The Corsa VXR is one of the most popular small hot hatches available, but how good is it with Stage 1 tuning on it? Here’s my review…

  • 1.6-litre turbocharged inline-four
  • Around 230 bhp and a 0-62 mph time of 6.3 seconds
  • Six-speed manual gearbox
  • Front-wheel drive

Performance and gearbox

Naturally the Corsa VXR is every bit a pocket rocket, with a standard model pushing out 189 bhp from its 1.6-litre turbocharged inline-four and a 0-62 mph time of only 6.8 seconds. However this isn’t a standard Corsa VXR; it’s a Stage 1 Corsa VXR, meaning it’s got a new Scorpion exhaust system, air filter, a remap done by Rabbid Tuning, and more.

All these little improvements push the car up to 230 bhp and bring the 0-62 mph time down to around half a second. It also sounds pretty insane for a little 1.6 engine, with pops and bangs that always bring a smile to your face. The added blowoff valve also gives a nice whoosh.

Criticisms? Well the six-speed manual gearbox isn’t the best. The gear ratios are a little too short which means you change gear a bit too often. The throttle response is also lacking as a result of the turbo lag, which is a pain when you want some more power on the exit of a bend. However, all in all it’s a really fiery, excitable car.

Star rating: ★★★★☆

Vauxhall Corsa VXR 2007 - Front
Couldn’t find a photo of the front, so here’s a similar one from Google

Handling and drive

In general, the Corsa VXR handles surprisingly well. As it’s very lightweight (only 1,100 kg), it really performs on the road and doesn’t suffer a great deal from the torque steer you usually associate with front-wheel drive cars.

The trade up with this though is that it feels a bit disconnected at the times, especially on rough surfaces where you’re perhaps looking for a bit more steering wheel feel to gauge your traction. Still, it’s a really exciting car to drive, especially with the extra power from its Stage 1 upgrades!

Star rating: ★★★★☆

Vauxhall Corsa VXR 2007 - Rear

Styling

VXR models have always been a bit lairy, and that usually divides opinion among petrolheads. Some absolutely love the look of them, others hate it – I’m the former.

I think this VXR ticks all the right boxes. It’s got chunky, AMG-like bumpers, an aggressive rear diffuser, a sizeable roof spoiler and sporty alloys too (although this model in particular has rubbish bog-standard Astra alloys). Even the wing mirrors look like they’re straight off a facelifted Gallardo.

Overall the car looks mean, and I love it.

Star rating: ★★★★☆

Vauxhall Corsa VXR 2007 - Review

Interior and spec

Let’s be honest, Vauxhall aren’t known for producing cars with amazing interiors or high-level spec, and the Corsa VXR is no different. It only really comes with your basics, but outside of that, there’s not a lot going on. The only exception is the seats; they literally look like Audi RS 4 seats – and feel like them too.

At the end of the day this car was built for fun, and just like rally cars, interior doesn’t have any baring on fun factor. As long as the seats and steering wheel are good enough and your basics are usable, then who cares?

Star rating: ★★★☆☆

Vauxhall Corsa VXR 2007 - Interior

Conclusion

The Corsa VXR is a great car anyway, but a couple of basic upgrades and it’s without a doubt even better. It’s fast, agile, and absolutely stacked with character. Whilst this particular car was only a Stage 1, it does highlight just how tuneable VXR models are.

I personally love this car, it’s so much better than a normal Corsa in every single way. But that’s the problem really: it can’t shake off the fact it’s still a Corsa. Regardless, some cars just make you smile – and this is one of them cars.

Star rating: ★★★★☆

Calvin Fehr

I'm a car fanatic that buys cars, sells cars, reviews cars and does pretty much anything else to do with cars. I drive different cars daily from Fords to Ferraris, and video myself on my journeys to and from work.

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