It's one car with a million possibilities
The Vauxhall ADAM's late to the boutique hatchback party, but if you hanker after a bit of individuality, your car has arrived. Andy Enright reports.
The Vauxhall ADAM is undoubtedly one of the more interesting small car choices around. It's hugely customisable both inside and out and looks strong value for money. We take a look at the 1.4-litre petrol models here as they're likely to be the biggest sellers.
There are two 1.4-litre engines with either 87PS or 100PS. Both are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Go with the 87PS unit and you'll see 62mph appear on the clocks in 12.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 110mph. The 100PS engine's numbers are 11.5s and 125mph.
The ADAM incorporates a 'floating' roof which is visually disconnected from the body and which works particularly well with two-tone colour schemes. It looks like no other Vauxhall but still incorporates a bunch of existing styling cues such as the Astra's wing-shaped chrome grille bar and the blade shape in the lower doors. Vauxhall is looking to appeal to the customer's sense of individuality in the sheer amount of colour combinations and materials. Wheels range from 16 inches in size for entry-level cars and there are 17-inch options further up the range.
Unlike many cars which offer striking exterior designs but an interior that betrays a sudden curtailment of development budget, the cabin of the ADAM is, if anything, even bolder than the exterior. There's extensive use of body-coloured trim inserts, not only on the dashboard but also reaching along the centre console and on to the steering wheel and these can give the interior a real riotous personality. You can even swap them out for a different colour or finish if you get bored.
A seven-inch touch screen interface is the big point of interest from a technological perspective. It's both iPhone and Android compatible and can access internet-downloaded apps. Where specified, the navigation and infotainment controls are all marshalled by the touch screen. There's even a choice of headlining, including an LED-lit starlight roof trim. The exterior colours include 'I'll be Black', 'Papa don't Peach', 'Purple Fiction', 'James Blonde', 'Saturday White Fever' and 'Buzz Lightgreen'.
The ADAM launches with three trim levels, JAM (fashionable/colourful), GLAM (elegant/sophisticated) and SLAM (racy/sporty) and both 1.4-litre engines are available with all three trim levels. JAM opens with air conditioning, a CD DAB radio with USB, AUX-in & Bluetooth, a leather trimmed steering wheel with deco elements, cruise control and infotainment control. Go for the GLAM and there's electronic climate control, front & rear LED lights, a fixed glazed sunroof and an exterior chrome pack. SLAM weighs in with 17-inch alloy wheels, Morrocana sports seats, and a two tone roof & darkened rear glass.
The latest generation ESP system is standard on all ADAMs and it also includes a Hill Start Assist function. That wonderful star-effect roof and a heated steering wheel are options that differentiate the Vauxhall from the run of the mill city car contenders and these surprise and delight features are key in a market that's not always led fully by up front pricing. Talking of which, prices for the 1.4-litre models open at just over £11,500 and top out at little over £14,000. What's more, the options prices have been kept very reasonable so should you really want to stamp your own impression on the car, it won't cost you the earth nor destroy the residual value of the car. Unless, that is, you go for a distinctly questionable colour combination!
You remember I said there were two versions of the 1.4-litre engine. I lied. Only a little but there are in fact four. Each version of the 1.4-litre is available in either a standard guise or as an ecoFLEX version with Stop/Start. This clearly has the biggest impact on emissions. If you're a private customer, you'd probably need to keep the ADAM for at least three or four years before you realised the financial benefits but the few business buyers that will choose the ADAM might look straight to the ecoFLEX versions. Both 1.4-litre engines emit 129g/km in standard form, dropping to 119g/km with the ecoFLEX equipment. Likewise fuel economy goes from 51.4mpg on the combined cycle to 55.4mpg in the ecoFLEX version.
Vauxhall advertise it as: one car - a million possibilities. And if you really want to go to town with personalisation and fun extras - the huge number of different combinations of options do make it a car without parallel.