Hatchback Petrol Premium paint - Pump up the blue Manual Vauxhall Chingford
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The ADAM is Vauxhall's refreshingly different take on the small car sector. It doesn't replace the brand's conventional citycar and supermini offerings but it does offer a more stylish option that sits somewhere in between for buyers bored by the sight of BMW's reinvented MINI on every drive and unmoved by Fiat's funky 500. Here's a fashionable alternative with an encyclopaedic list of options, bidding for individuality beyond the hatchback herd.
So what's it like behind the wheel? Slide into the seat and there's a very different feel from that provided by a Corsa - or any other conventional supermini come to that. The commanding driving position, the big chunky MINI-like wheel, the wide, low glass area. It all makes you eager to tackle the urban jungle, with the promise of secondary road sportiness beyond. Not too much mind. Though there's a 150PS 1.4-litre petrol turbocharged powerplant in the top shopping rocket 'S' model at the top of the range, most ADAM variants must use humbler engines. Of these, the pick of the bunch is the 115PS 1.0i Direct Injection petrol turbo unit that's well worth paying a premium for. This was first introduced on the convertible 'Rocks Air' bodystyle and has since been extended out across the range. If you can't stretch to this unit, then you'll have to restrict your search to one of Vauxhall's older ptrol engines - curiously, there's no diesel option. These petrol choices include the 70PS 1.2i and a 1.4i unit with either 87 or 100PS options. To be honest, the entry-level 70PS 1.2-litre 16v engine does struggle a little with the task of pushing nearly 1.1-tonnes of ADAM up the road with any real zip, sixty two mph from rest occupying nearly 15s on the way to a top speed only just over 100mph. Better by far to find only a little more for one of the 1.4s. The 87PS unit manages 62mph in a far more acceptable 12.5s on the way to 109mph. And the 100PS engine improves things further to 11.5s and 115mph.
Though Vauxhall offers an unusual 'Rocks Air' convertibe version of this car, most buyers will be looking at the single three-door hatch bodystyle. At under 3.7m in length, this ADAM is actually shorter than many citycars and a full 300mm shorter than Vauxhall's Corsa supermini. But there's more to it than that. The tall height and the considerable width - it's actually wider than a Corsa - positions it visually as a bigger car than it actually is. A clever trick, which also pays dividends inside. As in a Fiat 500, the high roof gives a spacious feel, something that here is further underlined by the greater width and glass area. But all the smoke and mirrors in the world can't create space where there isn't much and Vauxhall's claim that this design can 'comfortably seat four adults' requires for fulfilment the directive that those in the front should be very short-legged indeed. And at the wheel? Well, as a buyer you'll have used the enormous trim choice range to complete a decor finish that's either restrained, wilfully extrovert or more likely, as in this case, a feel that's somewhere between the two. Most models offer a dash dominated by the optional 7-inch LCD colour Intellilink infotainment system, one of the first to be able to communicate with both Apple and Android devices and applications and operable either via the touchscreen itself or through steering wheel switchgear. Out back, a prod on the rear Griffin badge reveals a 170-litre boot that lies size-wise somewhere between slightly smaller shape of a MINI and the slightly larger one of a Fiat 500.
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