If Corsa VXR buyers really are the diehard crowd that Vauxhall portrays them to be, the acceleration times that we extracted for the latest version, after multiple attempts in near-perfect conditions at MIRA, will be something of a disappointment.

Two up, the Corsa VXR failed to crack 7.0sec to 60mph and also failed by a slender margin to outpace the Ford Fiesta ST2 we tested. At 7.2sec, it was also more than half a second slower than the Peugeot 208 GTi 30th we benchmarked a couple of months ago.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Vauxhall has given the Corsa VXR the kind of surging throttle response that makes it feel impatient to get going at low speeds

Although the value of such figures is widely overstated, their importance to the hot hatch buyer is not – and for some, mediocrity may devalue the VXR’s appeal.

The reason for its tardiness is clearly not lack of power but rather its application; the car suffers from a predictable lack of traction off the line.

It is also not helped by Vauxhall’s preference for short gearing, which prevents you from achieving 60mph in second gear. The upshift to third gear is the main reason for the no more powerful 208’s surprising advantage.

That the Peugeot retains the same superiority from 30mph to 70mph – a better real-world measure of acceleration – is more damning and suggests that the Vauxhall isn’t quite as propulsive as it might be expected to be.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week

That said, the subjective impression away from the stopwatch is not of a car lacking in performance. Quite the opposite, in fact, because Vauxhall has given the VXR the kind of surging throttle response that makes it feel impatient to get going at low speeds.

Oblige it and the power feels plentiful, if a little slavishly linear. This is predominantly the work of the torque delivery, which, for its five seconds of overboost, comfortably aligns the engine’s enthusiasm with your own.

If only it had the hard-working, evocative voice to match. Sadly, the Remus exhaust system does precious little to enhance a fairly loud but bland four-cylinder whine.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week