Back in black

In a bid to try to overhaul the Ford Fiesta as Britain’s favourite supermini, Vauxhall has punted the Corsa straight onto the news agenda with the Black Edition.

A limited run of 500, the Black gets a peppy 1.4 Turbo petrol unit that’ll sling it to 60mph in less than 10 seconds and is available in three or five-door body styles, both fitted with body styling kits.

Vauxhall has tried to ‘rightsize’ the performance of the Corsa Black Edition, aiming to appeal to customers who want something that can deliver a bit of fun on the right road but which doesn’t impose such compromises as, say, a full-on VXR sports version.

The Corsa chassis has developed from something that never felt particular attuned to sporting models into a platform that’s now very well tied down. Much of this came about through a raft of changes introduced in 2010 which saw the front suspension heavily revised. This equalled less roll when entering corners and better suppression of bumps. The steering was fettled as well and the ESP stability control system was re-tuned to make it smarter and less intrusive.

The Black Edition benefits from this improvement to the bloodline but it’s the engine that’s the key point of interest here.

Developing 120PS, this 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit clearly has one eye on economy and emissions, but it’s still got enough about it to prevent the Black Edition being a sheep in wolf’s clothing. It produces its maximum torque of 175Nm starting at just 1,750rpm, so it’ll feel gutsier than its modest capacity suggests. Keep your foot in and it will run on to a top speed of 121mph, zipping through 60mph in 9.7 seconds.