To realise how important perception and subjectivity are in this class, take the respective merits of the Ford Ka and Fiat 500. They were ostensibly similar under the skin, but there’s only one that generates serious quantities of ‘want’, and it’s the one from Italy. The Ka faded into obscurity, and Ford has needed a complete rethink in the form of the Ka+.
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.
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.