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Vauxhall Nova (1983 - 1993)

Last updated 2 April 2013

Still readily available, easy to service, surprisingly tough
Unloved, aside from the fast ones


The Vauxhall Nova was the first proper attempt at a suprmini by its maker. The Chevette may have been offered in hatchback form, but it was rear-wheel drive and effectively a cramped 2+2 - the Nova, on the other hand, was a grown-up offering with as much practicality as any of its rivals. The Nova - or Corsa as it was known elsewhere - was available with 1.0-, 1.2- and 1.3-litre engines from launch but the range rapidly expanded over the coming years.

Five-door hatchback was useful, two- and four-door saloons were forgettable, while the 1989 1.6-litre GTE was easily capable of seeing off the Ford Fiesta XR2. And that was the main accomplishment of the Spanish-built  Nova - it beat the Ford Fiesta and Austin Metro on the road but never out of the showroom. But it paved the way for the phenomenonally successful Corsa.

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