Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The Ampera uses two power sources. We’ll start with the 148bhp electric drive unit that’s powered by a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery. When the battery’s fully charged (this takes around four hours from a domestic plug) you can complete around 50 miles on electric power alone. As soon as the electric power runs out the 84bhp 1.4-litre petrol generator kicks in to allow you to continue driving.

The upside is that the car is really quiet in electric motor and that’s ideal when you are commuting through busy town centres. It’s not short of grunt either. Maximum peak power of 370Nm offers more than enough oomph when nipping to the shops or on the school run. When the petrol engine takes over, you do notice it straight away. The petrol engine is obviously noisier but it’s no louder than any other conventional car.

The Ampera has a top speed of 100mph and will complete the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in nine seconds – that’s quicker than the Nissan LEAF. However, performance is not what this car is all about. The range-extending petrol engine eliminates that range anxiety and allows the driver to enjoy the journey. This combination of electric power and a combustion engine makes the Ampera an interesting alternative to rivals.

Weighing about 1,700kg the Ampera feels a tad heavy, but there is very little body roll when cornering. This is largely due to the position of the battery which is mounted low and centrally. The Ampera feels agile for a large car but the steering lacks feel.