Vauxhall: Forward thinking

Vauxhall, the UK part of the mighty General Motors company, which trades as Opel in Europe and Holden in Australia, has long been a part of the British motoring landscape.

There are eight models on offer in the Vauxhall passenger car line-up – the Agila, Corsa, Meriva, Astra, Ampera, Zafira, Insignia and Antara – starting with the small Agila city car up to the crossover Antara. Within the models, there are popular variants, such as the Astra GTC, which is a favourite with hot hatch fans and the Zafira Tourer, which has become a much-favoured people carrier for families. The VXR line-up, which includes the Insignia, Astra and Corsa models, is the performance car part of the Vauxhall brand.

In its quest to move towards a low carbon future, Vauxhall has launched the Ampera, an extended range electric car, with much fanfare. The big selling point of the Ampera is the addition of a petrol engine which takes over if the electric motor's battery runs out of charge, thus eliminating the issue of range anxiety and has the potential to offer around 300 miles of low emissions motoring, including around 50 miles of zero-emissions travel in the pure electric mode.

Also at the clean, green end of the Vauxhall spectrum is the ecoFLEX range of models. Vauxhalls wearing the ecoFLEX badge have embraced a range of leading edge environmentally friendly technologies, such as low emissions engines, weight-reducing innovations that don't impact on the strength and safety of the car, and the use of recycled materials.

Vauxhall's extensive van line-up also offers ecoFLEX technology across the Vivaro, Combo, Corsavan, Astravan and Movano models.

Future Vauxhall models slated for the UK market include the Mokka SUV, the zero-emissions Flextreme concept car, the Flextreme GT/E high performance eco-friendly car and the Vauxhall Adam, a soon-to-be-released small car set to rival the likes of Mini.