11 Jul 2012

Vauxhall ADAM. First pictures and specifications

Agila, Ampera, Antara, ADAM.  The first three are existing cars from Vauxhall.  The fourth is their forthcoming city car and yes, like the MINI, it does use capital letters.

It would be easy to be cynical at this point and accuse Vauxhall of emulating the MINI but, frankly, aside from the size, personalisation (more of that later) and capital letters the ADAM is a very different proposition from the MINI.

Whilst the design of it's big brother, the Astra, seems to be getting ever more bland and homogenous the ADAM's British designer, Mark Adams, was given a freer reign to come up with something much more funky.

And for that we should be grateful.  Britain's roads will be a much more colourful place when the ADAM arrives in 2013.  Vauxhall boast of the ability to create more than a million combinations of colour and trim when purchasers spec their new ADAMs, with a wide variety of exterior and interior colours, equipment and materials.  The headlining can even be personalised, including an LED-lit starlight roof.

ADAM features three different trim levels.  JAM (fashionable/colourful), GLAM (elegant/sophisticated) and, our favourite, SLAM (racy/sporty).  In a nod to the seventies vinyl roof fad the ADAM features a 'floating' roof which doesn't mean it's a convertible but rather it is made of a different material and colour.  In essence it's a styling gimmick but actually looks quite good and suits the overall design.

We like the proportions of the ADAM.  We like the creases in the doors and side panels.  We're unsure of the bulging headlights and from certain angles the rear looks like an Audi S1 - which is no bad thing.

Initially the car will come with three ecoFLEX engines in 1.2 and 1.4 litre with 70, 87 or 100PS and Vauxhall have plans for a small, forced-induction, direct injection petrol engine

At 3.7 metres the ADAM is almost exactly the same length as the MINI.  Suspension is MacPherson struts and the wheels will be 16 to 18 inches which are huge for a car in this class.

Overall the ADAM looks like it will be a hit for Vauxhall.  They've got the looks just right and handling, always pretty good on small Vauxhalls, should be enhanced with the Macphersons.  It will be interesting to see what it drives like.

The ADAM will first be seen in the flesh at the Paris Motor Show in September and the first models will be at Vauxhall dealers in early 2013.

Pricing will be key to the ADAMs success.  No details have been released yet but expect it to substantially undercut the opposition.

And finally - and we love this - it comes with a heated steering wheel. Not sure why this would be needed but it's that kind of detail that will tempt buyers away from a 500 or MINI.