Review

Vauxhall Adam hatchback

£11,630 - £15,500

The Vauxhall Adam is a three-door supermini for those people who really like to personalize their cars. Unlike rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta that offer a modest array of mainly feature-based extras, the Adam lets you choose from any number of trims and colour combinations, enabling you to create a car that's unique to you.

There are three core models – Jam, Slam, Glam – as well as a 'warm-hatch' version called 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 – have just been launched.  

Whichever version of Adam you choose, it's intended to be the basis for a host of personalisation options, many of them reasonably priced. A touchscreen display is only £275, for example. 

Engine-wise, the Jam, Glam, Rocks and Rocks Air are available with a choice of three petrol engines in 1.0, 1.2 and 1.4-litre capacities. The Slam offers a more powerful 1.4-litre, while the Grand Slam has the most powerful engine of all: a 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre. The 111bhp 1.0-litre engine is our choice for its low running costs and impressive performance.

On the road, the Adam fails to live up to its fun billing. It doesn't steer or handle as sharply as its major rivals, nor does it ride as well as them. In this respect, it's very sensitive to wheel size. Meanwhile, its boot is even smaller than the Fiat 500's and much smaller than the one in the latest MINI hatch.

Although the Grand Slam 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.

The sting in the tail is that while personalising a new Adam is fun, doing so without spending too much money or putting future used buyers off is tricky. This is because the Adam loses value quicker than many of its rivals – especially the rock-solid Audi A1 and MINI hatch.