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Ampera, as my Co. car
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90 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi.

This week I took a test drive of the Ampera at the Go-Vauxhall dealership SW19.
I actually live on the Kent/Surrey borders so was a little surprised that the Crawley / Tumbridge Wells dealerships couldnt help me out!

The Ampera shall be leased by my company as a Co car for my new role; which means the car will be liveried/sign written.

So;
I arrived at the dealership early (force of habit) to have a nose around the car in the show room.
'Chris' saw me having a good look - including under the car, and came over.
He was straight away friendly and helpful. Paperwork out of the way we went to the rear garage where they had an Ampera on charge (I did have visions of turning up and it being flat!). It turns out they have only sold 8 this year from this dealership - so I shall be joining quite an exclusive club in the SE it would seem.

Turns out Chris has one for his own company car. Encouraging for me - he might actually know something about the car I thought ;-) If not a little annoying for the Managers that he had the lower car tax company car ;-)

We proceeded to walk around the car, discussed the charging options - I didnt realise they came with a charger with a 3pin plug - I assumed I'd have to get a 'proper charger' fitted; which incidently I am, thanks to British Gas!
On first impressions they car was actually quite a bit smaller than I anticipated. The paint work was very good (better than the BMW Mini I once had from new). The build quality was overall impressive, and I liked the accents of difference materials, logos and even the fact they had deliberately hiddent the exhaust pipe (thats why I was looking underneath in the show room). The mirrors were quite huge. It was clear Vauxhall had put effort into the design / aerodynamics.

Inside, I was pleased to see leather seats and the 'cozy' seating areas. This may not appeal to all - but I liked the idea of being cocooned within the driving position. And it had a centre arm rest :) if you have one yourself you'll understand why I was so pleased to see this had one too ;-)
When the 2 screens fired up and went through the start up stages / resetting I first thought -wow, my 4 year old Son is gonna love this - heck, I thought it was uber-cool. :)

We proceeded out of the garage - actually, it felt like we floated out of the garage!!
The sheer lack of any engine noise was weird, it was eery.. We drove out and round the corner to pull up so we could change seats. Before I was let loose I grilled him on all the screens and functions (I'm quite a geek and wish to understand everything to the nth degree). To be fair he really knew his stuff. Having the car you are trying to sell as your own company car is critical with something like the Ampera!

I was surprised to learn of all the different modes (sport, mountain, hold etc) I was expecting just another automatic running off batteries - this is NOT just another auto!
Off I drove.
It was a bit surreal driving (floating) around South London. I didnt bother changing the driving postion as it was Chris own car (and we all know how annoying that can be!). The steering was light, with not a great amount of feedback, but the runing circle was good. But as usual will take getting used to I am sure. The mirrors were very good, and yes the view out of the rear window is quite restricted by its shape/aerodynamics (but this is where the camera will come in use I am sure).
Lots of heads were turning as we went by - which was cool, I must admit.
When we got onto the A3 I had a chance to squeeze the throttle - within the recognised speed limits of course - WOW, it had some poke in sport mode ;-) Far more than anything I have driven, at low-ish speeds anyways. It really can pin you in your seat when you 'hoon it'. Again my 4 year old Son is gonna love this.

The regenerative breaking was really clever. Great idea to have 2 settings, ideal for stop start traffic - such as on Europes largest car park - the M25 - where I shall be spending a lot of time no doubt. The 'L' mode is quite aggresive on the engine breaking and will take getting use to - and might not be welcomed by passengers I would say...especially the kids who already feel car sick at times. But like I said ideal for daily driving in built up and heavy traffic areas.

I flicked on the petrol motor and honestly didnt hear it or feel it start up. Impressive. You do hear it at speed, say above 40 - but is not noisey or loud in anyway at all...certainly quiter than a diesel.
The test drive only lasted about 30mins and I was getting 202MPG ! Well, the petrol motor was only used for 2 miles.

Overall, I thought this was a real step change in terms of technolgies compared to anything else I have ever driven ! As a company car this makes a lot of sense. My role is within the renewables/heat pumps arena, so this car fits in perfectly with the overall impression my new company wishes to portray.
Not to mention the bragging rights!

Roll on 1st of July.
 

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3,163 Posts
Really good to hear a positive dealership experience - all too often people only post when things go wrong (not just here, on all car forums) so it's nice to hear a happy story! You're going to love it, I promise you - the effect never wears off. Even when slogging through the centre of London in rush hour a week back, I still got 50mpg on the petrol engine alone after the batteries had run down - try doing that in a "normal" car! :)
 

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SU-EV convert
Jaguar iPace 2020
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367 Posts
You were more lucky than me, Chris took ages to find the key of the car, which was out of charge and out of petrol and we went round just Earlsfield for about 10 minutes. All that with an appointment booked for the test drive. I was seriously not impressed. At least he didn't lie when he told us he was getting this car as his company car.
 

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SU-EV convert
Jaguar iPace 2020
Joined
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367 Posts
No, really liked the car but decided on a outlander phev. The wise one wouldn't agree to another 4seater. She only accepts it in current car because it's a cabriolet.
 

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Ampera, as my Co. car
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90 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Just been called by Chris to say mine and another customers (yours I'd presume! @Chris Kemp ) should be ready today/tomorrow - just asking if I want the chin spoiler removed or not.
Would be a nice suprise if it were mine - as I dont start my new job until July..... :-(
 
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