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Funky Adam urban crossover a little Rock chic

06:43 08 January 2015

Vauxhall Adam Rocks is an urban mini-crossover that debuts new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine.

Vauxhall Adam Rocks is an urban mini-crossover that debuts new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine.

STUART COLLINS

Adam is now a macho man with Vauxhall creating a new city chic crossover full of fun and character, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

From cute city car to urban warrior – Vauxhall has turned its funky Adam into a full-on action man with the Adam Rocks Air.

With its chunky body-protection kit and sport utility vehicle-inspired looks, Vauxhall set out to create an urban mini crossover that is big on fun and character.

A huge range of customising options for personalising your Adam Rocks means the sky’s the limit – as is a standard full-length canvas roof, which opens and closes in seven seconds at up to 85mph.

But it’s not just a case of bolting on some anthracite-coloured cladding and silver skid plates under the bumpers to give it a tough, muscular look. The Adam Rocks sits on a chassis that is raised by 15mm with a wider stance with the concept inspired by agile parkour athletes who rapidly move through urban areas, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping and climbing. Fine by me but I’ll stick with my mate Adam.

Vauxhall Adams Rocks

■ Price: Adams Rocks Air 1.0 Turbo £16,695 on the road (Rocks Air from £14,695; Adam from £11,455)

■ Engine: 998cc, 115PS, three-cylinder turbo petrol

■ Performance: 0-62mph 9.9 seconds; top speed 121mph

■ MPG: Urban 44.8; extra urban 64.2; combined 55.4

■ CO2 emissions: 119g/km

■ Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 16%

■ Insurance group: 10E (out of 50)

■ Warranty: Lifetime or 100,000-miles for first owner

■ Will it fit in the garage? Length 3,747mm; width (excluding door mirrors) 1,966mm; height 1,493mm

The chassis has been modified and retuned including dampers, springs, rear suspension geometry and steering – while 17 or 18in alloy wheels make the most of the higher, wider looks.

The Adam is good looking but the Rocks version is a real head-turner.

Performance has also been perked up with the Adam Rocks launching new 90 and 115PS 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol Ecotec engines – also in the new Corsa and forthcoming Viva – alongside the 70PS 1.2-litre and 87 and 100PS 1.4-litre petrol units.

The more powerful 1.0-litre turbo engine is a pleasure to drive. With 115PS on tap at the top end and decent low-down pulling, peaking from 1,800rpm, it’s both flexible and free-revving so is as happy trundling along in urban traffic as it is munching motorway miles with the six-speed manual gearbox keeping the revs down. Expect around 50mpg overall driven sensibly but a heavy right foot will soon bring it down to 40mpg.

Unlike many three-cylinder units, it’s also quiet and particularly smooth and refined with little hint of the usual thrummy triple engine note. Instead it’s more of a throaty sporty one when you wind it up which adds to the driving pleasure.

It’s just a shame that road roar isn’t as well contained as engine noise. My test car was fitted with the optional bigger 18in wheels with low-profile tyres which resulted in so much rumble on poor surfaces that you had to raise your voice to be heard by a passenger or turn the audio system up to drown it out.

But the ride hasn’t suffered from the chassis tweaks and, apart from a little pitter-patter on broken surfaces, the Adam Rocks makes comfortable progress. It also handles competently – nimble through corners with good grip – but while steering is light and easy at low speeds (there’s an even lighter city mode for parking) it’s rather vague at speed and lacks feedback.

The two rear seats are really only suitable for children, unless adults up front sit near the fascia, and the sloping roof limits rear headroom.

The 170-litre hatchback boot is well shaped but deep which means a high sill to lift loads over. Rear seat backs split 50/50 and fold flat but there’s a big step up from the boot floor. The most annoying thing is having to manually lift the parcel shelf – forget to put it down and you can hardly see out of the rear screen.

Front sports seats have good support for long-distance comfort and hold you firm when pressing on along winding roads. The driving position took a little getting used to but, with plenty of adjustment for both wheel and seat, I eventually found the desired set-up.

The funky looks continue inside with jazzy trim and a user-friendly fascia while the IntelliLink infotainment system, from £275, allows a host of connectivity possibilities via mobile phones.

Standard kit includes air-conditioning (climate control is an extra £300), digital radio, Bluetooth, cruise control and stability control.

With small car sales seeing big gains, the Adam Rocks is an interesting concept that oozes character so it stands out from the crowd.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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