From £11,2557
Turbocharged three-cylinder power aims to give the Adam the character it craves

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Adam

Is the Vauxhall Adam special enough to provide an answer to the Fiat 500 and Mini, or merely an exercise in style and marketing?

Mark Tisshaw
8 January 2015

What is it?

The Vauxhall Adam is now the car it potentially always should have been. When it launched in 2013, the Adam came with an archaic engine range consisting of 1.2 and 1.4-litre four-cylinder normally aspirated units. The 1.2 was slow, the 1.4 unrefined; neither had any kind of charm, character or driving pleasure to befit the Adam's supposed premium city car positioning.

The car was crying out for a modern, three-cylinder turbocharged engine, in other words. As luck would have it, Vauxhall has now fitted the Adam with just such a thing.

First seen on the new Corsa and the Adam Rocks crossover-convertible mash-up towards the end of last year, the new three-pot turbo engine is now available in the standard Adam. It’s a 1.0-litre unit which produces 113bhp and 125lb ft while returning claimed combined economy of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km. A combination of numbers the Adam could only dream of before.

What's it like?

Equipped with this engine, the Adam is no longer a car for which you have to make apologies. If you liked it before, it would most likely have been for the way it looked, not for the way it drove.

That’s not quite the case now; the engine helps inject a crucial bit of charm and character, which raises the Adam’s competitiveness against the likes of the Mini and Fiat 500, and adds a touch more driver involvement in the process.

The most striking thing about the engine is its refinement, particularly at idle. There’s plenty of torque, both at the low end and for in-gear acceleration, which is something previous Adams struggled with. It’s also capable of mixing with the speed and flow of fast motorway traffic, again something the 1.2 Adam in particular managed rather miserably.

It’s not perfect, mind. The trade-off for that refinement is that you only get the throaty three-cylinder howl - the character in other words - when you really rev it, unlike with Ford’s excellent 1.0-litre three-pot EcoBoost engine, which gargles all the time.

The rest of the dynamic package remains so-so. The steering is too light and lacks feel. The ride is generally smooth, but the car suffers from the unusual tendency for the front and rear axles to feel disconnected when crashing over bumps in the road. The handling is improved with a sharper turn-in thanks to the lighter engine over the nose, but overall the Adam remains a long way from the Mini in terms of driver involvement and dynamic sparkle.

One highlight remains, though: the cabin. Its premium look and feel, allied to impressive equipment levels, have always made the interior the Adam’s strong point. The seemingly endless array of customisable options inside and out are also offered on this latest version of the car.

Should I buy one?

Fashionable city cars such as the Adam, Mini and Fiat 500 are always going to be sold for the way they look and how much you can customise them, as opposed to how they drive. Yet this can’t mask just how disappointing the Adam’s original engine range was.

Now, however, if you like the way Adam looks, it stands a far better chance of winning you over on the way it drives, too, thanks to the arrival of this new engine.

Vauxhall Adam Jam 1.0T

Price £13,455; 0-62mph 9.9sec; Top speed 121mph; Economy 57.6mpg; CO2 emissions 114g/km; Kerb weight 1063kg; Engine 998cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 113bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 125lb ft at 1800-4500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
9

8 January 2015
This engine sounds like a massive improvement for the Adam. I don't know what the sales figures are, but there are loads of these on the roads in my area, despite the poor engine range up to now.

8 January 2015
catnip wrote:

This engine sounds like a massive improvement for the Adam. I don't know what the sales figures are, but there are loads of these on the roads in my area, despite the poor engine range up to now.

I see loads in Edinburgh. I've always liked it, just not the engines. Hopefully they'll do a VXR version soon though. It is crying out for a decent top end model

8 January 2015
superstevie wrote:
catnip wrote:

This engine sounds like a massive improvement for the Adam. I don't know what the sales figures are, but there are loads of these on the roads in my area, despite the poor engine range up to now.

I see loads in Edinburgh. I've always liked it, just not the engines. Hopefully they'll do a VXR version soon though. It is crying out for a decent top end model

It could be that fleet managers have been leasing these instead of the Corsa which is very old and out of date.

8 January 2015
Not popular in my part of the country, I don't think I have ever seen one. Or, is it just too dull to be noticed?

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

8 January 2015
Frightmare Bob wrote:

Not popular in my part of the country, I don't think I have ever seen one. Or, is it just too dull to be noticed?

I don't think you'd miss one. Most of the ones I've seen are maroon with a white roof. Not my taste but certainly distinctive!

8 January 2015
Straff wrote:
Frightmare Bob wrote:

Not popular in my part of the country, I don't think I have ever seen one. Or, is it just too dull to be noticed?

I don't think you'd miss one. Most of the ones I've seen are maroon with a white roof. Not my taste but certainly distinctive!

aka Purple Fiction, agree it looks ghastly in some certain colour combinations. the one pictured looks good in a cutesy sort of way. hope they bring out the "Grand Slam" or "S" model out soon aswell as the VXR variant, it needs some sporty injection to the range.

8 January 2015
VX220EDDIE wrote:

hope they bring out the "Grand Slam" or "S" model out soon aswell as the VXR variant, it needs some sporty injection to the range.

It does, but Vauxhall obviously have a downer on UK customers, insisting on marketing the S as 'Grand Slam' just for us. God knows what they'd call a VXR version here.

8 January 2015
Frightmare Bob wrote:

Not popular in my part of the country, I don't think I have ever seen one. Or, is it just too dull to be noticed?

I haven't seen one, either, and I'm in Surrey. I've seen a Bentley Mulsanne, though, you'd think that'd be much harder to spot!

8 January 2015
I think they joined the party a bit too late for these type of cars and it sounds like the engines haven't been great until now which hasn't helped. People compare this car to not just a 500 but also a Mini and a Mini has the badge kudos that some people desire. And lastly, it's got my name...that can't help much either!! ;-)

8 January 2015
I think they joined the party a bit too late for these type of cars and it sounds like the engines haven't been great until now which hasn't helped. People compare this car to not just a 500 but also a Mini and a Mini has the badge kudos that some people desire. And lastly, it's got my name...that can't help much either!! ;-)

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