Slick new grille
Comfortable and dynamic ride
Not much choice available
Big price increase
Take a guess at how many Corsavans were registered last year in the UK. In fact, lets make it easier; was it a) 900 b) 1,500 or c) 2,400?
It is in fact C and for anyone who keeps an eye out for vans on the open road, that number many surprise you. The variety in the car-derived market would have you believe these traditional car-looking vans are on the decline, yet Vauxhall has registered 34,000 of the outgoing third generation model. The split of which customers are buying the Corsavan may also surprise you, as incidentally option A is roughly the number of fleet buyers (38%) and option B is retail purchases. To my mind, the Corsavan is the little BT telephone engineers van, the Interflora delivery vehicle or the but, it turns out, the audience is even greater – so why are the Corsa and its main rival the Ford Fiesta van still so popular?
One reason might be the compact size and flexibility they offer. With barely a cubic metre of storage space, the Corsavan is for people who only really need to move very small items about. It’s 0.9m3 demonstrates this, but the hefty 571kg payload – that’s 63kg more than a Fiesta van – may well surprise some and be more than enough. A second reason may also be the specifications on offer. Models like the Corsavan, Fiesta van and Mini Clubvan are based on passenger cars which means the technology, engines and specification are all far more up to date than the slightly larger LCV options like Fiat’s Fiorino or the Ford Courier.
Power in the Corsavan comes from both diesel and petrol engine. The range starts with a 70hp 1.2-litre petrol engine, diesel engines are based around a 1.3-litre turbodiesel with power outputs of 75hp and 95hp. There are two trim levels options, Corsavan and Sportive, while the most economic model, the 95hp diesel Sportive, offers a claimed fuel consumption of 85.6mpg and emissions of just 87g/km CO2. Both engines also meet Euro-6 and come with fuel saving kit like stop/start. There’s also a whole host of safety gear including straight line stability control, cornering brake control, brake assist, torque control, active rollover protection and hill start assist – as well as the mandatory ESP.
In keeping with changes to the passenger car, the Corsavan gets a grand selection of new optional extras include electronic climate control, heated seats and heated steering wheel, Bluetooth and DAB radio which are part of the IntelliLink 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as the option of 16-inch alloy wheels and rear parking sensors.
There are two trim specifications, a well equipped base model that gets Bluetooth, DAB radio, six airbags, electric windows, electric mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring and speed sensitive steering, and the highly spec Sportive which is a £1,000 add-on over the entry-level 95hp model that adds air-con, metallic paint 16-inch alloys, heated windscreen, leather accessories, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, colour matched mirrors, front fog lights and sports seats. There’s also a Technical Pack which includes forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear camera, traffic sign recognition and following distance indicator.
As you would expect prices have increased, and its the highest trim Sportive that has seen the largest increase – it’s £775 dearer – but that, according to Vauxhall, is because of the higher specification of the vehicle. That means base on-the-road prices for the entry-level diesel Corsavan start at £13,108 and the 95hp Sportive begins at £14,558, however, petrol powered Corsavan models begin at £11,858.
Changes have been made throughout the new Corsavan, making it more stylish and sportier than its predecessor. The grille has been brought back into line with the other Vauxhall family models, and the headlights now incorporate smart LED headlights that are a standard feature on the new van.
We tested both 75hp Corsavan and 95hp Sportive models and were impressed with the new look and feel of the van. The basic Corsavan feels every inch the accomplished hatchback and does not suffer unduly from excess noise with the the creation of a cavernous rear and the removal of the back seats. It’s a comfortable cabin and driving position too, made all the more pleasing by the addition of Sportive trim that adds much firmer and more grippy seats and stylish piano black dash trim. On the open road, the Corsavan is feels well balanced for our roads, with a firm but well dampened suspension setup that allows the car to be pitched into corners at a fast pace without any noticeable body roll and excellent steering feedback. It’s an enjoyable drive, and a match for the formidable Fiesta van. The more powerful 95hp unit is preferable, but the low end torque in the 75hp is more than adequate enough to bring the Corsavan up to speed promptly. While we were unable to test the vans with a full load in the back, there is nothing to suggest this little hatchback van would suffer noticeably in ride and comfort, or performance, at maximum capacity.
If size isn’t a priority, the new Corsavan is a pretty compelling package of performance, comfort and payload. Vauxhall is also offering a four year 0% APR representative finance, four years’ free servicing, four years’ roadside assistance and four years’ warranty as part of the purchasing packages for the new model, so the total cost of ownership should be competitive. Manufacturers have already identified the mini van segment as a growing market, Ford being the prime example of this when it launched the new Courier, but expect a growing demand for these car-derived models. With current registrations at 2,400 vehicles, it won’t take long for this new Corsa hits 3,000. In fact given the refinement and specification, 4,000 sales wouldn’t be too ambitious. Fiat, Citroen and Peugeot – makers of the Fiorino, Nemo and Bipper trio – beware. Car-derived vans are back and the Corsa is the new kid leading the charge.