6 Nov 2013

Vauxhall Adam Short Review And Gallery

Matt Hubbard has been running a Vauxhall Adam for a few days.  Here's a quick review.

Vauxhall Adam Slam in Flaming Yellow
The Vauxhall Adam used to be something of an enigma to me.  I liked it when I first saw photos of it - both inside and out.  The floating roof, the smallness of it, the funky trim options.  But then, after it had been on sale for a few months and I'd yet to actually see one on the road, I wondered if Vauxhall had managed to sell many.

I've seen lots of Mokkas, also a new Vauxhall model, but not a single Adam.  So I started something of a twitter campaign asking people to spot Adams.  And they did.  Lots of them. But mainly in the north.

I live in West Berkshire but was raised in Cheshire and when I was growing up Vauxhalls were everywhere.  There was quite a Vauxhall scene - indeed two of my first three cars were Novas.  The 1.3SR was brilliant.

Over the years I've developed a suspicion that Vauxhalls are more popular in northern areas.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but after living down south for 10 years I see less Vauxhalls than I did when I lived up north - and I travel 10-15,000 miles a year.  Maybe this is why I don't see so many (or rather, any) Adams on my local roads.

But after spending a few days with an Adam Slam I've come to the conclusion it's a damn fine car, and there really should be more on Berkshire's roads.

A middle aged man, such as me, wouldn't necessarily buy an Adam, but then again we wouldn't necessarily buy a Citroen DS3 or Fiat 500 either.  We might buy an Audi S1, but not an A1.  But we would buy a Mini Cooper.  The Mini seems to have broken out of its cutesy origins by virtue of its great handling and Cooper and JCW versions.

The Adam is very small, although the front passenger compartment is quite spacious.  The rear seats are slightly too small and a couple of extra inches in the car's wheelbase would have worked wonders in this department.  My son who is 11 fits in the rear seat OK if my wife pulls the passenger seat forwards.  He cannot fit behind me when I'm driving.
Vauxhall Adam Slam in Flaming Yellow

The boot is big enough for a car in its class but a combination of a very high lip and parcel shelf that doesn't lift with the hatch means you can't swing shopping bags into it.  You need to lift the shelf and then lower the bags in.  Future versions should have a lifting hatch.

The roof is perhaps too high.  I'm 5'11" and there's plenty of space between my head and the Adam's roof.

Speaking of which the test car has a £100 chequerboard headliner and it looks great.  Everyone who's seen it likes it.

The car also has a £275 Intellilink option which should be specified if you buy one, because it'll devalue your car at sale time if you don't.  It integrates your iPhone and includes digital radio and works very well.  It's a pity that the infoscreen doesn't include satnav though.

I've driven the Adam on all sorts of roads and get along with it just fine.  It has good initial turn in and great grip all round a corner.  In fact it's a proper little back-road hustler and reminds me of the 1st generation Ford Ka for its roller skate handling.

The 1.4 litre engine has 87 bhp and propels it from 0-60 in 12.5 seconds.  This is acceptable, but in order to tap into a wider market a VXR version with at least 130bhp is a must.

The gearbox is typical GM in that it has a light action and the steering is slightly too light for my taste.  You can make it even lighter with the press of the City button.
Vauxhall Adam Slam in Flaming Yellow

The Adam Slam costs £13,770 and the test car comes with a few options such as a £250 tyre pressure monitor and £750 VXR styling pack.  It's also painted in Flaming Yellow.  This can make it slightly embarrassing to get out of in a busy car park.  Think carefully when speccing the paint.

But, despite the fact I'm a middle aged man and therefore not the target audience I like the Vauxhall Adam a lot.  It has great character and is quite practical.  It's the easiest car to park I've driven in a long time.

The other thing that amazes me is that the annual road tax is just £30.  For someone used to driving bigger, more powerful cars this is quite a shock.  That's much less road tax than my 150kg motorcycle or my 1986 Porsche.  The government's eco policy is quite absurd.

I'll report back with a full review soon.


Price - £13,770
Engine - 1.4 litre, 4-cylinder, petrol
Transmission - 5-speed manual
0-60mph - 12.5 seconds
Top speed - 109 mph
Power - 87 bhp
Torque - 96 lb ft
Economy - 55.4 mpg
CO2 - 120 g/km
Kerb weight - 1120 kg

Vauxhall Adam Slam in Flaming Yellow

Vauxhall Adam rear drum brakes

Article by Matt Hubbard