Is Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i 16V Club 5dr Auto [AC] a good used car to buy? Watch

brightflare
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Hi,
My current car is on the way out so am looking for a good used car. I need an automatic, small hatchback, 1.4 engine and my budget is £3000.
The only 3 types that are currently available nearby (online anyway, haven't visited any dealers yet!), and meet these specs are the Corsa, Ford Fusion and Honda Jazz.
The Jazz and Fusion are longer than I want, as there is not much room between my garage and the garage opposite so getting in and out is easier with a smaller car. Which only leaves a choice of 3 or 4 different Corsa's. They all range from 2007 to 2009 and all have decent mileage etc.
Does anyone know if this is a good used car? e.g. cheap to run and maintain, easy to get replacement parts for a good price, reliable and safe, etc?
Do they have any issues I should know about?
Is there a better used car out there if I were to look for longer or further afield?
What should I look for when viewing and test driving a car?
I don't really know much about cars. I picked my current car as it was the prettiest of the (very few) automatics around at the time, and it has cost me a fortune in repairs ever since! I want to make sure I get something better this time.
Any advice would be appreciated very much.
Thanks!
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TheMcSame
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Is it good? As far as cheap goes, it's a small econbox so it should be relatively cheap.

Are replacement parts well priced? I'd imagine they're relatively well priced. They're not being imported from halfway across the world, pretty sure they're produced in Europe (primarily Germany and Spain I think) and you're not looking at a particularly sporty or high-end car either.

Reliability? European cars as a whole aren't exactly well known for their stellar reliability. At best, they're probably about average. Though Vauxhall has had electrical issues in the past, particularly with their... Uhh... Zafira? Idk, their minivan thing, so that's something to keep in mind I suppose. Though there are a lot of old Corsas on the roads from what I usually see so it wouldn't be crazy to assume they might be one of the better models in terms of reliability, or at least in economical repairs...

Safety? I'd imagine they're about as safe as most cars from that era.

Known issues? The handbrake cable can become loose at the mounting and move in its support bracket, preventing proper application. Electrical issues (pretty much a given when buying a German car these days).Severe problems with AC pipes (completely failing to pump out cold air), juddering clutch. The 1.4L specifically has a known issue with the water pump where it can cause the belt to malfunction and cause serious damage so it should be replaced every time the belt is replaced (which I believe is a relatively common practice anyway). IIRC there's also something about the brake fluid not being filled correctly out of the factory, I think that might be a bit more recent than some of the cars you're looking at though. Might be a potential issue for the 2009 models though.

I wouldn't necessarily let that list put you off mind you, I'm sure you'll find equally lengthy lists for a lot of cars on the road, even those considered reliable.

Are there better cars out there? Depends on what you want from the car. Toyota is known for pretty stellar reliability but I'd imagine most in your budget are proxy little 1-litre petrols with sod all power. There are usually some pretty cheap used Lexuses knocking about as well, though if you're young you'll get absolutely slaughtered on the insurance. Personally, if I were looking at a car with a small engine, diesel is the way I'd go, purely because they're not completely gutless, even a weak diesel is pretty nippy at low speeds (makes pulling of busy junctions a lot easier)

What should you look for? Something that feels right. Primary things to look out for imo...


  • Odd noises
  • Rust
  • Panel gaps in the bodywork (unusual panel gaps generally mean the car has been in an accident)
  • Black smoke - Unless you're flooring it, black smoke is a no-no. It means incomplete combustion, god knows what could be going wrong.
  • Blue smoke - Burning oil, could be overfilled, or the engine could need some serious work.
  • White smoke - Not steam, but actual smoke. Usually a sign that engine coolant is being burned which is a very bad sign. Best case is probably a head gasket issue. Worst case is a cracked engine block iirc.
  • Fluid leaks
  • Pedal wear - If the pedal wear seems inconsistent with the wear of the interior, find a reason why. If there's not a reasonable explanation, the car has likely been thrashed about.
  • Mileage - 8-10k per year is generally the norm. If the mileage is low it has either spent a lot of time sitting around doing nothing (can lead to rust issues), or it has been used for a lot of short journeys (engine spends less of its life at operating temperature, therefore the actual engine is more worn than the mileage suggests, not to mention the clutch will be used a lot so may well be due a costly replacement). High mileage inconsistent with the age isn't particularly bad, the car will have likely spent most of it's time at operating temp. The key thing to look out for there is service history, though, considering the age, a high mileage car might not be the bargain that a younger higher mileage car can be.
  • Service history in general
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brightflare
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Report Thread starter 1 week ago
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(Original post by TheMcSame)
Is it good? As far as cheap goes, it's a small econbox so it should be relatively cheap.

