Vauxhall’s Corsa VXR costs from £17,995
The first generation Vauxhall Corsa VXR was launched back in 2007
LED running lights and bi-xenon headlights are standard
It looks like an intake scoop but is in fact just a grey bit of plastic that serves no purpose other than uglying up the front end
Corsa VXR features a beefier nose grille over its standard sibling
The VXR’s optional 18in rims are wrapped in the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres from the Performance Pack. The 330mm front brake discs are also part of the same pack
This little trim extension features on all three-door Corsas but looks curious – as if they meant for it to carry a VXR badge but forgot to actually put one on
Twin pipes of the VXR’s Remus exhaust come in where the central triangular pipe used to feature. Back pressure is reduced in the whole system by 20%
Vauxhall’s performance brand turned 10 years old last year. Its European sister brand is OPC, but the UK accounts for 60% of the total combined sales of both brands
Good-looking, spacious and subtly stylish, there’s little wrong up front in the Corsa VXR
A bit more colour and flair wouldn’t go amiss
Rear legroom is typical of a three-door supermini – not brilliant
Recaro seats are easily the best VXR addition. They are wrapped in fetching leather, an option that costs an additional £1045
VXR’s instruments look rather dull. The perforated leather and neat stitching on the steering wheel are spot on, though
Standard Corsa’s gearknob is a chunky affair and the VXR’s is bigger still. It’s too large
Vauxhall’s latest touchscreen system is sharp and responsive
Boot is a competitive size, although the loading lip is a little obtrusive
The Corsa VXR was outpaced by the Ford Fiesta ST to 60mph
Optional Performance Pack makes the ride feel compromised in road use
Grip and traction from apex to exit is phenomenal
Heavy-handed, route-one attempt at a hardcore supermini
Close by Matt Saunders 7 May 2015 Follow @TheDarkStormy1 Share
How we test cars
The VXR-badged Corsa has lurched in and out of our affections since Vauxhall introduced the model in 2007.
For a good while, it embodied the classic Vauxhall approach to hot hatches, being for the most part brash, overpowered, overpriced and a little under-talented to make a dent on a segment utterly dominated by the previous Renault Clio RS 200 and now passed on to the imperious Ford Fiesta ST.
The standard Corsa VXR is more powerful than the Ford Fiesta ST – a VXR trait that its customers tend to appreciateMatt SaundersRoad test editor
Then, in 2011, Vauxhall – or more specifically the Opel Performance Centre – launched the Nürburgring Edition, which finally had us nodding along.
With its uprated engine, exhaust, brakes, stability management and, crucially, a standard limited-slip differential, the model suddenly had the sauce to threaten the Renault on the track.
Unfortunately, it also never made a real mark because it was several thousand pounds pricier than a Clio.
Now the VXR is back as a fully fledged part of the latest Vauxhall Corsa line-up, and this time Vauxhall might have got it right. The standard VXR is £50 cheaper than the equivalent Ford Fiesta ST, the car that’s replaced the Clio RS 200 as our hot supermini benchmark.
It’s more powerful than the Ford, although there has been an attempt to redress this through the ST200 (and plenty of others in this price bracket), too, a VXR trait that its customers tend to appreciate.
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They’re an enthusiastic bunch, according to Vauxhall, so to better cater for their harder-core requirements from the start, many of the components from the Nürburgring Edition have been swept into a £2400 Performance Pack. That’s the version we put to the test here.
Related Vauxhall Corsa VXR 2015-2018 reviews
2015 Vauxhall Corsa VXR UK first drive
Of course, the VXR must prove not just quicker but also fundamentally better than the Fiesta ST to eclipse it in our estimations – which, for the past three years, Mini, Peugeot and Renault have all failed to do.
Vauxhall’s Corsa VXR costs from £17,995
Model tested: Rating:
Vauxhall Corsa VXR 2015-2018
GoodWell pricedHandy on a track dayUncompromising hardcore temperamentBadNeeds a better engineShort on tractionUnyielding, hyperactive ride