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.

  • 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

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before