Vauxhall Ampera: a close encounter
Will the new Vauxhall Ampera usurp the Prius as the people’s green car? Stranger things have happened
Posted: 27 Aug 2010
The minicab trade will be pleased to hear this Prius still seats five. The Ampera doesn't. There are four chairs, arranged around a central spine of battery. That in itself gives the cabin a luxury feel, and GM has pushed that theme with a dash layout that will bring a smile to anyone with fond memories of the early-Eighties concept cars that we thought would never happen.
You've got two screens, the driver's one showing speedo, electric charge and range, and the usual eco-car multicoloured glow ‘driving coach': green if you're being good, through to brown and red if you're in what it deems too much of a hurry. You can tell this car is a prototype because while it's booting-up, the Linux penguin flashes up for a couple of seconds. The other screen is for climate, stereo, nav and so on. The climate and stereo switchgear is touch-sensitive. It's ever so slightly reminiscent of an American microwave oven, but we'll let that pass.