Edward Stephens test drives Vauxhall's answer to the MINI and Fiat 500.
Would you Adam and Eve it? Vauxhall has thrown down the gauntlet to both the MINI and the Fiat 500 with an uber cool lifestyle vehicle of its own.
And because it’s a first for the brand it’s called it, appropriately, the Adam.
This trendy newcomer is – just like the MINI and the Fiat – like nothing else on the road.
You buy the Adam as much to make a statement about yourself as you do to satisfy your need for a small, four-seater car.
And, like its rivals, this one can be custom built to match your personality. In fact there are so many choices of roof and body colours, interiors, wheels, decals and even headlinings that every Adam sold can be unique.
Vauxhall has calculated that there are some four million combinations that you can select.
You can even opt to have 64 LEDs set into the headliner to give you a night sky effect just like in a Rolls-Royce. The only difference is that this feature will cost you £325 in the Adam while in the Roller it will set you back the price of an Adam, which starts from £11,255.
That will buy you the entry level Jam model, powered by a 70bhp, 1.2-litre petrol engine, although 1.4-litre engines with both 87bhp and 100 are also available.
If you want to up the ante you can move up to the 1.4-litre, 87bhp elegant/sophisticated Glam model, complete with sunroof and climate control with the same engine choices.
In fact, the bestseller of the Adam line-up is expected to be the Glam model, with the 87bhp engine, priced from £12,975.
At the top of the tree is the sporty Slam model which ranges in price from £13,150 up to £14,295 – plus whatever extras you decide to add to it.
Despite the option to style your own Adam, Vauxhall has produced its top 15 selection and it’s these models that will be in showrooms from March 8.
The Adam is a car you won’t miss. I drove two at an event in London but, even before I could leave the car park, I had people coming up to me to ask the price.
My first experience was in a Jam. In this case a bright red one with a white roof. The interior was just as bright and funky with a red dashboard.
Despite its size, it’s easy to get comfortable in an Adam, thanks to the high roof and plenty of height and reach movement of the steering wheel.
If you’re one of those people who can’t move without your smart phone, the Intellilink system on this car will be just up your street. It lets you connect your phone to the car’s touch screen, allowing you to access internet-based approved apps.
On the road the 1.2-litre buzzes along with a nice sense of urgency that’s ideal for a city car. It’s not over quick but certainly delivers as much as you could expect from a car with this size engine and it’s surprisingly quiet in the cabin.
The suspension is a little soft, giving it a bit of roll on corners, but certainly not enough to deter most buyers.
But, if that puts you off, you can opt for a model with sports suspension (standard on cars ordered with 17 or 18 inch wheels), as I did on my next drive – this time in a Glam.
And in this case it lived up to its name, with yellow bodywork and a brown roof matched by superb leather seats in the same colour combination.
The sporting chassis certainly improves the handling and road holding and would probably be the choice of MINI owners making the switch.
With the 1.4-litre, 87bhp engine you get a bit more zip (0-60mph in 12.5 seconds, compared to the 1.2-litre‘s 14.9).
No diesel engine will be available, but even the least economical Adam will average more than 51 miles per gallon, so there is not really a need for one.
If performance is your goal, the 100bhp engine will hit 60mph in 11.5 seconds and has a top speed of 115mph.
Because of its dimensions – 30cms shorter than a Vauxhall Corsa – you don’t get a lot of boot space.
It will barely cope with the average weekly
shop unless you fold down the rear seat backs and remember the Adam is designed for four people not five.
But at the end of the day the Adam is primarily designed for fun motoring and will be lapped up by the young, not to mention the young at heart.