The start/stop system works well, and in urban environments Vauxhall claims economy of 58.9mpg, providing an extra five and a half miles compared with Ecoflex versions without the fuel-saving device. Emissions have been lowered by 14g/km to 105g/km, although the Corsavan’s principal rival, the Ford Fiesta Van Econetic, already boasts emissions of just 98g/km.
The Corsavan comes in two trim levels. Features on the standard model include central locking, power-operated door mirrors, speed- sensitive power steering and charcoal cloth trim. The Sportive version adds aircon, sport seats and exhaust, front fog lamps, dark-tinted rear mirror and 15-inch alloys. The standard model we drove also came with the CD 60 satnav system that adds £825 to the price tag of £12,253, excluding VAT. It also included Bluetooth (another £255) and air conditioning (£580).
The dashboard display features a comparatively unobtrusive gear change indicator, which flashes discreetly when it’s time to change up after the engine’s stayed at high revs for a few seconds, rather than coming on as soon as it’s out of the optimum ratio. This is more relaxing for the driver but, arguably, does not encourage as much fuel efficiency as more insistent in-your-face eco-alerts.
The satnav worked efficiently enough, while the buttons controlling the navigation system, radio, CD player, Bluetooth and temperature control are stylishly mounted on a central console but not intuitive.
The 1.3 CDTi drivetrain lacks refinement. When turning the key in the ignition you’re met by a loud diesel chug, which means the cabin noise on the road can be intrusive. It also provides a stark contrast to the silence that descends when the engine cuts out to prevent idling. Performance, however, is impressive – the Corsavan copes more than adequately with motorways, even with a load, despite its limited power. Comfort and ride quality are also of a reasonably high standard and the five-speed manual transmission is well-matched to the engine.
The reversing sensor on our test van took the stress out of manoeuvring into confined spaces and, although the steering column is not adjustable, the seats are sufficiently alterable to make finding the right driving position simple.
The Corsavan concedes some ground to the Fiesta Van and Peugeot 207 van when it comes to load length and load volume, but it outdoes both these rivals with a heavier maximum payload. Loading height is similar to the 207 but greater than the Fiesta Van, and load width is the narrowest of the three. The Vauxhall is also more expensive than its eco Fiesta rival.
A stylish little van with performance and payload that punches above its weight. The start/stop system works smoothly to produce admirably frugal fuel consumption.