Be­hind the wheel Vaux­hall Corsa GSi

The Herald Magazine - - etc DRIVE - RYAN HIRONS

TO A gen­er­a­tion of en­thu­si­asts, the GSi moniker will bring back bags of nos­tal­gia. The iconic name­plate has graced some of Vaux­hall’s finest ma­chin­ery, gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as the badge of a work­ing-class hero. It’s been re­vived this year by the Bri­tish firm, mak­ing its re­turn fol­low­ing a 16-year ab­sence on the In­signia, but it’s the lat­est ap­pli­ca­tion that’s more akin to its roots. In­tro­duc­ing the Vaux­hall Corsa GSi.

Glance at the Vaux­hall Corsa GSi and you’d be for­given for think­ing it’s a VXR. Not only does it use the chas­sis of that car, but more or less all of its look too, save for a switch to a sin­gle ex­haust at the rear. Rather than a 1.6-litre pow­er­house un­der the bon­net though, this Corsa uses a tweaked ver­sion of the firm’s 1.4-litre unit.

Although remapped for the more per­for­mance-fo­cused ap­pli­ca­tion, it’s down on power com­pared with its pre­de­ces­sor but the re­sult is a car de­signed for younger driv­ers to run af­ford­ably.

As men­tioned, you won’t find the VXR en­gine to match the looks in the Corsa GSi, but on pa­per, its 1.4-litre tur­bocharged en­gine still sounds like an in­trigu­ing propo­si­tion for the hatch. It de­liv­ers 148bhp and 220Nm of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed man­ual gear­box, send­ing it from 0-60mph in 8.9 sec­onds with a 129mph top speed pos­si­ble. As for ef­fi­ciency, Vaux­hall claims 49.6mpg on the com­bined cy­cle, along with 139g/km CO2 emis­sions.

Sadly, the en­gine doesn’t quite feel up to the same stan­dard as the chas­sis. Although flex­i­ble, it doesn’t de­liver the punch the car’s

THE UK’s largest pro­ducer of low-car­bon elec­tric­ity and one of Bri­tain’s lead­ing car man­u­fac­tur­ers are join­ing forces to work to­gether on a num­ber of projects that will sup­port the adop­tion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles and en­ergy gen­er­a­tion and stor­age so­lu­tions.

Nis­san and EDF En­ergy signed the new agree­ment in Paris and the part­ner­ship will kick off with a first of its kind col­lab­o­ra­tion to ex­plore how sec­ond-life Nis­san elec­tric ve­hi­cle (EV) bat­ter­ies can help to sup­port power de­mand man­age­ment.

The first joint project will see the part­ners looks would sug­gest and de­spite be­ing up on power com­pared to ri­vals like the Suzuki Swift Sport and Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, it doesn’t feel quicker than ei­ther, let alone the Fiesta ST the GSi is priced around. A lit­tle more ex­haust vol­ume wouldn’t go amiss.

While the en­gine may let the car down, for­tu­nately the VXR chas­sis means it’s quite fun when the cor­ners get twisty. There is tons of grip on of­fer – no doubt as a re­sult of stan­dard-fit Koni se­lec­tive damp­ing – and, although it may not be as play­ful as ri­vals, it just sticks to the tar­mac.

As an all-rounder, it re­mains as us­able as the Corsa al­ways has been. Vis­i­bil­ity is de­cent all-round, and steer­ing is light enough in city mode for it to not be a daunt­ing prospect around town. The harsh ride may wear down on some driv­ers over long dis­tance run­ning, but this is a car squarely aimed at the driver.

The Corsa GSi is a car that looks much faster than it re­ally is. Its VXR-based chas­sis means it sits lower than the reg­u­lar car, and a bold body kit – com­plete with rear wing – gives it an ag­gres­sive pres­ence on the road.

Other sub­tle dif­fer­ences that mark the

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