Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Vauxhall Ampera hatchback (2012-2014)

"The Vauxhall Ampera offers it all: a long enough electric-only range for the vast majority of daily journeys combined with the ability to cover long distances, too."

Carbuyer Rating

3.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.7 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Low running costs
  • Stylish, futuristic looks
  • Avoids range limitation of pure electric cars

Cons

  • High list price
  • Only four seats
  • Relaxing rather than fun

The world is changing and the number of electric, hybrid and range-extending cars available in the UK is growing every year. The Vauxhall Ampera is one of the best so far – so good, in fact, that we named it our best hybrid or electric car of the year in 2013.

Advertisement - Article continues below

It has rivals in all shapes and sizes due to its unique layout – from hybrids like the Toyota Prius to all-electric models like the Nissan Leaf. The closest rival would be the BMW i3 Range Extender, which has similar running gear to the Ampera.

The Ampera’s design is sleek and futuristic, hinting at the advanced technology underneath, so you and others know exactly what you’re driving.

This car emits less CO2 than any conventional hybrid or efficient diesel models on the market, so it's exempt from paying road tax and the London Congestion Charge. You can plug it straight into the mains to charge the battery (which takes just shy of four hours) and then drive using only the electric motor for up to 50 miles. So routine daily trips in this car shouldn’t use any petrol at all.

If you want to go further, a petrol generator takes over to charge the batteries, resulting in potential fuel economy of over 200mpg and CO2 emissions of just 27g/km. And on top of these green credentials, the Vauxhall Ampera delivers strong performance. However, it isn’t as quick as the lighter BMW i3.

Inside, the Ampera is treated to a very high-quality cabin, with two screens and touch-sensitive buttons across the whole dashboard. The two large monitors control most of the functions; one is in the usual spot and displays the sat-nav and infotainment systems, while the other is located behind the steering wheel, notifying you of how much charge is left and what your current fuel economy figure is.

The Ampera comes in just two specifications, Positiv and Electron, but both models are generously equipped. It’s definitely worth a look for green-car buyers, thanks to its lack of range anxiety, but it’s awfully pricey, even after the £5,000 government grant for electric vehicles. Its low running costs will come into play for high-mileage and company-car drivers, but there are cheaper options if all you do is city driving or short trips.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
21 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise
Audi RS e-tron GT front quarter
News
17 Jun 2024

New Audi e-tron GT now has 912bhp in RS Performance guise

More on Ampera

Huge discounts on Vauxhall Ampera
News
26 Mar 2014

Huge discounts on Vauxhall Ampera

Range-extending hybrid Vauxhall Ampera available through dealers with £10k off
Vauxhall Ampera gets price cut
News
10 Sep 2013

Vauxhall Ampera gets price cut

The price of the Vauxhall Ampera plug-in hybrid has dropped by £3,500
Escape the new London Congestion Charge
News
27 Jun 2013

Escape the new London Congestion Charge

Register by 28 June to qualify for three years London Congestion Charge exemption

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024