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2013 Corsa 1.3CDTI EcoFlex Review

What an outdated beauty
Damn, damn, damn. This is the time I finally get to review a car for real, and the model I have tested has just gone out of production. Improvisation is needed; let's call this a review for people looking for a decent car in the secondhand market. Phew, I think I've just about justified this.

As you may expect, my first car I get to review isn't exactly a glamorous one (or new, for that annoying matter), but nevertheless it's a car which you can buy right now somewhere near you. It's a 2013 Vauxhall Corsa EcoFlex. If you didn't know, 'EcoFlex' is Vauxhall's name to shut members of the Bill Oddie fan club up. A pretty silly name if you ask me, but then again, we do have Ford 'EcoBoost' cars. Weird names to please weird people.

Click 'Read More' to carry on with this review

Naturally with such a car, the headline figures come from the way it sips its fuel rather than the amount of lateral G it can pull round Stowe Corner. Those headlines aren't bad at all, even standing next to brand new cars of today. Vauxhall claim it will achieve 85.6mpg and splutter out an asthmatic 88g/km of Co2, which is very good. But then again, if you buy this car expecting to achieve these figures, then clearly you are a delinquent fool. The only good thing is that you will not pay any tax, no matter how much lead your right foot contains.

To put things into some form of perspective for you, I achieved around 50mpg. Bear in mind that this is a car born for the city, and I did a lot of out-of-city driving. If you drive this car in its natural habitat, expect to see a lot less.

But this brings me on neatly to an outstanding problem I must address before I can move on to the stuff that really doesn't matter with this kind of car. As I said, the Corsa is a car which is designed for the city. It's geared for the city, it has a high seating position for visibility in the city, and it has a ridiculously light steering system for, funnily enough, the city. So why have one with a diesel engine? For efficiency, I hear you say? No. Allow me to smack you down...

Diesels require DPFs (or Diesel Particulate Filters) to be fitted to them by law. Without them, our beloved Polar Bears may catch a cough. Now, imagine dust building up on a surface. What do you do to get rid of it? Well, if you're normal, you'd use a duster. But for the sake of this analogy, we could also blow the dust away. DPFs work in a similar fashion; if you pootle 'round town all the time, there's going to be nothing to blow the nasty stuff away. What diesel engines crave is a motorway blast, to clear their throats. City cars do not get that privilege, which can result in seriously decreased efficiency (especially when the engine is cold) and general system failure. Boy, the petrol 1.0l Ford Fiesta Ecoboost sure looks tempting right about now!

No matter, let's focus on the car itself and not a problem that affects all small oil-burners. The 2013 Corsa may only be two years old at the time of writing, but it is in fact a nine-year-old design which has been hidden with a rather mediocre facelift that went underway in 2011. It shows; the plastics are brittle, the centre console is bland, and the overall exterior just doesn't look as eye-catching as other fresher superminis out there, despite the Limited Edition's best efforts. Limited? My arse. So whilst the registration plate and engine may be fairly young, the rest of the package isn't. If a Corsa is priced the same as a similarly aged (and specified) Fiesta at your dealership, then you're getting a bad deal.

Interior is outdated and completely whipped by the Fiesta of same age

So what about actual performance? Not bad, surprisingly. Despite being only 1.3 litres, and giving decent economy figures (kind of), it still manages to develop 94bhp. While that will never bump-start a dead planet, it's enough for a Corsa. Interestingly, you will need to keep your revs up - going against the philosophy of diesel engines here - in order to get any pace going. Once you do keep it above 1800rpm or so, then you will have no issues with acceleration. A 0-60 time of 12.3 seconds doesn't sound great, but 140lb/ft or torque means you don't have to work the engine in order to get some oomph. It is, however, incredibly noisy. I really wasn't expecting it, since I've been in Corsas that have been virtually silent. Granted, they had petrol engines, but they still had great sound insulation. Get above 2500rpm (aka not a lot of revs), and the engine makes itself known. So do you keep the revs down and get overtaken by continental drift, or do you keep them up and suffer from an extortionate ear bleed? Tough one.

This car has rather good road manners. The suspension soaks up bumps well, and allows it to become a decent cruiser. Meanwhile, the steering is very light and easy to use, but it has absolutely no feel at all. But then again, why would you buy this car for the f-word: fun? It completely suits the c-word: city. Just a shame about th- alright, alright, I won't hack on about the diesel engine any more.

So cute: a Limited Edition. You ain't foolin' nobody
Price? Well, it was on sale for about £16,000, which is insane and ridiculous. But such is the nature of depreciation with undesirable brands such as Vauxhall, you will be able to pick this car up for something much more justifiable. Don't pay any more than £10,000 for it, but don't go too low. Corsas and chavs go together like bread and butter, so if it's cheap, then there's probably a reason behind it. Then again, I'd say just don't get this car full stop. Get yourself a 1.0L Ford Fiesta EcoBoost, and marvel how it never gets close to it's official figures, either.

What I liked

The 2013 Corsa has excellent road capabilities, and is tailored to make city driving a doddle. Surprisingly commodious interior.

What I disliked

The engine is far too loud and just doesn't suit sitting in a city car. The design is a bit tired, and it is horrifically expensive.


2013 Corsa 1.3CDTI EcoFlex Review 2013 Corsa 1.3CDTI EcoFlex Review Reviewed by Jack Cooper on March 14, 2015 Rating: 5

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