Vauxhall Adam Road Test

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Since the introduction of their Nova and Corsa models, Vauxhall has more or less dominated the small car market. Likewise, with the reintroduction of the Viva, Vauxhall has an increasing presence in the affordable, compact range so the introduction of the Adam made logical sense. Whilst the others catered for a cross-section of those looking for a sensible and affordable small car, the Adam has allowed Vauxhall to instantly inject fashion and style to a level where buyers can personalise their car to almost mind boggling levels.


From its happy face and bug-eyed front lights, the rounded, smiling rear end, the reversing and fog lights almost dimple like in looks and positioning, friendly countenance, 16” alloys and 195/55 rubber and distinct two-tone paintwork, this small hatchback injects not only its own distinct looks but an overall sense of joy back into small car motoring. Inside the cabin the exterior colour schemes continue, a comfortable pair of high backed seats providing ample and spacious accommodation for driver and front passenger.


Regrettably, those who might be sat in the rear aren’t quite as well catered for, leg room at times verging on none existent in respect of adults, the rear bench best reserved for children or those of a more diminutive stature. Elsewhere within the Adam, modern yet subtle textured patterns cover the soft touch surfaces whilst door panels add divergent contrast whilst the bright and easy to read red on black and white instrumentation sit just behind the thick rimmed, multi-function leather sports steering wheel. Centrally mounted, the touch screen relays comprehensive information along with Bluetooth and OnStar, Vauxhall’s excellent connectivity system.

Luggage space isn’t overly plentiful, just 170 litres on tap. Dropping one or other sides of the 50:50 split rear seats does noticeably increase usable space to a degree, unless necessity dictates, unless you’re regular passengers are children, treating the Adam as a two or three seater actually makes far more sense.


Under the short, clamshell bonnet, petrol engine sizes range from the 3-cylinder 1.0 litre up to a 1.4-litre VVT unit. The real gem though is the 998cc as tested, the transverse mounted turbo-charged motor delivering an enthusiastic 115hp and 170Nm of torque via a positive 6-speed manual transmission direct to the front wheels. Returning a mean average all-round driving consumption of 46.8mpg, the Adam easily returns 54mpg during motorway work, the 38 litre fuel tank good for well over 400 miles per refill. Do note though, enthusiastic use of the throttle does have a mildly negative effect.


Behind the wheel the Adam offers all the big car refinements, city weight 2.8 turns lock to lock power steering on demand, cruise control, stability and climate control, parking assist and tyres monitoring systems. And with the eager 1-litre engine, excellent visibility and the comfort of the front seating the Adam Unlimited as tested is as equally at home around a tight urban environment as it is on the motorway or back roads. The overall feel is one of stability and easy, the ride even and settled. With reasonably well balanced handling the Adam can unexpectedly convert into understeer with little or no warning if cornering hard. Not a major issue for most drivers, it does tend to highlight the fact that the Adam is more about style and image than performance motoring, something better left to Vauxhall’s other small models.


Where the Adam wins out is in the fact that apart from the engine options and basic variants, there’s no such thing as a standard car. With numerous paint combination and wheel options and a wide variety of other possible choices, it’s rare you’ll find two Adam exactly the same. Personalising the Adam of your particular choice is also remarkable easy since once you’ve made your choices Vauxhall do all the rest during the build.


Prices range from £12,420 for the ostensibly entry level 1.2 VVT ‘Jam’ rising to £17,935 for the 150hp ‘S’, the Unlimited ecoFLEX seen here on the road for £16,445 with the various options of the carbon Pack, Horn alloy wheels, Intellilink and OnStar. Not the cheapest small car if you start adding extra extras but as regards fresh, fashionable looks and the joy of driving, Vauxhall’s Adam hits the mark in both design and quality. However, should it be practicality you’re looking it’s probably the Viva or the Corsa you’ll need to look at.



By; Mark Stone



The Little Vauxhall Christened Adam Road Test