Vauxhall Adam dedicated follower of fashion
- Credit: Vauxhall
Vauxhall wants you to get up close and personal with Adam, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
If you are one of those people who find themselves easily spoiled for choice and have difficulty making a decision then Adam is probably not the ideal car for you.
Not that I am trying to put you off Vauxhall's debut entry into the urban-chic city car class, it's just that Adam is the height of fashion.
In the same vein as the MINI, Fiat 500 and Citroen DS3, Adam is about trendy personalisation to make it an owner's a transport of delight.
There are so many customising options, styling packs and trim kits that Vauxhall admits there could be four billion possible combinations. Fortunately it has limited the reality to more than one million to make life – and ordering – easier.
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Available in three trim levels – entry-level Jam which is fashionable and colourful, Glam which is elegant and sophisticated and range-topping racy and sporty Slam, eye-catching Adam certainly looks the part.
It's a cute character, shunning the retro route of rivals, with its 'floating' roof allowing two-tone colour combinations – a key focus for the mind-boggling customising options, more than any other car.
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I am not going to go into great detail about the sheer extent of them – I don't have the space or the time – but they include 12 body colours with wacky names such as I'll be Black, Papa don't Peach, Purple Fiction, James Blonde, Saturday White Fever and Buzz Lightgreen, 15 seat designs, 20 alloy wheel styles, three printed headliners – including a £325 one with 64 LED lights giving the impression of a starry night sky – and 18 interior décor panels.
And then you can also change the colours of the dashboard 'foils', steering wheel trim, door trim and add coloured wheel clips on 18in alloys, choose external decal packages – the list goes on and on.
If you have trouble getting down to the nitty-gritty, you could just go for one of the three ready-made combinations – two-tone black or white pack, flamboyant twisted pack or the bold extreme pack – tailored to each trim level. They won't break the bank – even the extreme pack is only £995 – but bear in mind your choices might not be to everyone's taste and could limit your pride and joy's appeal when selling it but there is nothing to stop the new owner changing styling bits and bobs to stamp their own personality on it.
A must for many owners will be the £275 IntelliLink on-board infotainment system, exclusive to Adam, which integrates the owner's smartphone (Android and Apple iOS) with the car, making internet-based applications available on the facia-mounted touchscreen.
Adam also offers big-car features such as new-generation park assist that automatically parks the car, a side blind spot alert and power steering with light-touch city mode.
And with the 'Adam' badge on the rear pillar the only one on the car no one will know which model or engine you have chosen.
At launch Adam is offered with tried-and-tested 70PS 1.2 and 87PS and 100PS 1.4-litre 16-valve petrol engines – each offered in an EcoFlex version with stop/start for an extra £295 and available in all trims. An all-new small turbocharged, direct injection petrol engine with new-generation transmission will follow.
The smallest engine is fine if you do a lot of urban driving but capable of longer runs quite comfortably. The 1.4-litre engines bring out the fun factor from the Adam's chassis which shows it is just as happy negotiating twisty country roads, with a flat, stable stance through corners, as it is in city traffic cut and thrust. Unfortunately all engines get a five-speed gearbox so buzz along at high revs at motorway speeds.
Another thing to bear in mind when delving into the customising options is ride comfort. Although the suspension was tuned for city driving, stepping up from 16in alloy wheels to 17 and 18in ones brings with it a more tensed sport chassis with crisper steering. It makes Adam more engaging to drive but the ride becomes fidgety on scarred urban roads at low speeds.
In common with many compact city cars, Adam has only four seats and head and legroom in the back in tight for adults. The 170-litre boot is also compact with a high sill making it suitable for soft holdalls not suitcases. Rear seat backs split 50/50 to give a maximum 663 litres.
It's easy to feel at home behind the steering wheel and while the snazzy dashboard makes you smile it's user-friendly with sensible controls.
Adam is well equipped as standard, even entry-level Jam gets 16in alloys, air conditioning, digital radio and CD with USB port and jackpoint and controls on the steering wheel, Bluetooth, cruise control, trip computer, stability control, ABS, six airbags and daytime running lights.
Vauxhall is a late-comer to the trendy compact car market but Adam is a cute little character that puts a huge smile on your face.