This is the Vauxhall Adam, a highly customisable new city car that, the firm hopes, will make it a “cooler” brand. The Adam will reach UK showrooms in January, priced from about £11,000, after its Paris motor show debut in September.
The company hopes to strike a chord with fashion-conscious buyers through a mix of a bold design inside and out, advanced ‘premium car’ interior options and the potential to make your own Adam unlike any other because there are more than a million trim and colour combinations.
Vauxhall chairman Duncan Aldred told Autocar that the Adam would make people “reappraise how they would traditionally think of Vauxhall and the brand and even make it — dare I say it — a cooler brand to be associated with”.
The Adam, known as ‘Junior’ throughout its development, has been styled under the direction of Opel/Vauxhall’s design chief, Mark Adams. The Briton, who switches within the General Motors group to head Cadillac and Buick design from 1 August, has not been able to reinterpret a classic model with the Adam in the way that Mini and Fiat have been able to do.
Instead, the Adam’s bold looks reference and evolve from design features seen on other Vauxhalls. It also gets a series of distinctive visual elements of its own.
A deep, crisp line around the door handles is developed from the Astra GTC, the chrome bar in the grille is derived from the Astra, and the ‘blade’ surfacing for the doors has been a feature of recent Vauxhalls.
The front of the Adam features a heavily sculpted bonnet and a pair of large, circular foglights below the headlights to give the Adam its own distinctive ‘face’. LED daytime running lights can also be specified.
A low beltline and the relatively narrow pillars should give the Adam’s four-seat cabin an airy feel. The rear windows are convex and shaped to match the gently sloping tailgate.
Another striking element of the Adam’s design is the ‘floating’ effect for the roof, which is achieved by painting the pillars and roof a separate colour to the bodywork.
The overall design gives the Adam a squat and sporty appearance. It’s also an unusually wide car for the segment, at 1720mm. The car’s tracks are 1485mm at the front and 1478mm at the rear.
At 3700mm long, the Adam sits closer to the 3723mm-long Mini hatchback than the 3546mm-long Fiat 500. The Adam’s 1720mm width is also closer to the Mini’s (1683mm) than the 500’s (1627mm). The Adam’s wheelbase is 2311mm, which is less than the Mini’s 2467mm but just greater than the 500’s 2300mm.
The Adam is underpinned by a shortened version of the Corsa’s platform. It has been substantially re-engineered to suit the Adam’s shorter wheelbase. The front suspension is MacPherson struts, and the rear features a torsion beam set-up.
Alloy wheels of up to 18 inches in diameter can be fitted to the Adam, and a sports chassis is standard for all models equipped with 17-inch and 18-inch alloys. Entry-level cars have 16-inch alloys.
At its launch, the Adam will be offered with a choice of three four-cylinder petrol engines, which are taken from the current Corsa.
The base engine is a 69bhp 1.2-litre unit. Two 1.4-litre engines are also offered, with 86bhp and 99bhp.
There’s no word yet on performance or fuel economy ahead of the Paris show debut, but Vauxhall has confirmed that stop-start will be fitted as standard. The launch engines will all be mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
A year after its launch, the Adam will be the first Vauxhall to be offered with an engine from its new ‘Small Gasoline Engine’ (SGE) family. Autocar understands that the engine will be a turbocharged 1.0-litre, three-cylinder unit with direct injection. A four-cylinder engine is also being developed for the SGE family but is not destined for the Adam.
No diesel engines are planned for the Adam line-up. An all-electric version is under consideration but has not yet been confirmed for production.
Vauxhall will sell the Adam with three trim options: Jam, Glam and Slam. Jam is described as “fashionable and colourful”, Glam is “elegant and sophisticated” and Slam is “racy and sporty”.
Designer Mark Adams says that within these trim levels comes “virtually unlimited exterior/interior colour, fabric and kit combination choices. It’s very unlikely you’ll find two identical Adams out there”.
Among the high-end options being offered for the Adam is an Advanced Park Assist II system, the first time that it will have appeared in a Vauxhall. The system helps to detect a space that the car can squeeze into and then steers the car into it, with the driver controlling the pedals and gearbox.
Standard kit includes ESP with a Hill Start Assist function, front, side and curtain airbags and a City mode for the steering that increases the electric power steering’s assistance at lower speeds.
Exact pricing will be revealed closer to the Adam’s launch, but if it comes in at just over £11,000 in base form, as is expected, this will price it below the £11,870 base Mini First and above the entry-level £9960 Fiat 500 Pop.