Vauxhall Adam review - stylish, but is it fun?

Vauxhall’s Adam has style but lacks substance

evo Verdict

The Adam is Vauxhall’s entry into the wilfully stylish city car market, a lucrative sector for automotive sales where models like the Fiat 500 and MINI are considered. Vauxhall claims there are a million possibilities when specifying the Adam, something we can easily believe despite the current lack of either a diesel or automatic option, but while it will appeal to the aesthetes of this world the chassis lacks dynamism – and, criminally for a city car, the Adam can have an uncomfortable, clunky ride if you opt for a model with sports suspension and 18-inch alloys. We’d have to say both the Fiat and the MINI are more appealing packages for trendy urbanites.

evo Tip

The 1.0-litre EcoTec engine, a three-cylinder turbocharged unit, is a proper little jewel. Ultra-smooth and keen to rev, it almost renders the rest of the Adam’s all-petrol engine line-up obsolete. Despite the fact it is the smallest capacity unit in the range, at 113bhp it is the most powerful aside from the 148bhp found in the range-topping Adam S and it is the only turbocharged car aside from the hotter variant too.

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If you can put up with the daft name, the Adam Rocks is probably worth closer inspection. Its pseudo-off-road leanings mean the suspension is revised and raised, which doesn’t exactly sharpen up the handling, but it does improve the ride immeasurably, even on the Rocks’ giant 18-inch wheels.

Unlike other Adams, most notably the sporty Adam S, the Rocks manages to filter out large lumps and bumps in the road to the benefit of its occupants. The Rocks comes with the choice of three engines, the superb 1.0 EcoTec among them, and for a £750 (on the 1.2) to £995 premium buyers can add an electrically operated folding canvas roof. Although then you end up with a car called the Adam Rocks Air, which is almost as cringe-worthy nomenclature as some of the Adam’s colours…

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Performance and 0-60mph time > The introduction of turbocharged engines has finally given the Adam competitive performance. Turbocharged Adam S is quickest, at 8.5 seconds to 62mph. Read more about the Adam's performance here.

Engine and gearbox > Naturally-aspirated 1.2 and 1.4-litre units aren't worth looking at. 1.0 and 1.4 turbos are much better. Easytronic automated manual is the only auto option. Read more about the Adam's engines and gearboxes here.

Ride and handling > Adam Rocks and Adam S models are the highlights. Neither is perfect though, and the ride is poor across the range. Read more about the Adam's ride and handling here.

MPG and running costs > Once again, the turbocharged models are more compeitive than the old-tech naturally-aspirated cars. Read more about the Adam's MPG and running costs here.

Prices, specs and rivals > Adams are relatively affordable, though the hotter S models get a little too close to the Ford Fiesta ST. Vauxhall badge may deter some, too. Read more about the Adam's prices, specs and rivals here.

Interior and tech > Huge range of options allows for plenty of personalisation - including a Rolls-Royce-style LED-lit headliner. Quality is good. Read more about the Adam's interior and tech here.

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Design > Interesting styling lifts the Adam above its Corsa stablemate. Colour and trim names are painful. Read more about the Adam's design here.

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