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Vauxhall Ampera (2012 - 2014)

reviewed by Anonymous on 20 July 2018

Positiv 5dr CVT Auto Hatchback

reviewed by tuneless wonder on 1 May 2014
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A silent marvel

I wanted one of these 3 years ago before they were on sale here so I bought a Toyota Prius instead. This year they were available and Vauxhall were offering a discount of nearly £3000 plus the Government grant of £5000 so I jumped at one.

It is almost identical in size to the Prius so it is easy to compare the two. The Prius has 5 seats, the Ampera 4. I am tall but the driver's seat goes a long way back so I have perfect leg room. However this leaves no room behind me so my car is effectively a 3-seater. So I keep one rear seat permanently down which is perfect as I am a bass player and it is easy to carry my gear without fuss.

The Toyota was quiet; the Ampera is silent. At 60mph on a good road all one can hear is a hiss of air past the car. It is like watching a video through the windscreen. I have to remind myself I am actually driving. Even with the petrol generator running it cannot be heard above the tyre noise.

The design is attractive and draws admiring glances. My car is a pearl colour with white trim and black leather upholstery. The finish is first class and the whole package is luxurious.

When it is running on petrol alone it does about 44mpg. However I live on an island so have not used any petrol since I brought it home. The equivalent in electricity is about 130mpg.

Performance. It has a 'hooligan' setting (sport mode) which gives a kind of logarithmic acceleration in that it just seems to get faster and faster. It corners flat and holds the road well. On twisty roads, a combination of Sports setting and the L gear position gives one-pedal driving that is very satisfying. (The L position gives much stronger regenerative braking)

Range. On cold dark wet days the battery range is about 28 miles. On warm sunny dry days about 50 miles. I have a charge point in my driveway that was fitted free-of-charge via British Gas. I have also fitted a watt/hour meter in the distribution board in my garage so am recording how much electricity it uses.
Finally the negative. The interior is lovely but the 'Infotainment' centre is an ergonomic design disaster. It is impossible to adjust the heating or the radio station without stopping first. Not only is the screen touch-sensitive but so is the panel below. If you lean on one to touch the other something entirely different appears and you simply cannot sort it out while driving and keeping one's eyes on the road. There are switches overhead with tiny symbols on them. These are set flush into the ceiling and cannot be found in the dark by feel alone. The whole centre consul reminds me of 1990's video recorders. There are so many different features that only a child can understand them.
That apart it is a wonderful car and one that I plan to keep for a very long time.

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reviewed by old clavian on 23 January 2014
reviewed by P4man on 27 October 2013

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About this car

Road TaxA
MPG235.4 mpg
Real MPG69.4%

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