We’ve seen this before, in everything from the Tesla Roadster to Peugeot’s 3008 Hybrid4: cars with large battery packs seldom ride well. Nissan’s Leaf is an exception; the Vauxhall Ampera is not.

We’ll not beat around the bush: the Ampera is not an engaging car to drive, nor is it an especially deftly damped one. It is not uncomfortable, and it is not unpleasant, but its ride never becomes better than acceptable, while its steering lacks fluidity and consistency.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
Keen drivers will appreciate the Ampera's relatively unintrusive ESP system

While neither chassis nor steering are lively communicators, the ESP system is pleasingly unintrusive. Bottom line: you buy an Ampera because you like what it does in terms of effortless progress, not because you like the way it drives.

Although it had only 36 miles of battery power showing at the start of our performance tests, the Vauxhall managed two sets of standing start tests, noise tests, wet and dry braking tests and wet handling tests before finally depleting its batteries during our dry handling tests and defaulting to ‘reduced performance mode’.

At that point it was as if it were operating on about half of maximum power at higher speeds and loads. But before then the Ampera showed plenty of performance, and certainly more than most petrol-electric hybrids.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week

  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    21 May 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs
  • BMW M3 CS 2018 review hero front
    First Drive
    20 May 2018
    The CS meters out ruthless performance with clinical control. It’s questionable value for money, but a stellar drivers’ car, and a fitting finale for the F80 M3
  • BMW M5 2018 long-term review hero front
    First Drive
    20 May 2018
    We rate the new M5 as best in class. Will we think the same after three months with it?
  • Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    18 May 2018
    Porsche seeks to answer its Cayman critics with a new range-topping model
  • Jeep Wrangler (JL) Unlimited Rubicon 2018 review hero front
    First Drive
    18 May 2018
    New electronic technologies meet traditional mechanical strengths to deliver peerless off-road prowess with added everyday appeal