The GSi moniker used to be one that adorned hot Vauxhall models for the masses, with Cavalier, Nova and Astra all getting a GSi version at some point in their tenure. Now, after 16 years away, it’s back.
After being fitted to the Insignia earlier this year, the GSi badge returns to one of its original hosts – the Corsa – and is based on the same underpinnings as the latest VXR.
Even though the fast VXR has been phased out, the GSi is a less potent replacement for the current Corsa generation, which is to get a complete revamp by 2020.
But can the GSi give this version of the Corsa a last hurrah before its next form? We take a look…
Despite having the look of the VXR in some aspects, the GSi is its own model and comes with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine – producing 148bhp and 220Nm. Paired to a six-speed manual sending all the power through the front wheels, the GSi can get from 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 129mph.
Even with the VXR chassis as an accompaniment, the GSi’s engine doesn’t quite live up to the standard of that base, as it doesn’t have the kick you might expect. It does feel a little less powerful than its rivals, such as the Suzuki Swift Sport and Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost – even though it has more power than both.
Ride & Handling
It’s fair to say that even if the engine doesn’t live up to expectations, the car is still fun to drive on twistier sections of road – thanks to that VXR chassis. It may not offer as much play in the steering as other models in the sector, but with Koni selective damping system that’s fitted as standard, you get tonnes of grip to help you stick it through the corners at higher speeds.
With the car’s setup aimed towards the driving experience, i it can feel a bit firm at times and can be a tad tiresome on longer trips. But overall, the Corsa GSi feels easy to use around town and remains a great option in the supermini segment.See Available Vauxhall Corsa deals
Interior & Equipment
To provide that sporty feel, the GSi comes with sports seats and a leather sports steering wheel alongside aluminium pedals, while the car also comes with Vauxhall’s IntelliLink infotainment system that can be used with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
For the exterior, Vauxhall has fitted larger air intakes aside a honeycomb grille, deeper sill extensions, carbon-look detailing, a large rear spoiler and red brake callipers, as well as a single chrome exhaust. The GSi also comes with 17-inch bi-colour alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, LED daytime running lights and carbon-effect wing mirror covers. For a £1,900, customers can add the GSi Plus pack for additional premium features, such as 18-inch alloys, Recaro leather sports seats and bi-xenon headlights with cornering function.
It all feels well put together, but the interior space is unchanged from the standard Corsa. That means 285 litres of boot space, which is slightly smaller than the rival Fiesta.
With the turbocharged petrol under the bonnet, drivers will be able to get close to the quoted 49.6mpg fuel economy, with the GSi emitting 139g/km CO2. Another bonus of the GSi is that it’s in a much lower insurance group than its rivals, as the warm Corsa sits in the 20E bracket – much lower than the Fiesta ST and Swift Sport.
The problem with the GSi is that even though it has less power than the Fiesta ST1 – what Vauxhall say is its main rival – it only costs £250 less with its starting price of £18,995. Our test car with all the extras it came in at £22,160.
There is a lot to like about the Corsa GSi. It drives well, looks sporty and is suitably faster than your regular Corsa to justify it – making it a great option for younger drivers wanting a bit more oomph from their day-to-day supermini. But with the sector filled with amazing cars, the GSi just lags behind slightly when compared to its rivals, as the Fiesta ST is faster and one of the best cars on the road right now, while the Suzuki Swift Sport and Fiesta ST-Line are better value for money. The Corsa GSi is a good car nonetheless, with good running costs and great fun to drive.Enquire Now on a new Vauxhall Corsa