Behind the wheel Vauxhall Corsa GSi
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
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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