Are replacement parts well priced? I'd imagine they're relatively well priced. They're not being imported from halfway across the world, pretty sure they're produced in Europe (primarily Germany and Spain I think) and you're not looking at a particularly sporty or high-end car either.

Reliability? European cars as a whole aren't exactly well known for their stellar reliability. At best, they're probably about average. Though Vauxhall has had electrical issues in the past, particularly with their... Uhh... Zafira? Idk, their minivan thing, so that's something to keep in mind I suppose. Though there are a lot of old Corsas on the roads from what I usually see so it wouldn't be crazy to assume they might be one of the better models in terms of reliability, or at least in economical repairs...

Safety? I'd imagine they're about as safe as most cars from that era.

Known issues? The handbrake cable can become loose at the mounting and move in its support bracket, preventing proper application. Electrical issues (pretty much a given when buying a German car these days).Severe problems with AC pipes (completely failing to pump out cold air), juddering clutch. The 1.4L specifically has a known issue with the water pump where it can cause the belt to malfunction and cause serious damage so it should be replaced every time the belt is replaced (which I believe is a relatively common practice anyway). IIRC there's also something about the brake fluid not being filled correctly out of the factory, I think that might be a bit more recent than some of the cars you're looking at though. Might be a potential issue for the 2009 models though.

I wouldn't necessarily let that list put you off mind you, I'm sure you'll find equally lengthy lists for a lot of cars on the road, even those considered reliable.

Are there better cars out there? Depends on what you want from the car. Toyota is known for pretty stellar reliability but I'd imagine most in your budget are proxy little 1-litre petrols with sod all power. There are usually some pretty cheap used Lexuses knocking about as well, though if you're young you'll get absolutely slaughtered on the insurance. Personally, if I were looking at a car with a small engine, diesel is the way I'd go, purely because they're not completely gutless, even a weak diesel is pretty nippy at low speeds (makes pulling of busy junctions a lot easier)

What should you look for? Something that feels right. Primary things to look out for imo...


  • Odd noises
  • Rust
  • Panel gaps in the bodywork (unusual panel gaps generally mean the car has been in an accident)
  • Black smoke - Unless you're flooring it, black smoke is a no-no. It means incomplete combustion, god knows what could be going wrong.
  • Blue smoke - Burning oil, could be overfilled, or the engine could need some serious work.
  • White smoke - Not steam, but actual smoke. Usually a sign that engine coolant is being burned which is a very bad sign. Best case is probably a head gasket issue. Worst case is a cracked engine block iirc.
  • Fluid leaks
  • Pedal wear - If the pedal wear seems inconsistent with the wear of the interior, find a reason why. If there's not a reasonable explanation, the car has likely been thrashed about.
  • Mileage - 8-10k per year is generally the norm. If the mileage is low it has either spent a lot of time sitting around doing nothing (can lead to rust issues), or it has been used for a lot of short journeys (engine spends less of its life at operating temperature, therefore the actual engine is more worn than the mileage suggests, not to mention the clutch will be used a lot so may well be due a costly replacement). High mileage inconsistent with the age isn't particularly bad, the car will have likely spent most of it's time at operating temp. The key thing to look out for there is service history, though, considering the age, a high mileage car might not be the bargain that a younger higher mileage car can be.
  • Service history in general
Thanks! My current car is actually a semi-auto 1.3L Toyota. Guess I just got unlucky with it, that'll teach me to buy a car based on looks I guess, lol! I hadn't considered a diesel, something I will look into. I will take your list of things to look out for with me when I start looking at cars. :-)
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