Vauxhall announces entry-level Ampera Earth

Lowest-spec Ampera still includes DAB, cruise control and Bluetooth, for less than £30,000

By Will Dron on July 11, 2012 4:27 PM

Vauxhall has announced details of its entry-level Ampera, completing the trio of trim levels available for this extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). Called ‘Earth’, this model is available for order today at £34,995 – that’s £29,995, once the UK government’s £5000 Plug-in Car Grant is taken into account.

Thankfully, at that still-high price the ‘Earth’ is not truly basic; it does have DAB digital radio with Bluetooth mobile connectivity, cruise control, and the seven-inch touchscreen found in the Positiv and Electron models (£32,250 and £33,995 respectively, including PiCG)

Ampera Earth customers will also get electronic climate control, remote keyless entry, front and rear electric windows, electric mirrors and 17” painted aluminium wheels. Exterior styling is unchanged, the Earth utilises an identical EREV powertrain to the other two models; and this model is available in four colours.

So what don’t you get? The Earth forgoes a leather steering wheel and seats – you’ll have to make do with sitting on black cloth instead – and you also don’t get front and rear park assist with rear view camera, available on Positiv and Electron models. The satellite navigation system, 30GB hard drive, DVD player and six-speaker Bose sound system found in the Electron are also absent.

Of course, it’s worth remembering that the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, which is identical to the Ampera give or take some exterior cosmetic differences, is available to buy for exactly the same money as the Ampera Earth (the Volt now costs a little more than its original price of £33,545, as stated in our previous comparison). The Volt comes with leather trim and parking sensors as standard.

However, Vauxhall has a more comprehensive customer care network to that offered by Chevrolet. Vauxhall says its network of 24 dedicated dealers ensures that “95 per cent of the target market will never be more than a one-hour drive from an Ampera specialist”; each retailer has two specially-trained Ampera experts in the sales department and two in aftersales, and they provide a free collection and delivery service for scheduled servicing, warranty and repair work. Every Ampera owner also gets direct contact with a named Ampera agent at Vauxhall HQ through its ‘My Ampera Services’ programme.

The Ampera comes with Vauxhall’s standard Lifetime/100,000 mile new vehicle warranty, plus an eight year/100,000 mile transferrable warranty on the battery system. The Volt, by comparison, comes with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty and the same eight year/100,000 mile on the battery. Chevrolet, however, throws in a six-year anti-perforation corrosion warranty and one year’s Chevrolet Roadside Assistance (provided by the AA).

So, what do you think of Vauxhall's entry-level Ampera spec and pricing? Let us know below.

Read our road tests: Vauxhall Ampera / Chevrolet Volt