Jul 19 2009 Chris Russon
Corsa is Vauxhall's eco champion
AS if by magic, Vauxhall has come up with a formula which gives its eco cars plenty of performance while still being kind to your pocket.
Some of the new breed of high economy models can feel a touch 'detuned' but the latest ecoFLEX cars from Vauxhall are decidedly nippy.
The recently launched Insignia ecoFLEX has a 0 to 60 acceleration time of less than nine seconds, a top speed approaching 140mph and can average a claimed 54.7mpg.
That's as quick as a standard two-litre diesel Insignia on which the eco car is based but 18 per cent more frugal on fuel.
Now comes the turn of Vauxhall's baby Corsa which has just become the most economical car in the company's 106 year history.
It can average more than 70mpg - mid-80s are possible on a run - and has emissions of 105g/km meaning tax of £35 a year for private motorists or a 13 per cent liability for business users.
Corsa eco models have been around for a while but the newcomer is an improvement on what was already one of the meanest little cars on the road.
By changing the gearing and improving the aerodynamics Vauxhall has managed to eke 13 per cent more miles per gallon out of the Corsa while reducing emissions from 119g/km.
It's also around 100lbs lighter than before and comes with narrow rolling resistance tyres on 14-inch steel wheels to save more weight.
But what is most impressive is the amount of get up and go from the 1.3-litre diesel. It develops just 75bhp yet has plenty of mid-range power making it feel as brisk as any other little diesel.
The Corsa ecoFLEX can handle motorway cruising without issue and it certainly punches above its weight given the official 0 to 60 time of 13.5 seconds and 104mph top speed.
It's fun to drive, nice to handle but more to the point you don't have to try hard to achieve good economy.
The eco model is priced from £11,295 and is available only as a three-door model in two trims. The previous version was both three and five-door and sold in six trim levels.
On the new model the base level Life version includes air conditioning, stability control, remote central locking and electric windows as standard fit.
Unfortunately there is no trip computer so you can't monitor how well you are performing on the economy front. If you are hitting the mark, trips to the filling station should be some 630 miles apart - not bad for a little car with a nine gallon tank.