Our Cars: Vauxhall Ampera - September
Week ending September 28
Mileage 8566 miles
Driven this week 85
Vauxhall Ampera review
One of the puzzling things about the Vauxhall Ampera is that for a £39,000 car (£34,000 if you get the government discount) it has some peculiar omissions or weak spots. One of these is the heating, which I find that I fiddle with constantly, trying to get what feels like a constant cabin temperature.
The bit that really does feel like a £40,000 car is the high-tech drivetrain. It pulls away smoothly however hard or gently your put your foot down. In town traffic, that driveability puts it alongside some very expensive cars.
By Ed Keohane
Week ending September 21
Driven this week: 1002 miles
I've done a lot of miles in the Ampera in the past week, many on the motorway, quite a few in town. On the whole, I like it – the car's range-extending powertrain definitely provides a glimpse of the future. It's smooth, unobtrusive and, in the right environment (ie in town) very efficient.
It's less good on the motorway, where the petrol engine revs hard, and fuel economy suffers accordingly, to the extent that I struggled to hit 40mpg at times.
Unfortunately, all these miles have taken a toll. The engine-management warning light has come on. I've checked that all the fluids are present and correct, so a trip to the dealer is imminent.
It's odd that, in a car with such an advanced powertrain, the thing that's causing an issue is the combustion engine – technology that’s been around for more than a century.
Week ending September 7
Driven this week: 46 miles
Visibility in our long-term Honda Civic (which I usually drive) isn't great, but it's worse in the Ampera.
Rear visibility is particularly bad, due to the narrow, tapering window and thick pillars.
Forward visibility is an even greater concern, because the huge front pillars cut across your line of sight at junctions.
Partly as a result of this compromised visibility, I find the Ampera unusually difficult to park - you just don't seem to get a good idea of where the edges of the car are.
By Leo Wilkinson
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