What is it?
It's Vauxhall's successor to the, er, Corsa. CAR Online has already driven the 1.4 petrol version, likely to be the most popular in the range, and now we're taking a look at the other sensible choice, the 1.3 CDTi diesel, yours for £9695. It comes in sporty three-door and frumpier five-door shapes and in Life and Club-, but not the posher SXi and Design, trims.
1.3 diesel! Not exactly generous with the cubic capacity, is it?
No, and now you mention it, the 73bhp it squeaks out makes it the weediest Corsa in the whole range bar the 59bhp 1.0-litre triple. But while the 1.4 petrol's 88bhp might significantly trump the diesel's best, the oil burner fights back with 125lb ft of torque to the 1.4's 92lb ft. Sadly that grunt advantage doesn't translate into an on-paper one: the diesel takes 13.6sec to reach 62mph, compared with 11.8sec for the petrol. The CDTi never feels absolutely gutless though and it is quite refined and very economical, squeezing 61.4 miles from every gallon, 13.5 more than the 1.4 can manage. And there's always the two other diesels if really must have more performance: an 88bhp version of the 1.3 CDTi and an almost warm-hatch 1.7 car too.
How does the rest of the car stack up?
We love the stylish cabin, but not the MPV-style sloping windscreen that makes it harder to see other cars at roundabouts. The materials are smart, everything seems well screwed down and it's much less oppressive than the Astra's interior. The lifeless steering isn't much fun and the ride, particularly on Sport versions, is too lumpy, but the Corsa is generally much improved. Only the diesel's modest performance might make you think twice about tackling a long journey in this Corsa.
We've never shared buyers' enthusiasm for previous Corsas which have either been stodgy to drive or dull to look at. But this time, Vauxhall's baby is a genuine contender. If you never leave the confines of a city, the frugal 1.3 CDTi makes great sense, although the 1.2 petrol is £400 cheaper and not much slower. If you're thinking of mixing any motorway journeys into your Corsa's remit though, we'd have to suggest the identically priced 1.4 petrol or one of the more powerful diesels.