With its low kerbweight and petrol engine, the Vauxhall Corsa doesn’t show much on-paper promise as a tow car. But so long as you plan to tow a small trailer rather than a full-sized caravan, the Corsa is surprisingly effective. Just be sure you pay attention to the plated weights as well as the stated towing limit of 1150kg, as if the car is fully loaded the effective towing limit drops to just 500kg.
With its 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, the Corsa has less pulling power than the Citroën C4 Cactus or the Skoda Fabia. However, as long as you are happy to rev the engine it makes the most of what it’s got, pulling from 30-60mph in a respectable 16.5 seconds. The engine is noticeably less noisy than the Skoda’s, too.
Unexpected speed is matched to excellent braking, stopping from 30mph in 11.1 metres with no shunting from the trailer behind. And for such a light and short car, the Corsa is secure and reassuring at speed. The suspension is soft and comfortable, but not so loose that it wallows when towing.
In the hill start test, a firm pull on the handbrake was needed to stop the car and trailer creeping backwards, but otherwise the Corsa performed well, although some drivers noticed a burning smell from the clutch after reversing a short distance.
In everyday driving, the Corsa’s key strengths are its comfortable ride and the well made cabin. For a car of this size passenger space is generous, although there’s not as much room for bags as you’d find in a Skoda Fabia. The Corsa is not an especially sharp or entertaining car, but it’s easy to live with thanks to light controls and a supple ride.
If that makes the Corsa sound like the small tow car for you, just be sure to ask for a discount, as What Car? predicts modest resale values.