Review

Vauxhall Adam hatchback

Price  £11,630 - £17,245

Vauxhall Adam hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Good-quality finish
  • Many affordable options available
Cons
  • Inefficient engines
  • Firm ride quality
  • Poor practicality

At a glance

The greenest
JAM 1.0i Dir Inj Tur 115PS S/S ecoFLEX 3dr £13,630
The cheapest
JAM 1.2i 70PS 3dr £11,630
The fastest
S 1.4i 150PS Turbo S/S 3dr £17,245
Top of the range
S 1.4i 150PS Turbo S/S 3dr £17,245

"Style and scope for customisation compensate for the Vauxhall Adam’s uncomfortable suspension and tiny boot"

If you’re looking for a car to make your own, the Vauxhall Adam might be just the ticket. It boasts a range of customisation options so large that it's almost conceivable you’ll never spot another Adam identical to yours.

Like models such as the Fiat 500 and Mini hatchback, the Adam majors on style, so many of its owners won’t be fazed by its poor outright practicality compared to the best small hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta.

There are three main models in the Adam range – Jam, Slam, Glam – as well as a 'warm-hatch' version called the Adam S (previously known as the Grand Slam). Two more – a butch-looking crossover called the Rocks Air featuring a fabric roof and a version called the Rocks with a conventional roof – are also available. We’ve reviewed them separately.

Whichever version of Adam you choose, it's intended to be the basis for a host of personalisation options, many of them reasonably priced. Vauxhall's IntelliLink touchscreen display, which can integrate with your smartphone, is only £275, for example.

The Adam Jam, Glam and Slam are available with a choice of 1.0, 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engines. The Adam S offers a more powerful 1.4-litre, 148bhp turbocharged engine. But it's the 111bhp 1.0-litre that we’d recommend – if your budget can stretch to it. It costs around £1,000 more than the 1.4-litre and around £2,000 more than the very slow 1.2-litre.

If you’d rather spend that cash on making your Adam stand out from the crowd, then the 99bhp version of the 1.4-litre engine is the next best thing. 

The Adam definitely looks the part, but it's not as much fun to drive as its rivals. The steering doesn’t connect you with the road in the same way as a Fiesta or DS 3. Plus the Adam has very firm suspension, meaning you can feel too many of the bumps in the road.

Meanwhile, the Adam's boot is even smaller than the Fiat 500's and much smaller than the one in the latest MINI hatchback.

Although the faster Adam S shares some of its parts with the Corsa VXR hot hatch, it's not especially convincing, while being only slightly less expensive than the brilliant Ford Fiesta ST. As a result, it's hard to make a case for it.

The sting in the tail is that while personalising a new Adam is fun, doing so without spending too much money or putting future second-hand buyers off is tricky. This is because the Adam loses value quicker than many of its rivals – especially the DS 3 (formerly the Citroen DS3) and Fiat 500.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.2 / 5

The Vauxhall Adam has CO2 emissions and fuel economy that are worse than many of its rivals’

Engines, drive & performance

3.2 / 5

The Vauxhall Adam offers lots of grip, but dull steering and a firm ride spoil the fun

Interior & comfort

3.8 / 5

The Vauxhall Adam looks classy inside, with plenty of scope for customisation

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

The Vauxhall Adam is great for short hops, but a small boot and rear seats rule out longer-distance adventures

Reliability & safety

3 / 5

Decent customer satisfaction, but the Vauxhall Adam has a disappointing crash-test score

What the others say

3.3 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
“The Adam is a smart and fun-filled city car. It's exciting to drive with a bold image that takes in-car customisation and gadgets to new heights for this market.”
3 / 5
“The Vauxhall Adam has bags of style and luxury equipment, and a classy cabin. However, the versions we’ve driven so far are just too uncomfortable to recommend.”
3 / 5
“Rivals including the MINI and the Audi A1 are all better to drive than the Vauxhall ADAM. Even though the large majority of buyers will love the light steering, the lack of feedback takes all the sense of enjoyment away from the driver.”
What owners say 
4
4 /5 based on 6 reviews
83%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

3 star   0
1 star   0

Common problems:

Last updated 
3 Jun 2015
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