• 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

To realise how important perception and subjectivity are in this class, take the respective merits of the Ford Ka and Fiat 500. They are ostensibly similar under the skin, but there’s only one that generates serious quantities of ‘want’, and it’s the one from Italy.

And therein lies some of the Adam’s problem. To our eyes, it is not sufficiently attractive, and although it is enviably and admirably customisable, so are some of its rivals.

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The Adam fails to overwhelm or underwhelm in a class where subjective appeal is all

Besides, that is no guarantee of success: most Minis and 500s are delivered in sensible trims and in normal colours. 

But looks are subjective; dynamics are less so. The lack of a sufficient compromise between the steering feel of sportier models and the improved ride comfort of cooking versions disappoints.

The fundamental problem is that the Adam doesn’t deliver in a class dominated by laugh-a-minute cars.

The Adam isn’t without merit, though. It is frugal, spacious and offers some interesting kit, most notably the multimedia system. Ultimately, though, the Adam reveals itself to be a competent but unremarkable city car.

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