Vauxhall Adam 1.4

Vauxhall's gone heavy on the personalisation with its new Adam

Price: From £11,580
Engine: 1,398cc, four cylinders, 16 valves, 87bhp at 6,000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive
Performance: 110mph, 0-62 in 12.5sec, 55.4mpg, CO2 119g/km

Would you Adam and Eve it? Here's the sparky new motor from Vauxhall and, blimey, it's got a cabin like a stretch limo's little sister. What's more, you can even hook up the old dog and bone and watch its screen on the telly.

It gets stranger. Your Adam can be a Jam, a Glam or a Slam. And the colours, well… how about Purple Fiction? Or James Blonde? You can have a different-coloured roof, too, in I'll Be Black, White My Fire or Men in Brown. Never mind the graphics packs: Fly, Splat and Stripes. Seldom has the serpent of temptation laid so many car cosmetics on the automotive dressing table. All that's missing is the apple, although Apple's iPhone (or an Android alternative) is vital to optimum Adamisation.

As for the name? It comes from the fact that Opel, whose badge adorns GM's European products everywhere but the UK, was founded by Adam Opel.

This is what happens when Vauxhall joins the coterie of small, fashion-object cars such as the Mini, Citroën DS3 and Fiat 500. Cheeky looks, rampant accessorisation and "connectivity" are what buyers now want.

If the car is good fun to drive and refined, so much the better, but that's not so important to the generation at which the Adam is aimed. They know most new cars are good enough for them not to need worry about that aspect. For these buyers, portrayed in the brochure with a saturation-point ache of trendiness, cars are now seen in the same way as phones and tablets: status-loaded commodities.

The limo allusion might seem to be stretching a point, but among the décors offered for the roof lining is one in which clouds printed on a sky-blue background are pin-pricked with 64 white LEDs, which glow at night like stars. More LEDs can stud the dashboard's variously finished panels, while ambient lights can cycle through eight colours. You can also turn the whole lot off, which is a relief. The underlying interior quality is very good, with rich-feeling surfaces and dials resembling the watches that punctuate every-other page in lifestyle magazines.

Under all this is a car. It's bigger than a 500, more mini than a Mini, and not at all roomy either in the back or boot. The front has a goofy grin and the wheels can be had with one spoke in the colour of the bodywork. And – back to phones, screens and apps – there is an optional IntelliLink system which links phone to car. It uses the phone's apps, including Vauxhall's downloadable satnav, though the latter isn't quite finished; in the one I tried, the route looked drawn on with a felt pen.

The Adam has an engine and a suspension system, of course. You can have a 70bhp 1.2 and a choice of 1.4s with 87 or 100bhp. All are petrol-fuelled; a turbocharged three-cylinder, 1.0-litre unit is on the way, but no diesels or automatics. I tried the 87bhp engine, which felt sufficiently unenthusiastic to make me recommend the 100bhp one, even though it was unavailable for test. Nor is the 87bhp engine particularly smooth or quiet. It is merely adequate.

Handling? Ride comfort? The former is tidy without actually encouraging a good time. The suspension is too firm over bumps; more suppleness would make the whole car flow better.

As a marketing concept, the Adam is right on target for its time, with the chicken-and-egg proviso that Vauxhall isn't yet a "cool brand". But, as a motoring reporter, I'd like to think that buyers' appreciation of automotive attributes runs a little deeper than Slam-Splat-Purple.

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

    £6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor