Vauxhall Adam: car review
A car that’s great looking but too uncomfortable.
What is it?
This represents Vauxhall’s attempt to take on the likes of the Fiat 500, MINI and Citroen DS3. It’s named after Adam Opel, founder of Vauxhall’s German parent.
How safe is it?
Although it hasn’t been EuroNCAP crash-tested yet, the Adam comes with a comprehensive array of airbags and technology which should comfortably win it five stars.
Who should buy one?
Check your needs carefully. If you definitely don’t need a practical car, and like strange colour options (such as White My Fire or James Blond), then by all means take it seriously.
James Luckhurst’s review: Good Motoring, Summer 2013
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
There’s a choice of three petrol engines: a 1.2 with 69bhp, and two variants of the 1.4, one with 86bhp, the other with 99. For a car that shouted sporty, we were happy enough on busy urban roads, but soon felt underwhelmed by its performance when there was a chance to ‘open it up’ a bit .
Around town (the environment that suits it best), it was nippy and easily manoeuvrable. Out on country roads its grip was assured and its cornering stable, though there was little feedback through the steering wheel. The ultra-firm ride soon made itself known – the faster we went, the bumpier the ride became. This didn’t improve during a long motorway journey that seemed a bit too much like hard work. After two hours without a break, there were sore bottoms and aching backs. Higher than expected levels of engine noise probably didn’t help. For a model so small and light, we were expecting a little more in the way of satisfaction from the performance.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Keep the back seats for the nippers, please. Don’t try getting even average height adults in. But that’s not to say there isn’t space, because there is some, and it’s well thought out. The problem is that space rather favours the driver and front-seat passenger, who are unlikely to have many moans about what’s above them, in front of them and to their sides. Beyond that, though, don’t make plans to accommodate your friends in the back, unless they’re accomplished gymnasts used to tucking and bending limbs into the sort of contortions made famous by cartoonist Gerald Hoffnung. Unless, of course, you’re willing to shove your seat forward to reduce their complaining. Headroom in the back is severely restricted and legroom is cramped.
Small cars don’t have big boots, and the Adam is no exception. You won’t fit a lot into a space of 170 litres. If you fold the rear seats, you can boost this to nearer 500 litres, but you won’t get a flat floor.
Safety standards on the Adam seem to be excellent. Standard features include an enhanced ESP system; there is also Hill Start Assist (HSA) and a cruise control set-up that includes a speed limiting capability.
The airbag line-up includes two at the front, two at the side and two curtain airbags. We like the look of its second generation Advanced Park Assist; just press a button on the dashboard and the computer will identify a big enough parking space and guide you in.
Choose between the JAM, GLAM and SLAM models. The JAM offers 16-inch alloys, air conditioning, leather-covered steering wheel and cruise control, as well as digital radio and Bluetooth. GLAM gives you climate control, LED daytime running lights and a glazed sunroof. SLAM brings 17-inch alloys, sport suspension, sporty seats and a two-tone roof. Beyond these options, the opportunities to personalise the equipment and accessories are seemingly limitless.
Price-wise, the Adam costs about the same as a Fiat 500, and is cheaper than the Citroen DS3. At a cost of £12,650, the entry-level 1.2-litre 16v GLAM claims 53.3mpg. The more capable, top-of-the-range 1.4-litre SLAM (£14,895) has stop-start technology which helps bring down its emissions to 119g/km. However, the Fiat 500 TwinAir manages sub-100, and delivers considerably better fuel economy, too. New tyres for the 17-inch alloys will also be costly.
The Vauxhall Adam is a great looking little car, but it’s too uncomfortable, especially on long journeys.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-60mph in 12.5 seconds
Economy: 51.4mpg combined
Insurance: Group 6
Tax: Band D (£105 standard rate)
Figures for the 1.4 GLAM Style Pack