Vauxhall Adam first drive

Vauxhall AdamIt’s a corny well used headline but applying a name like ADAM to your must-have city car offering which in these days has to be trendy, funky, fashionable, fully kitted out with options is a bit of a risk for Vauxhall.

However the fact remains the major talking point of this car is the name. It apparently is in homage to the founder of Opel, Vauxhall’s sister company, Adam Opel.

The ADAM follows the ‘customisation’ trend started by MINI, followed by the Fiat 500, the VW Up, Citroen DS3 and possibly the Audi A1. Renault probably started the human name use with Clio, but that didn’t sound quite as odd at the time as ADAM does now. Perhaps it’s my age because ADAM as a car name certainly wouldn’t be the ‘apple of my eye’.

But the silly names don’t stop with ADAM because we have JAM, GLAM and SLAM core levels of specification. There are more understandable sub levels of Urban, Style, Technical and Extreme packs plus further customising and colour schemes. My ADAM test car was a SLAM, 1.4i 87PS (86bhp) ecoFlex with stop/start but then with a Red ‘n’ Roll paint job inside and out with some leather trim. Priced at £13,770 this model sits in the middle of the range which starts at £11,255 and tops out at £14,295 for the core models.

Vauxhall Adam
For the record Vauxhall say the ADAM JAM is fashionable/colourful, ADAM GLAM elegant/sophisticated and ADAM SLAM racy/sporty. The levels of customisation comes with the addition of option packs, and from here the possibilities are virtually endless, with the choice of 12 body colours, 15 seat designs, 20 alloy wheel styles, three printed headliners and no less than 18 interior décor panels, to mention just a few.

Customisation is matched with technology options. Exclusive to ADAM is IntelliLink the new on-board infotainment system that integrates the owner’s smartphone (Android and Apple iOS) with the car, making internet based applications available on the facia mounted touch screen. Other features include a new-generation Park Assist that automatically parks the car, a Side Blind Spot Alert and a power steering system including a ‘light touch’ CITY mode.

Vauxhall says due to its striking design and class-leading technologies, ADAM will attract young and young-at-heart customers from both genders. These customers have attitude and want their cars to reflect their personality. They are fashion conscious and place great value on individuality; they don’t just follow trends, they create them. Now you know.

Vauxhall AdamAll ADAMs are three door city car sector hatchbacks with seating for four, probably not adults in the rear unless they have short legs and the headroom isn’t that good either.

The all petrol engine line-up is 1.2-litre 70PS, 1.4-litre 87PS and 1.4-litre 100PS. All are mated to a five-speed manual transmission and can be specified with an ecoFLEX technology pack that further enhances their efficiency. The the 1.4-litre units provide maximum torque of 130Nm (96lb ft) at 4,000 rpm; the headline 100PS version accelerates from 0- 60mph in just 11.5 seconds and has a top speed of 115mph. The 1.2 ecoFLEX has fuel consumption of 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 118 g/km while both 1.4 ecoFLEX models consume 55.4mpg and have emissions of 119 g/km.

The ecoFLEX technology pack includes a Start/Stop system with a high-performance battery, heavy-duty starter, optimised alternator and an ‘eco’ switch allowing its activation or de-activation. In addition it also features an Eco Drive Assistant that monitors energy consumption and indicates when to change up or down a gear. The EcoFLEX’s 16-inch wheels and special low-rolling resistance tyres complete the package and help the ADAM achieve frugality in the Combined Cycle.

Vauxhall is also developing a new generation 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine that will premiere in the ADAM next year. This all-aluminum unit will feature direct injection, turbocharging and Start/Stop technologies. It will be combined with an all-new generation six-speed manual transmission.

My £13,770 test drive car, the 1.4-litre 87PS (86bhp) unit with ecoFLEX will officially return 55.4mpg in the Combined Cycle and on test covering all types of trips from a motorway journey to local commutes ended up at 42.1mpg, most of the time driven in ‘eco’ mode but with the air con on because of the very hot weather. With CO2 emissions of 119g/km the VED road tax is £0 for the First Year rate increasing to £30 per annum for the second year onwards. Insurance costs are low, just group 6E for my test car. It’s cheap-ish motoring.

The engine was not very lively at all taking 12.5 seconds to get to 62mph from standstill but as a city car this probably doesn’t matter that much. Top speed is 109mph but it cruised without too much stressful noise at 70mph on the motorway but with little acceleration left after that point to get past slow moving lane-hoggers. With just 96lb ft of torque developed at 4,000rpm this unit need to be kept ‘on the boil’ and needed constant use of the gearbox to cope with winding and hilly country roads.

Vauxhall AdamThe ADAM utilizes the same platform at Vauxhall’s Corsa and has an overall length of 3,698mm the same as a MINI Hatch but the headroom is higher at 1,484mm and it is a shade better for width at 1,720mm. The stubby exterior look is not unattractive, but neither is it distinctive even allowing for the personalisation options. In my time with it I didn’t see it turn any heads, it looks anonymous when you see one on the road and in truth I haven’t seen that many yet.

The ride is no more than ok because a short car usually means a choppy ride as any impact from potholes or a sunken trench across the road surfaces incurred by the front wheels is soon followed by the same for the rear axle. The impacts from potholes were transmitted noisily and uncomfortably into the car. Handling and cornering were safe and secure given the limited engine performance.

The SLAM specification impressed me most with the adventurous paint finishes inside which broke up the usual plastic trim. The car had air conditioning, electric front windows, digital radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, trip computer, leather covered steering wheel, sports seats, chrome trim detailing, electronic stability control, dark tinted windows, LED running lights, 17-inch wheels and sports suspension, the latter two items I could live without in the cause of better ride comfort so perhaps JAM or GLAM instead of SLAM would be a better level of specification to choose where 16-inch alloy wheels and non-sports suspension are fitted.

The ADAM is a case of fashion over function but then so are many of today’s ‘must-have’ techno gadgets.

MILESTONES: Vauxhall ADAM SLAM 1.4i (87PS) ecoFLEX 3-door city car. Price: £13,770. Engine/transmission: 1.4-litre, 4-cyl;inder 16C normally aspirated ecoFLEX petrol with Start/Stop, 86bhp, 96lb ft of torque at 4,000rpm, 5-speed manual. Performance: 109mph, 0-62mph 12.5 seconds, 55.4mpg (42.1mpg on test), CO2 119g/km, VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £30 year two onwards, BIK company car tax 15%. Insurance group: 6E. Dimensions/capacities: L 3,698mm, W 1,720mm, H 1,484mm, boot/load space 170 to 663-litres. For: Personalisation/customisation options, smart interior, well equipped, low running costs. Against: Dubious name, expensive, cramped rear seats, tiny boot, poor ride quality.Miles Better News Agency

Written by