Vauxhall has revealed the Adam – a city car that’s aiming to beat the MINI and Fiat 500 at their own game. With its stylish design, premium materials, hi-tech gadgets and huge scope for personalisation, this is the company’s most exciting new model in years.
Vauxhall is aiming to trump its rivals by offering over one million different possible trim and colour combinations. Vice president of design at GM Europe, Mark Adams, said: “No other car in this segment can be individualised as much as Adam. It’s very unlikely that you’ll find two identical Adams out there.”
Regardless of combination, it’s clear that Vauxhall has nailed the stylish part of the brief. The feature line around the door handles is lifted from the Astra GTC, while the blade crease on the flanks and eagle-eye headlights are both signature Vauxhall design cues. The wraparound windscreen and cut-off A and C-pillars with the Adam logo are unique, and the result is a look that can more than hold its own in this style-driven end of the market.
To enhance the premium feel, the headlining can be upgraded to a design dotted with LEDs that mimic the night sky – no car this side of a Rolls-Royce Phantom offers anything similar. Alternatively, you can have the headlining finished in sky blue or with a chequered flag. Then there are the gloss panels and soft-touch dash that help to give the Adam a touch of class.
Vauxhall has told us the car will be available in three trims – Jam, Glam and Slam – but won’t reveal what kit comes on which models until closer to the car’s launch in September. There is, however, a host of gadgets, including a seven-inch touchscreen display for sat-nav and Internet-based apps.
There’s also a heated steering wheel and a park assist system that will park the Adam for you.
Lowered suspension is likely to be fitted to the range-topping Slam model, along with 17-inch wheels.
To help mark it out, it will also come with a contrasting roof as standard and sportier features, like a rear spoiler. At launch, the engine line-up will kick off with a 69bhp 1.2-litre petrol, while a 1.4-litre will be offered with 86bhp or 99bhp. Stop-start will be available on each of the engines, and a five-speed manual gearbox will come as standard.
Towards the end of 2013 the Adam will be the first Vauxhall to get a new small-capacity petrol engine, thought to be a three-cylinder turbo, like Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost. It should offer around 115bhp along with economy of 60mpg and CO2 emissions under 110g/km. Along with the engine, Vauxhall will introduce a new six-speed manual gearbox.
To compete in this market, a car needs to be fun to drive, and the Adam has all the right ingredients. It’s marginally longer than a MINI, but has a 30mm wider track, which will boost stability, while MacPherson strut front suspension will help improve the car’s responses.
But Vauxhall realises the Adam will spend most of its time in town, and has fitted it with a Fiat 500-style ‘City’ button, which boosts steering assistance to make low-speed manoeuvres easier.
The Adam will be available to order once it’s officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September, but UK deliveries won’t be made until January. Prices should start at around £11,000; this undercuts the MINI, but not the smaller Fiat 500, which costs from £9,960.