e long-termer

Published: 13 July 2021

► CAR lives with an electric Corsa
► Vauxhall's first EV for a new generation
► Read our regular e-reports here

The Corsa-e has just one solitary USB port, prompting on-the-go offspring arguments not only about who gets to charge their phone but also who gets to select their music using CarPlay.

Yes, I should just buy a multi-port USB adaptor, but that would mean cables snaking across the cabin and no access to CarPlay, which demands a direct link between iPhone and car. I curse the cost-saving accountants who nixed the idea of four USB ports. Sure, they may have saved millions over this Corsa's lifecycle, but if they knew the family discord their decision created, they'd know the difference between cost and value.

By Ben Whitworth

Logbook: Vauxhall Corsa-e Elite Nav

Price £31,160 (£31,810 as tested)
Performance 50kWh battery, 134bhp, 7.6sec 0-62mph, 93mph
Efficiency 4.18 miles per kWh (official) 2.6 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 3.5p per mile
Miles this month 399
Total miles 1117

Month 2 living with an electric Vauxhall Corsa: quietly brilliant

corsa e ltt ben driving

To drive and to look at, the Corsa-e is utterly conventional. Power source aside, there's nothing unusual about it. Which, depending on your approach to electric mobility, is either a very good thing or a missed opportunity. Good if you want to segue from ICE to BEV with minimum disruption. But disappointing if you're keen to tell the world you've started future-proofing your transport decisions.

Look past the sober sheet metal. Put aside the ergonomically excellent but generic cabin. Ignore the odd juxtaposition of a penny-pinching solitary USB socket sitting alongside expensive matrix LED lights. Focus instead on the driving dynamics. Yes, it's heavy (550kg more than the lightest petrol Corsa), but 192lb ft of instant punch means it can really fly along, while the combination of weighty and accurate steering, a 57mm lower centre of gravity and a chassis 30 per cent stiffer than its petrol and diesel brethren means corners can be deftly and pleasingly sewn together.

Turning Vauxhall convention on its head, this Corsa is as dynamically engaging as it is visually anonymous.

By Ben Whitworth

Logbook: Vauxhall Corsa-e Elite Nav

Price £31,160 (£31,810 as tested)
Performance 50kWh battery, 134bhp e-motor, 7.6sec 0-62mph, 93mph
Efficiency 4.18 miles per kWh (official), 2.6 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 3.6p per mile
Miles this month 456
Total miles 781

Month 1 living with an electric Vauxhall Corsa: hello and welcome

corsa e ltt cornering

I've gone from the Zoe – the third generation of Renault's electric car – to the Corsa-e, Vauxhall's first electric supermini. It will be interesting to see if Renault's head-start still gives it an advantage, or maybe Vauxhall (along with its PSA colleagues, now absorbed into Stellantis) has been taking very careful notes all the time it's been standing on the EV sidelines.

The Corsa-e is a direct rival to the Zoe, weighing in at £31,160 on the road (including an £800 wallbox installation) in top-spec Nav Elite trim and £31,810 as tested with its £650 Power Orange paint. The 1530kg Corsa packs 134bhp and 191lb ft of torque. An 11kw onboard charger and 100kW DC rapid-charging capability come as standard. It's quicker than the Renault, posting a very respectable 7.6sec dash to 62mph and a 93mph top speed, but its 209-mile range is just eclipsed by the Renault.

Despite being very similar on paper, it's instantly apparent that the Corsa is a very different type of car. Just look at it, for a start. Ignore the paint and it's very conservative looking – which may be intentional, to more easily woo conservative buyers sitting on the electric fence.

The driving position is ace. The driver's seat can be dropped impressively low, so much so that getting out of the Zoe and into the Corsa feels like you've fallen into the cellar. It may be dark and more than a little drab, but sitting closer to the tarmac than the headlining is certainly a welcome change.

As is the ride quality. Oh my, how the Corsa flows down the road with a polished sophistication. Its MacPherson strut front and twist-beam rear suspension deftly sponge away intrusions with a well-damped deftness at which the Zoe can only marvel.

It's come-and-get-some quick too, with impressively high levels of refinement and insulation doing a fine job of masking the rate at which the scenery is smearing past. It lacks the instant out-of-the-blocks zestiness of the Renault, but the Corsa still feels alert and responsive, with a low centre of gravity and slightly weightier steering making it feel more secure and confident on faster flowing roads.

Other early notables, good and bad, include the phenomenal IntelliLux LED matrix headlights, a brake pedal that lacks the Zoe's millimetric precision and accuracy, tight-ish rear accommodation and a cabin with just one – yes, just one – USB port, which may turn out to have more of an influence on the family's impression of this car than any amount of ride quality and refinement.

By Ben Whitworth

Logbook: Vauxhall Corsa-E Elite Nav

Price £31,160 (£31,810 as tested)
Performance 50kWh battery, 134bhp e-motor, 7.6sec 0-62mph, 93mph
Efficiency 4.18 miles per kWh (official) 3.1 miles per kWh (tested), 0g/km CO2
Energy cost 3.2p per mile
Miles this month 262
Total miles 262

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars