Vauxhall Adam review: what's it like to live with?

We get stuck into the options list for a brand-new Vauxhall Adam supermini

What is a Vauxhall Adam really like to own? CarBuyer's Tom Phillips will be spending the next year with the car to find out, in this real-world review. He'll be living with the car on a daily basis to find out what we can't from a normal review - what it's like to have one. Before he can get going, though, he'll need to choose all the equipment he wants from the huge options list.

Buying a new Vauxhall Adam can be a bit of a daunting task when faced with that blank order form in the dealership. There are no fewer than 60,000 exterior colour, trim and wheel combinations. Inside, there are another 80,000 potential choices, making it very likely that ‘my’ Adam is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world.

The first thing to choose for my new Vauxhall Adam was one of three spec levels. If the car’s name isn’t odd enough, Vauxhall’s product planners have excelled themselves with the rhyming line-up of entry-level Jam, mid-range Glam and top-spec Slam.

However, I elected not to go for the range-topper. Having driven Slams with optional 18-inch and standard 17-inch wheels, I found the ride to be too firm, so I chose the softer-riding Glam that comes with 16-inch wheels. I also went for the 1.4-litre engine, as the 86bhp petrol copes a little better with hills on the motorway than the 1.2. It’s predicted to be the top-seller, too, according to UK Adam product manager Ian Mitchell, who was on hand to talk me through the vast options list.

With the basics sorted, it was on to the fun stuff – according to Ian, the average Vauxhall Adam buyer spends about £1,500 on options, so there was work to be done. Around 70 per cent of customers opt for a contrasting roof colour, so for the bodywork I went for metallic Pump Up The Blue, which looks purple in sunlight, topped by a White My Fire roof. One neat touch is that you get a colour-coded key to match.

Glam models come with a panoramic sunroof as standard, but I deleted it on my car. Instead, I went for one of the Adam’s party-piece options – a panel in the headlining that shines with LEDs, creating the effect of a star-filled night sky.

Other boxes ticked included automatic lights and wipers, metal pedals and the Winter Pack, which includes heated front seats and – unusually for a supermini – a heated steering wheel. Although each Adam is pretty much unique, the most popular option of the 5,500 or so examples sold in the UK so far is the £275 touchscreen display that combines mobile apps, a DAB radio and Bluetooth functions in one neat unit.

The system in my car has worked well so far, although I haven’t yet downloaded the BringGo sat-nav or TuneIn web radio appsto my phone so I can use them with the system. The Adam comes with Siri Eyes Free, too, so I can control my iPhone by speaking. I haven’t really seen the point of Siri on my phone, but perhaps it’ll come into its own in the car.

One option that’s unlikely to be chosen by most buyers is the eight-speaker Infinity stereo. As a music lover, I thought it was a must, although the 90-watt subwoofer chomps up about half of the already small 170-litre boot. I’ll have to use the tiny back seats as a load space instead – although I’ve already managed to fit three people plus luggage in the Vauxhall Adam for a long weekend easily.

I’ve racked up just over 1,000 miles in the Adam so far. The engine isn’t as powerful as it probably should be, and the gearbox isn’t up to rivals’ standards, but I reckon they’ll get better with a few more miles. All in all, life with my very own personalised Adam is shaping up well.

Vauxhall Adam GLAM 1.4i 16v VVT (87PS) ecoFLEX S/S
Owned sinceAugust 2013
Price new£13,270
Engine1.4-litre petrol, 86bhp
Emissions and tax119g/km, £30 a year
Options 16-inch alloy wheels (£200), touchscreen display (£275), interior roof lighting (£325), bigger stereo (£275), metallic paint (£820)
Insurance£299 for a 42-year-old from Banbury, Oxfordshire, with three penalty points. Quote provided by AA (0800 107 0680).
Mileage so far1,306
Fuel Economy39.4mpg
Costs so farNone
Problems so farNone


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