Vauxhall Ampera Road Test

Vauxhall Ampera

Vauxhall Ampera Review

Vauxhall Ampera ReviewVauxhall Ampera Review | Part Two

the Ampera is a green car that is discreet about its eco credentials

Safety and Security

Eight airbags are standard in the Ampera. Because it operates much of the time in electric mode, and does so almost silently, there is an audible chirping sound available for the driver to activate as a warning to pedestrians in congested urban areas. Anti-submarining seats, seatbelt pre-tensioners and belt force limiters are all standard. There is a also standard theft deterrent alarm system that activates automatically when the car is locked.


The Ampera’s standard radio kit comes with steering wheel controls. There is an optional upgrade to a Bose premium system with a DAB tuner, packaged with satellite navigation, voice recognition and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. Included is a ‘Timeshift’ function that provided recording of up to 20 minutes of radio time for later playback. The Bose system includes tweeters in the car’s A-pillars, woofers in the front doors and spare wheel well, and an amplifier under the boot floor that delivers eight channels of customised equalisation. The satnav is a seven-inch touch-screen colour display and includes dynamic route guidance.

  • Toyota Prius Plug-In
  • Honda Insight
  • Lexus CT200h
  • Nissan Leaf
What We Liked
  • Electric car with no range anxiety
  • Much more practical than  pure electric car
  • Seamless switch from electric motor to petrol engine
  • Visual muscle in body design
  • Bold cabin styling
  • Very modest Benefit-in-Kind company car taxation
  • Good level of standard equipment
What We Disliked
  • Too expensive
  • Poorer range than equivalent size diesel car
  • No manual, CVT auto only
What We'd Like To See
  • The price come down

The Ampera shows a new way forward in eco cars. Around town and for most urban driving it operates as an electric car. The 1.4 litre petrol engine provides worthwhile back-up to supplement the electric battery pack. When the battery’s charge runs low, the petrol engine cuts in automatically to extend the car’s range and keep it mobile beyond the scope of a purely electric vehicle.

With normal-looking styling that blends into the traffic, the Ampera is a green car that is discreet about its eco credentials. With low running costs, very modest thirst for fossil fuel, congestion charge exemption, low BIK company car tax and a free annual road tax disc, it has much going for it. Apart from the high initial price, that is. We rate it a very interesting car that is good for the planet, but too dear.

24 October 2011 Melanie Carter
Vauxhall Ampera ReviewVauxhall Ampera Review | Part Two
Vauxhall Ampera Road Test Data
Model ReviewedVauxhall Ampera
Body TypeHatchback
ColourSpice Red
Performance (manufacturers data) 
0 - 62 mph9.0 Seconds
Top Speed 100 mph
TransmissionCVT Automatic
Fuel TypeElectric/Petrol
CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures) g/km
Economy (NEDC Figures) 
Extra UrbanN/A
Insurance GroupTBC
Euro NCAP RatingTBC
WarrantyLifetime / 100,000 Miles
Price (when tested on the 24/10/11)£33,995

The information contained within this Vauxhall Ampera review may have changed since publication on the 24 October 2011. The actual model road tested may feature options and functionality specific to that model, which may not be available as on option or be fitted to other models in the range. Options may not be available on UK specification cars. You may wish to check with your local Vauxhall dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce this car review in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018