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.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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

    Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

    £17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

    The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

    The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

    £30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'