Our Cars: Vauxhall Ampera - October

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Vauxhall Ampera
Vauxhall Ampera
Vauxhall Ampera

Week ending October 26
Mileage 9630
Driven this week: 380 miles


Vauxhall Ampera review

Every so often you need to use a sat-nav. I can spend weeks without looking at a map, but during a weekend trip in our Vauxhall Ampera I found that we weren’t going to make it without help. So I pushed the 'Dest' button and started putting in the postcode on the touch-screen. I got as far as entering the fourth character when it jumped to giving me a list of incomplete postcodes, and I realised that the Ampera doesn't support full UK postcodes.

It's beyond belief that a car this sophisticated - the engine, motor and gearbox are way ahead of anything else on sale - doesn’t have a sat-nav fully configured for the country it's sold in.

By Ed Keohane
Ed.Keohane@whatcar.com

Week ending October 19
Mileage 9250
Driven this week: 250 miles


Now that it's dark when I drive home – and sometimes when I leave for work in the morning – I find that the battery range of the Ampera has dropped, as it powers the headlights and often the seat and cabin heaters. This not a big deal, because there's a petrol engine to extend the range, but I can no longer make it there and back on a single charge.

Fuel consumption in town is hovering at a very respectable 45mpg once the battery is flat. My only real concern in town driving is braking. The brake pedal is pretty abrupt as it swaps from using the motor to using the actual brakes, and on two occasions on wet, leafy roads this has caused the wheels to lock momentarily.

By Ed Keohane
Ed.Keohane@whatcar.com

Week ending October 12
Mileage 9000
Driven this week: 380 miles


The Ampera's button-free infotainment system has many confusing and irritating foibles, but I think I've found my 'favourite'.

There's a switch (well, marking) on the centre console that says 'Info' on it. What with the Ampera being so clever and complicated, I was imagining that this function would display all sorts of intricate and interesting information about how the car is behaving.

I was disappointed. When you push the switch, the screen goes black, getting rid of all the information that was already there, and replaces it with only the time and date. As info goes, that's pretty basic. Does anyone have the number for the Trade Descriptions people?

By Ivan Aistrop
Ivan.Aistrop@whatcar.com

Week ending October 5
8620 miles
Driven this week 80 miles


The ease of charging and glitch-free smoothness of the motor and engine are this car's biggest assets. However, considering the price – £39,000 minus a £5000 Government discount – I'm amazed there's not more technology in the cabin. For instance, I can't play music from my phone without using a 3.5mm lead.

As an owner you can get used to that kind of restriction, but it's certainly not competitive.

By Ed Keohane
Ed.Keohane@whatcar.com

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Our Cars: Vauxhall Ampera - September

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