Style Comparison: Chevy Volt vs. Opel Ampera

As our 2011 Automobile of the Year, the Chevy Volt has impressed us on many levels. In Europe, the Volt is sold as the Ampera under GM’s Opel and Vauxhall brands. Though the cars are mechanically identical, the Ampera and Volt each get unique styling tailored for their respective markets. The Volt impressed us last year with its blend of technology, packaging, and design, and the car’s overseas counterpart is also easy on the eyes. But which one is the better-looking of the two? Check out the photos in the gallery below and decide for yourself.

Chevy’s version features a conservatively futuristic front end, with narrow HID headlights and a black lower front spoiler. The grille is comprised of horizontal slats with a simulated mesh pattern while the bowtie emblem is front and center, reminding you the car is part of the Chevy family. The Ampera’s front end, on the other hand, looks like it could have been styled by Alice Cooper, with the blacked-out portions of its fascia jutting down like running eye makeup. The Ampera also gets a slender chrome grille, which features either Vauxhall’s griffin emblem or the Opel lightning bolt. The lower intake opening is outlined in black for a visual tie-in with the black bumper accents below the headlights.

In back, the Volt has narrow taillights, a blacked-out hatch, and a squared-off rear bumper. The Ampera gets a more aggressively styled rear bumper, with reflectors molded to resemble vents, and a black cutout in the center that apes the look of a few sportier cars. The hatch is two-tone, with the portion below the horizontal chrome accent piece painted body-color, and the part between the taillights up to the rear spoiler blacked out.

Inside, it becomes harder to distinguish between the two models. Both cars use a glossy plastic for the door trim, and feature an interior layout that’s practically identical. The steering wheel on the Chevy has an opening in its central spoke, while the Ampera’s is of a more solid, conventional design.

Which one do you think has the styling edge? See our side-by-side photos in the gallery below and cast your vote in the comments section. (The Volt is on the left, the Ampera on the right.)