• Adam competes in the growing ranks of premium superminis
  • Large front overhang helps to engineer a crash structure but makes the car look awkward
  • Floating roof incorporates the Adam name plate
  • Scallop in body sides is meant to mimic the wake of a boat
  • Masses of colour options can brighten the Adam's dashboard
  • Lots of glass and a roomy interior make the Adam feel spacious
  • Rear seats won't really accommodate full-size adults
  • At 170 litres, the boot is not enormous but acceptable by class standards
  • Clear, attractive instruments add to the sense that this cabin has been properly thought through
  • Performance of the 1.2 is decent, with enough in reserve to avoid constantly changing gear
  • Engines can get a bit noisy over 70mph
  • 1.2 four pot is the best of the current two-engine choice
  • Steering is very, very light, but accurate enough
  • Not a lot of fun to be had here – the Adam is not an exciting car to drive
  • The Adam is not bad but not outstanding, and it faces some desirable competition

The market continually fails to produce a 3.7-metre car that’ll seat four six-footers in genuine comfort. So it’s no serious shortcoming to find that the Vauxhall Adam has a rear bench that’s best kept for the kids. By class standards that doesn’t actually make it impractical – and although it’s not ideal, neither does a 170-litre boot.

In fact, the Vauxhall’s cabin is quite large. A low scuttle and tall glasshouse make for good visibility and a strong impression of space inside. The wide cockpit and high roofline deliver generous footwells and fairly abundant headroom. Even larger drivers should seldom find the Adam’s interior plastics with their shoulders and knees, as they often would in narrower city cars.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Don't spend a lot on top spec models – better to buy a modest trim level and spend on options instead

The seat bases are slightly short, flat and lacking in thigh support, but otherwise the driving position is sound. It’s less recumbent than in a Mini, but not necessarily the worse for it. The large steering wheel has plenty of adjustment and the instruments are clear and quite attractive.

Cars featuring a black fascia and black cloth seats do little to demonstrate the more vivacious possibilities that Adam customers can choose between. There are four options on fascia colour, 15 different seat trims, several different roof linings and 18 fascia ‘decor’ panels (ours were red), which add a flash of colour and can be changed by your Vauxhall dealer to refresh the cabin.

Wisely specified models distinguish themselves better on material richness, though. The Adam’s dashboard has just enough variety and visual interest to lift the ambience above the small-car norm. It’s also quite tactile and appealing; all the better for being less slavishly devoted to unadorned functionality than Opel/Vauxhall’s default setting.

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