In-depth Reviews

Vauxhall Ampera hatchback (2012-2014) - Engines, drive & performance

Power delivery is instant, but the Vauxhall Ampera is more of a relaxed cruiser than a sports car

Carbuyer Rating

3.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.7 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.0 out of 5

The Vauxhall Ampera was never designed to be a fast or exciting car, but that never seems to be an issue anyway. Discreet start-up and silent running when in battery-only mode mean the Ampera isn’t a threatening car on the road, despite its unusual powertrain. 

There’s very little body lean when driving through corners and handling is pretty decent for this kind of car, but the Ampera is better suited to more relaxed driving. All the weight is kept inside the wheelbase, so the extra bulk compared to a conventionally fuelled car isn’t as obvious as in some rivals. You do still feel a bit of weight in hard cornering, but the wide tyres mean there’s plenty of grip.

You need to be careful when driving the Ampera over speed bumps or sudden dips and crests, as the low ‘chin’ spoiler can scrape on the road. The rubber trim along the bottom takes most of the force, but it’s still a little worrying from behind the wheel.

Vauxhall Ampera electric motor

The Ampera's wheels are driven by an electric motor that takes power from a lithium-ion battery. It produces 150bhp and accelerates the car very quickly, as electric motors deliver full power instantaneously, rather than gradually like a standard petrol or diesel engine. The Ampera can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and has a limited top speed of 100mph. The lighter and more powerful BMW i3 is quicker, though. 

Electric-only driving range is 50 miles, but the 1.4-litre petrol generator allows you to keep going beyond that by supplying electricity to the motor when the battery runs down. There’s a constant hum when it’s in use, but it’s not intrusive or annoying. The direct power on tap means there’s none of the lag or power gaps sometimes felt in petrol or diesel cars.

Most Popular

Nissan Ariya vs Volvo XC40 vs Volkswagen ID.4 - which is best?
Hero image
News
11 Aug 2022

Nissan Ariya vs Volvo XC40 vs Volkswagen ID.4 - which is best?

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N spotted testing
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
News
11 Aug 2022

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N spotted testing

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
MG HS
Deals
12 Aug 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
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
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022