Our Cars: Vauxhall Ampera - February

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Vauxhall Ampera
Vauxhall Ampera
Vauxhall Ampera

Week ending February 15
Mileage 14200
Driven this week 124 miles


Vauxhall Ampera review

I gave a colleague a lift across London in our Vauxhall Ampera last week and his comments reminded me quite how good it looks compared with most cars on the road.

I’m not a big fan of the touch-sensitive centre console, but I have to admit it gives the interior a very futuristic feel that hints at the clever stuff under the bonnet.

Outside, you can’t help feeling that every other car maker on the planet should have copied the sleek, chiselled looks. Certainly the amount of glances you get from pedestrians and other drivers makes me think they should seriously consider it.

By Ed Keohane
Ed.Keohane@whatcar.com

Week ending February 15
Mileage 14200
Driven this week 124 miles


One of the great perks of working on What Car? is the contact you have with the readers. I got an email last week from an Ampera owner in Sweden, who'd noticed my moan about the lag when you pushed the accelerator and the car was running on only the petrol engine.

He suggested doing what he does - putting the car in mountain mode, which reserves the battery charge for 'full throttle' moments, with the car running on the engine alone the rest of the time.

It certainly fixes the lag, but it has the potential to play havoc with your running costs. The Ampera will do 40 miles or so for £1.45, because it's running on electricity supplied from the mains.

If you run it on petrol - ie in mountain mode - that same 40-mile journey is going to cost nearer £6. This gets even more confusing if you're on a long journey, instead of 40 miles, in which you'll use up all the electric charge no matter what, as it then starts to cost about the same either way, but mountain mode would make the car more responsive.

By Ed Keohane
Ed.Keohane@whatcar.com

Week ending February 8
Mileage 14076
Driven this week 400 miles


After a decent meal out, I dropped my friends back at their house before heading home. It sounds like a typical, fun evening on the town, but in this case there were five of us, and the Ampera has strictly four seats. So we had something approaching the story of the fox, the chicken and the grain, as I dropped a couple of people back home, then drove back to collect the remainder.

There are plenty of cars with only four seats on the UK market, but for one that emphasises the practical aspects of electric cars, the Ampera's lack of a rear bench has come up too many times as a problem.

Ironically, in almost all other ways, it continues to impress me.

By Ed Keohane
Ed.Keohane@whatcar.com

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