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Review: My Car

Wait, don't tell me what that is. I see these things all the time.

Yes indeed, it's the (arguably) infamous Vauxhall Corsa, specifically the 2006-2014 model, known to some as the 'D'. Due to it being not too old, yet not the freshest thing out there, this model of Corsa is one of the most common sights on British roads. They're just the right age for that cheap runaround used car purchase.

It's so bland!

Well you'd think that, because you see them all the time. When you see the same thing so many times, it just kind of blends into nothingness. The Corsa is just that: it's so common, it's become the victim of its own success. However, if you stop and concentrate, you can appreciate some decent lines on the car, such as the door mirrors, and, er, that's about it. But come on, this is a mainstream car, so it can't afford to be radical.

Tell me about the engine.

Well it's a basic 1.2l unit producing 79bhp. It's get you to 60mph in 13 seconds, and will theoretically return 46mpg. I should put particular emphasis on the word 'theoretically' there. The engine is basically small hatchback 101.

Interior is a good mix of fresh and inoffensive
Those specs seem oddly familiar...

And right you'd be. This is not a new engine by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, this engine first served it's purpose in the older 'C' model of Corsa.

That car was a hell of a lot lighter, wasn't it?

Yup. In that car, which is over 100kg lighter than the one I'm reviewing, the engine worked well. It propelled the car from 0-60 in 11.5 seconds, making the car feel peppy in town, and competent on the motorway. In this car, the engine feels very sluggish if you're not in the right gear. To keep up with traffic, be prepared to rev it out and watch your fuel economy tumble.

So the car's useless, then?

Well, no. For starters, you can get bigger engines for this model, so don't walk away just yet. And if I may say so myself, having an underpowered car creates a sense of engagement in what is otherwise a fairly disengaging (in other words: easy) car to drive. Having to work for your speed by rowing through the gearbox up and down is fun in its own silly little way. In high-powered cars, you can leave it in top gear and floor it and end up at your desired speed. If I want to go from 30 to 60 in this car, I have to drop it down to 2nd and plant my foot down. Legal fun.

You're a bit odd. Anything else worth noting?
Don't fret, for this is just a fake floor; the boot is actually deep

There is a surprising amount of space inside the cabin for 4 adults, and even the middle seat isn't too bad. Boot space is very competitive, too. The refinement was top notch when this car came out, and it still makes for an easy cruiser to this day. Just not with this engine: at 75mph, the car pulls 4000rpm in top gear. I can only presume the short ratios are there to try and combat the lack of oomph, but it doesn't half hurt the economy. Try and look for a diesel, or a petrol with a six speed 'box. Everything else is very recognisably Vauxhall, from the centre console, to the little styling cues both inside and out.

I'm a 18-year-old male driver. Is this the first car for me?

Well what a coincidence, as it turns out I too am an 18-year-old male, and this is my first car. In terms of insurance, the only cars cheaper are the C1/107/Aygo trio, or a 1.0l Corsa. But you don't want a 1.0l Corsa if you want to move faster than wind erosion. This car is a good first buy. Fuel costs are OK, but be aware you will never get 46mpg. Expect £45 worth of fuel to get you about 350 miles. Tax is £145, which ain't cheap. If you want to reduce those figures, buy a diesel. Be aware though, that your insurance will then go up; you will never be able to win.

Chrome exhaust is what stops you buying the Fiesta
Indeed not. Come on then, what's stopping me from getting a similarly specced Fiesta?

Nothing, if I'm totally honest. The current generation Fiesta (introduced in 2008) drives better, arguably looks tidier, and has a stronger range of engines. What I will say though is the Corsa is ever so slightly friendlier with the insurers, and spec-for-spec, you can pick up a Corsa somewhat cheaper than an equivalent Fiesta. So it does really depend on where your priorities lie. If you want driving dynamics, the Fiesta rudely tramples all over the little Vauxhall. But the Corsa is more likely to be ever-so-slightly friendlier to your wallet, especially if you get a model with a more frugal engine.

OK, just give me a quick overall rating for those who can't be arsed to read the review itself.

I shall give my Corsa a 6/10. I love the big car road mannerisms and the fairly upmarket interior quality (at least for its time), but my engine in particular is by far the weakest link.

Review: My Car Review: My Car Reviewed by Jack Cooper on July 16, 2016 Rating: 5

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