Who needs to tinker with their cars in a boy racer fashion now that car manufacturers are willing to do it all for you? Let’s face it, their engineers probably know a lot more about their cars than a group of spotty seventeen-year olds.

We’re already fans of the excellent, Renaultsport-tweaked Clio 197, and the Corsa VXR is another hot-hatch hall of famer.

Born to perform

The Corsa is the runt of a VXR litter that also includes versions of the Vauxhall Astra and Vectra. Equipped with a 1.6L turbocharged engine and churns out 189bhp, it’s certainly quick off the mark – almost too eager, as you’re treated to a slight whiff of wheelspin before take-off.

It changes direction smoothly and with purpose, although we’re not too sure about the massive steering wheel. If the Corsa was any larger, you’d need hands the size of dinner-plates just to get a grip. Consequently, you don’t get the greatest feedback from the road’s surface.

A refined ride

Compared to the likes of the Renaultsport Clio, the Corsa VXR is much more civilized and refined for those long motorway hauls. Then again, the Renault’s expert handling still has the edge when you’re whistling along those winding country roads.

The exterior is a matter of taste – it really depends if you like cars a little OTT. The Corsa has its triangular vents, slashed side skirts and an F1-inspired rear diffuser. It’s a boy-racer look, but a long way away from being tasteless. The interior is a nice place to be, with comfortable Recaro seats, air conditioning, cruise control, electronic mirrors and a powerful, bassy CD-playing stereo.

Sat-nav is a couple of hundred pounds extra, so we’d recommend an entry-level TomTom ONE Europe as a cheaper alternative. Our only minor gripe is that the stitching on the gearknob is pretty abrasive and uncomfortable, especially if you’re a constant shifter. But then that’s almost certainly us just being soft.


Stuff says... 

Vauxhall Corsa VXR review

If you want a fun hot-hatch with a hint of attitude, this is it