Not too hot, not too cold, just right. That’s the thinking with the new version of the Corsa. If the VXR is too hot a hatch and the lesser Corsa models leave you cold, then this Red Edition should be just right.
From the outside you’ll be able to tell it apart from its siblings by the big spoiler, sports bodykit and black roof. Surprisingly the bodywork is red. This nicely offsets the special 17in alloys. Inside this is complemented by sporty seats with red trim and some equally sporty pedals.
It also gets the Sports suspension, which makes this pretty firm in the ride department. The surprise is that there is quite a lot of body roll to go with that, so you don’t get the best of either worlds. The steering too is a big odd, heavy for much of the time then a bit unsure in the middle of a corner.
On the other hand, there’s a fair amount of horsepower, with 148bhp coming from the uprated 1.4-litre turbocharged four-pot. Once you’re up to 2000rpm it’s really motoring and there’s a pleasant urge to it all. The downside is that below that threshold it’s a bit on the flat side, so it’s not exactly a linear power delivery.
Like other Corsas, there’s good room in the front seats but in the rear it all gets a bit cramped, once you’ve got in via the front doors. The boot behind you is a good size although the bootlid is a good shape but also a slightly intrusive one in terms of getting luggage in and out.
Whether this Corsa works or not as a sensible middle ground is up to the reader. It’s certainly less frenetic than the VXR but we’re rather disappointed in the quality of the handling and ride to be honest. If you’re really looking to take up residence in the halfway house of the hot hatch patch, then something like the Seat Ibiza FR or the Ford Fiesta Zetec-S might be worth a look, since they’re both cheaper and more enjoyable to drive than this Red Edition Corsa. We’re left a little cold.
Vauxhall Corsa 1.4T 150 Red Edition
On sale: Now
Engine: 1364cc, petrol
Torque: 162lb ft
Gearbox: 6-spd manual
Kerb weight: 1214kg
Top speed: 129mph
Economy: 49.6mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 132g/km, 23%