There is a worrying trend for all the fashionistas out there in automotive
land; these days everything has gone a little too ‘practical'. Form over
function has been the car fanatic's raison d'être ever since a young boy first
put a car poster on his bedroom wall. Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti,
Zonda, all of them have created cars that men and women all over the world have
literally drooled over, but try and take these cars on the weekly shop and you
will find yourself exceedingly frustrated. You can barely fit a loaf of bread in
the cabin and boot-space is either so small it's pointless or simply
non-existent. So in a world dominated by fears of a financial nature, the car
fanatic has been forced to think practically, economically and ecologically.
When buying a car, these three considerations NEVER even came close to entering
the equation, but times have changed and alas the cars have too. It is an
impossible aspiration to drive a stylish car that is also economically sensible
and ecologically sound. Or is it?
The new Vauxhall Corsa caused quite a stir a couple of years ago, getting all
the reviewers a bit hot under the collar. Add to this a catchy, media-saturation
advertising campaign and a shining endorsement from the boy-racer contingent and
Vauxhall found themselves with a success story on their hands. The Corsa began
to virtually fly off the forecourts and became the car of choice for hip, new,
young drivers. To meet with some kind of nationwide consensus, BSM (the largest
motoring school in the UK) chose the Corsa as its fleet car, thus cementing the
reputation for performance, cost and likeability amongst the young folk. It
seemed the Corsa could do no wrong. Something ominous appeared on the horizon
though not too long ago; a sight that must have struck fear into the hearts of
all the engineers and designers at Vauxhall HQ. Yes, Ford had only gone and
decided to revamp the Fiesta; turning the old boxy ugly duckling, into a chic,
sleek, jaw-dropping machine of motoring brilliance. The fight was on.
In direct comparison there is very little to separate the two vying
superminis; both look absolutely stunning, both perform unbelievably well for
their shared price range and both are so cheap to run you virtually can't afford
not to own one. It looked like this little scuffle would go right down to the
The Fiesta has got the slight advantage in the respect that it is new and as
we all know Autel
MaxiSys MS908, fashion is about being on the cusp of a revolution, never
living in the past and constantly pushing the boundaries. On a technicality, the
Fiesta takes round one.
The Corsa has a strange kind of elevated driving position that gives you a
better view of the road and the impression that you are more in command of the
pro mini. It also has the comfier ride of the two superminis, which as the
owner of a constant bad back, is entirely necessary to my enjoyment of a
vehicle. One round-a-piece.
In the tale of the tape, the performance comes under scrutiny and this is
where my experiment falls flat on its face. The Corsa I have driven was 1.3
Diesel model and the Fiesta was a 1.25 Petrol version, so comparison is slightly
unfair. The Fiesta was obviously punchier and a little quicker of the mark,
where as the Corsa was more economical and ecological. In the Corsa's defence
though, the 1.3 CDTi engine was relatively quiet and built up speed at an
So in summary, the direct fight/boxing analogy has yielded a draw of sorts.
In my opinion if you are swayed by current trends and feel embarrassed sat in a
car that has a design that is more than a year old, then no doubt you will have
already booked a test drive of the new Fiesta. If you are slightly more
concerned with making the most of every penny you spend on fuel, then I would
recommend buying a diesel Corsa. Again it comes down to the form or function
argument. Which side are you on?Pete J Ridgard is a writer and a car
enthusiast. He currently writes for the automotive industry. Here he discusses
the best available supermini; the The Vauxhall Corsa or The Ford Fiesta.