The griffin-badged firm has finally entered the small premium sector with the Adam. Leon Poultney reports.
What is it?
This is Vauxhall’s uncharacteristically fashionable foray into trendy transport. The small city car can be personalised with a brain-boggling four billion trim combinations and the firm hopes to cash in on the lucrative market currently bossed by the likes of the Fiat 500, Mini and upmarket Audi A1.
Oh, it’s also the first Vauxhall to defy the everything-ends-with-the-letter-’a’ naming convention.
What’s under the bonnet?
Only two petrol engines will be available when the Adam hits showrooms in March and they both sup petrol. The entry level 1.2 unit produces 68bhp and a 1.4 will be offered in two states of tune: An 84bhp unit and one that produces 96bhp.
All engines are mated to a slick five-speed gearbox and even the most powerful coughs up 119g/km of nasty CO2 when the stop/start option box is ticked. It’s 129g CO2/km if customers don’t.
What’s the spec like?
Pretty good, really. Even the most basic models come with air conditioning, single slot CD sound system with Aux in and USB plus bags of standard safety equipment.
Customers will be spending hours navigating the options list as everything from front bonnet bars, mirror caps and interior foils can be swapped and changed but surprisingly, most of these options are fairly inexpensive. For example, a set of coloured “blades” for the alloy wheels are just £50 from your local dealer. Adam prices range from £11,255 to £14,295.
What’s it like to drive?
A bit of a mixed bag, to be honest. The 84bhp, 1.4 Adam in ‘Slam’ trim is definitely the sportiest looking model but the 17 and 18-inch alloys that come part of the package mean it rides on the ‘Sports’ chassis and suspension set-up.
The ride is just too crashy to justify ticking this option box. The larger engine is also a little pointless, as the 1.2 pretty much matches it for performance at city speeds. Customers would be better off sticking with this one.
What do the press think of it?
Auto Express were impressed, saying: ‘The Adam’s handling isn’t quite up to the Mini’s and Fiat’s TwinAir engine is much better, but in almost every other respect Vauxhall has got it spot-on’.
What do we think of it?
Vauxhall predict they will only sell around 10,000 Adams in the first year but we think it will be more. For all of its annoying quirkiness and migraine-inducing number of specifications, it’s actually a good looking, well made city car.
It definitely doesn’t offer the sort of engaging driving experience a Fiat 500 or Mini would and it’s absolutely tiny in the back but the style-savvy customer probably doesn’t care about that. The Adam is a welcome addition to this sector.