site search by freefind
MotorBar: 1200+ unique in-depth car reviews. Plus travel & destinations, and 1000 DVD and CD reviews. Online for 14 years. Written by experts.
Vauxhall Adam Rocks Air 1.0 Turbo

Click to view picture gallery“Many motorists name their cars,
  so it was rather clever of Vauxhall to
  do the same to their
snazzy new
  city car — meet Adam. The question
  is: Like his name, does he rock?
  We took him on a week-long road-trip
  to find out...


CITY CARS THEY MAY ON PAPER BE, but the Adam family are much more adventurous than that; while perfectly suited to a metropolitan lifestyle they are more than comfortable everywhere else there are roads whether they're hilly, snaking or just plain long and arrow-straight.

Essentially the Adam is a 2+2 three-door hatchback wearing a sharp set of clothes that, while adventurous enough to appeal to fashionistas is still stylish enough to get you into the VIP car park at Wimbledon without contravening the official dress code.

Our test car looked the biz and drew lots of thumbs-up both from other drivers as well as car park foot traffic not at all surprising given it was resplendent is bright metallic blue with its black glasshouse capped by a jet black electric folding canvas roof.

“Vauxhall’s all-new
1.0-litre three-cylinder
petrol engine is
a real live cracker
willing and eager
to give its all —
and with impressive
smoothness...
Along with christening their motors, today's motorists also have an appetite for customising their cars to reflect their personalities.

Always eager to please, Vauxhall offers a range of personalisation options that includes 19 body colours, 7 roof and mirror casing colours, plus 25 alloy wheel designs. Combine these with the many trim and decal packs available and creating a unique Adam that's unlike any other on the road should be a piece of cake.

As on the outside, so on the inside your Adam's cabin can also be personalised to suit, courtesy of multiple seat trims, fascia colours and different roof linings along with numerous 'decor' panels for the fascia which have the added advantage of being changeable (your friendly Vauxhall dealer will do it for you) so, like your kitchen, you can refresh as and when. Nice one!

While under the bonnet you can have anything from a 1.0-litre up to a turboed 1.4 driving the front wheels, Vauxhall's all-new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine (mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with a positive, slick-shifting gear throw), is a real live cracker that's willing and eager to give its all and with impressive smoothness too.

Fed by direct injection and boosted by a turbo it punches out a lively 113bhp and it just loves to rev. Backing up the power is a useful 125lb ft of torque that's available all the way from 1,800 to 4,500rpm. All of which is enough to take you to a top speed of 121mph with the benchmark 0-62mph hit and passed in an eager 9.9 seconds (it actually feels quicker).

If you're worried that just three cylinders and 998cc means extra work for the engine with economy taking the fall for the peppy performance, then check out the official consumption figures: 44.8mpg in town; 55.4 combined, and 64.2mpg touring.

Confirming these, a week spent enthusiastically whizzing around saw our three-pot Adam average 49.9mpg. Along with Stop/Start, an ECO mode which, thankfully, doesn't appear to cramp the performance and emissions of 119g/km, Adam is pretty cheap to run with no road tax to pay in the first year and only 30 every twelve months thereafter.

“A week enthusiastically
whizzing around saw
our three-pot Adam
average 49.9mpg.
Add in low emissions
and that makes Adam
pretty cheap to run...
If that doesn't rock your boat then power open the big fabric sunroof and find yourself some entertaining blacktop. Because despite the hint of off-road styling (enhanced by black wheelarch protectors that sit proud of the bodywork), the Adam is more than game for some 'catch me if you can'.

Cornering grip is surprisingly good (helped by 225/35 lo-pro Continental rubber) and it can be pushed along snaking country roads with some enthusiasm. The light-ish electrically-assisted steering is accurate and feeds back a fair amount of information to the driver (for urban driving and parking you can, should you wish, press the 'City' button to lighten it even more).

A fast-acting stability system keeps it all together even on the limit and on motorways it feels reassuringly 'planted' at the legal limit. The brakes discs at each corner are dependable and effective enough; you probably won't even notice them doing their job. Which is exactly as it should be.

Ride-wise it's a tad on the firm-ish side but despite that still does a decent job of coping with Britain's third world tarmac we certainly had no complaints. That said, on speed humps and potholes it's wise not to push your luck!

The cabin, too, is a place you'll be happy to spend time. The first thing you'll notice after the striking body-coloured fascia insert that's repeated on the gearlever console and doors is the quality of the fit and finish underscored by plenty of upmarket detailing to the switchgear and air vents. A touchscreen is your interface with the infotainment system; many of the traditional 'switched' functions have been migrated to the touchscreen and it's all very easy to use.

