FROM A DRIVER’S point of view, the Ampera is a very well packaged car. The driving position is good, there’s decent headroom for a six-footer, the seat is comfortable and all the controls are within reach. That means it’s a relaxing car to be in for long trips.
I struggle slightly with the touch-sensitive controls for the infotainment and climate systems, but once you get used to the buttons not moving, there aren’t any useability issues, and the single flat panel looks attractive.
However, as I’ve discovered during these winter evenings, the shallowly raked windscreen means visibility isn’t as good as it could be, so you have to concentrate extra hard when driving through town at night.
The headlights don’t light the road particularly well, either.
If it was any other car, 45mpg would be a decent figure in optimal cruising conditions, so Vauxhall’s achievement is inspiring.
However, the low-rolling-resistance tyres, fitted to help the Ampera achieve this impressive fuel economy, aren’t that grippy on wet roads.
The combination of this, the weight of the car (more than 1700kg unladen) and a very snatchy brake pedal means the ABS activates ail-too frequently in wet weather.