It's the little car that has won a big place in the hearts of the nation. With 2.1million UK sales behind it since 1993, the Vauxhall Corsa is much-loved by many and is now taking a bow in an all-new guise.

Through four generations, the Corsa has racked up the sales – a total of 13.5m across Europe – and this popularity shows no sign of abating. The outgoing, but evergreen, Corsa E was the UK’s best-selling car last month, even though its basic profile has been around since 2006. 

The latest version features high efficiency petrol and diesel models, as well as the fully-electric Corsa-e, which will come at the start of next year, and is new from its headlights to its tail-lights. 

The company says every engine variant of the new model emits less CO2 than the most efficient versions of the outgoing Corsa and all powertrain options offer reduced fuel consumption, but improved flexibility and refinement. 

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The all-new Corsa has also achieved a 10 per cent weight loss, with the new model coming in at just 980kg - up to 108kg less than the outgoing one. Despite slimming down, the Corsa retains similar dimensions to the outgoing model at 4.06metres with five doors as standard

Asian Image was invited to Goodwood, Sussex, to try out the car a month before it reaches the first customers. First impressions were of winning looks, the car boasting dynamic style, and detailing which places it firmly in the modern Vauxhall family.

The first variant I tried, on an hour-long route, was an Ultimate Nav Turbo Auto, with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox. Performance figures are: 0-60mph in 10.2 seconds and a top speed of 119mph with a combined fuel consumption of 45.6 to 48.7mpg and 99g/km of CO2 (manufacturer’s figures).

With its leather upholstery and wealth of kit the car delivered the kind of luxury that was once unknown in small cars.

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Features included a great satnav system on a 10in touchscreen with a next-turn display in the instrument binnacle, a connectivity suite including Bluetooth, six-speaker sound system, climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, rain sensitive windscreen wipers, automatic headlight control, electrical adjustment for the driver’s seat, LED ambient lighting, electric parking brake, rear-view camera, parking sensors, heated door mirrors, adaptive cruise control.

We had the opportunity of a short night-drive and the cars’ Intellilux LED matrix headlights were a boon on country roads.

Price: £25,990 (£26,640 with options)

Next up was an Elite Nav Premium Turbo, sporting the same engine but with a six-speed manual gearbox, which helps trim the 0-60mph time to 9.3 seconds and boost the top speed to 121mph, while returning 47.9mpg-52.3mpg combined and giving 96g/km of CO2 (manufacturers figures). Specification and features were broadly similar to the previous motor but this car lacked the likes of leather upholstery, electrical adjustment for the driver’s seat and heated steering wheel.

On the road, both cars felt confidence-inspiring with plenty of go despite the relatively small engine size. The automatic transmission was smooth and responsive, with well-chosen ratios, while the manual box was slick-changing. 

Price: £20,350 (£21,000 with options)