Let me tell you a story, I used to catch the train everyday from Sheffield to Manchester but when my contract expired I was offered a job at the University of Nottingham. I live well outside Sheffield and the drive to Nottingham was about 40 miles each, taking about 45 minutes. When I started my wife was on her maternity leave but when she returned to work needed the car so we went looking for a reliable run around with good fuel economy so we went into the car showroom with no preconceptions except that we knew it would be a diesel car because they are far cheaper to run.
So we looked at a few before spotting a less than one year old Vauxhall Corsa with around 8000 miles on the clock and took it for an extended test drive. The price of the car was about 8000 pounds down from 13000 when new and was a five door, silver hatchback. After taking it for a drive we were both more than happy and decided to buy the car (well take it on loan etc) and to be honest since then (January) it's been one of the best decisions I've made.
I'm not the classic male love to drive stereotype, I've always been more on the lines of does it get to A to B without breaking down - yes then that's good enough for me. However, I have to say once you get to the diesel way of driving this Vauxhall is a lovely little mover as Jamie Redknapp would say on Sky Sports. The old concept of diesel cars being like driving a block of cement and having the turning circle of a Boeing are long gone and it nips along the M1 at 80 mph without batting an eye-lid and certainly holds its own when an articulated lorry blasts past. One of the other cars we tried was a little Fiat panda which was a lot cheaper but I'm so glad we picked the sturdier Corsa I feel so much more secure in my robust little 5 door than a little 3 door panda.
As this was the reason for getting a diesel car in the first place, the fuel economy on a 1.7l D is well eye-opening. The car takes at a push 45 litres worth of fuel, which at the moment comes in at around £53 pounds (at 118p per litre) and will drive me around 700 miles given decent driving conditions. That's about twice as far as my old Ford focus c-max I was using to get to work whilst my wife was on maternity leave. Putting it another way, it comes in at around £6 for travel rather than nearly £12 for the C-max. Vehicle tax is only £45 per annum because it's a low carbon emitter and I've yet to have any problems with the car.
As with most commuters they tend to get to know there car through its stereo system and the Corsa's is extensive to say the least. It has an aux setting for easy connection to an mp3 device which plays through an aux lead near the gear box. It has FM/MW and can be preset for almost infinite number of radio stations; it also has a screen telling the driver which station, the current fuel economy in terms of mph and the estimated miles in the tank. This last fact is very useful and has so far been very accurate; it also tells the temperature and the time.
When I first used the car I was disappointed by the air con in terms of making the car cool, I know it's an alien concept in this country but we are in summertime at the moment. Until I noticed the little snow button just below the dials to control the temperature and I complained no longer, indeed the problem turned on its head and the temperature with it on can get very chilly on its lowest setting. The car also heats up very quickly and has a quick clearing of the windows when icy.
the car comes with central locking, you can select to only open the driver's door by pressing the open button, and pressing twice will open all the doors. The boot is adequate for a five door car and you can get a couple of suitcases and a set of golf clubs in if necessary.
In the back
The back seats are large; they are well constructed and give the passenger plenty of leg room. They are easy for putting child seats and the like in and give the impression of space when you're driving along.
I've been very impressed with my Corsa and after driving Fords for the last ten years would have no problem buying another at a later date. They are good on fuel consumption, low taxation and so far haven't had any need for maintenance beyond an oil change and water added.