The cockpit also uses a variety of trim materials to add tactile interest to the ambiance; and it's all very appealing. The tall glasshouse (and long side windows) not only creates an airy cabin but also provides excellent visibility in all directions, for both the passengers and the driver. Helpful for placing the car while driving as well as making light work of parking parking-phobes will be pleased to know that for 450 you can specify Vauxhall's Advanced Park Assist automated parking system. Wish that had been an option when I took my driving test!

“The Adam is more than
game for some ‘catch
me if you can’. Grip is
surprisingly good and it
can be pushed along
snaking country roads
with enthusiasm...
The wide cockpit and high roofline (to give you an idea how tall, it's some 80mm higher than a MINI) offer plenty of space and there's generous room for everything from your feet to your head.

With decent bolstering that holds but doesn't pinch, the front seats are comfortable and supportive, with long outer armrests on the doors and all-season-comfortable fabric centre panels. Both, incidentally, are adjustable for height. Another worthy 'plus' is how the driver sits straight-on to the pedals and steering wheel absolutely vital for back and hip comfort on long trips.

The driving position is good: ahead of you is a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a satin chrome and satin black treatment that houses a comprehensive array of remote controls (cruise, speed limiter, voice, fone, and media). The instrument pack is easy on the eyes and very readable, even with the large roof open. Marked out by its pleasant-to-use, knurled, non-slip rotary knobs, the AirCon also scores well with an abundant supply of cold air delivered quietly. Plenty of in-cabin storage space and a traditional handbrake are further plusses.

Press the appropriate button and the sturdy fabric sunroof hence the 'Air' in the name folds back past the front headrests, stacking neatly at the end of the roof. It's a quality item with a front deflector to ensure there's no buffeting or windrush and you can talk easily to your passengers at out-of-town speeds, so there's no penalty for having a view of the sky.

Standard kit includes the electric folding canvas roof, unique front and rear bumpers, side sills, door moulding and wheel arch extensions, increased ride height (by 15mm), black roof and door mirrors, dark-tinted rear windows, AirCon, CD player, USB and Aux-In, digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, trip computer, tyre pressure monitoring, LED daytime running lights and tail lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, half-a-dozen airbags and electronic stability control as well as blind spot monitoring.

If you fancy upping the kit quota there's a lot to choose from. Our press car came with a number of fitted options, all of them close to 'must have'.

“The roof powerfolds
back past the
front headrests and it’s
a quality item — no
windrush and no
penalty for having a
view of the sky...
These included the 275 IntelliLink (for smartphone and tablet connectivity), a Winter Pack (heated front seats and a heated steering wheel for what we'd say is a very reasonable 215 the heated wheel, by the way, is absolutely first-rate), a Sight and Light Pack that gives you rain-sensitive wipers along with an automatic lighting control with tunnel detection plus an electro-chromatic anti-dazzle rearview mirror all for 230. Then there's the gleaming metallic paint at 545, stand-out 18-inch 'Turbine' style alloys for 800 and climate control for 300.

You might not guess it from outside but two grown-ups can travel in the shapely rear seats; knee and foot room are both adult-sized. Access through the long side doors is easy, helped by smooth-operating tilt 'n' slide front seats. Even with the roof closed it's pleasant; with it open it's brilliant. Kids will be just as happy there as riding shotgun up front.

A light press on the Griffin badge opens the tailgate; it's light to lift and opens to a head-friendly height to expose a deep 170-litre boot. The 50:50-split back seats fold flat to create a useful 663-litre loadbay. There's a sturdy bag hook and if you like to park 'n' ride (a bicycle, that is) then you'll be interested in the optional rear-mounted cycle rack. While we're round at the back we should mention that the Adam comes with a rear wash/wipe many cars in this sector don't have them so it's extra points to Vauxhall for attention to detail, especially given the UK's weather.

Good to drive, easy to park, cute yet functional and a pleasure to live with. As eye-catching as it is driveable and offering huge scope for personalisation, this new Vauxhall is clearly upwardly mobile and decidedly more premium than volume market. Powered by Vauxhall's new 1.0-litre three-pot petrol engine it's a winning small car. So, does Adam rock? He rocks.
MotorBar

Vauxhall Adam Rocks Air 1.0 Turbo | 16,695
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Test Average: 49.9mpg
Power: 113bhp | Torque: 125lb ft | CO2 119g/km