Vauxhall Adam 1.4 Jam

14 Nov, 2012 5:30pm Steve Fowler

We get behind the wheel of the new MINI-rivalling Vauxhall Adam in entry-level Jam spec


The Vauxhall Adam is a really appealing and well priced premium supermini. It’s a shame the drive doesn’t (yet) live up to the excitement caused by everything else, but we love the style, the price and the options. Here’s hoping the chassis and steering revisions for UK Adams add the sparkle the car deserves.

Vauxhall could well have its timing spot-on with its new ‘boutique’ supermini, the Adam. Downsizing into upscale cars is still on trend, yet the current MINI is on its last legs and the Fiat 500’s honeymoon period is well and truly over.

The Adam certainly has the looks to make people sit up and take notice, avoiding the retro cliches of the MINI and 500, and looking like a younger brother of the Audi A1.

As expected, there’s a vast array of options to personalise your car, allowing for 30,000 combinations. It may take some time to choose and it’ll be fun – especially with colours like Papa Don’t Peach and Buzz Lightgreen.

The roof is finished in a contrasting colour and you can even personalise the ceiling inside – how about 47 tiny LED lights set on a blue sky background? No, me neither...

The list of colours for seats, dash and graphics goes on and on, and they’re all well priced. As is the car – our generously equipped, entry-level Jam model starts at a very reasonable £11,255 (which includes Vauxhall’s lifetime warranty).

Did I mention funny names? The other trim levels are Glam and Slam – in short and in order they’re fashion, posh and sporty. But thankfully they’re nothing to do with Spice Girls.

The Adam could do with a bit of dynamic spice, though – the lower-powered 85bhp 1.4 we drove was a bit of a plodder, while the sporty ride was firm but not uncomfy. The steering was similarly uninspiring, although all UK Adams will get steering and suspension upgrades to make them more responsive and more comfortable.

Quality inside is impressive, aided by the cheery choice of trims available, but space in the back and boot is tight – not a particular priority for buyers of these cars.

What is important is connectivity, and here Vauxhall plays a blinder. Its IntelliLink system relies on a nicely priced £275 touchscreen, which links to your smartphone. Navigation, podcasts and Internet radio are then sent to the car via apps, with the nav app set to cost around £50. And you can use them out of the car, too – more clever thinking from Vauxhall.

Disqus - noscript

nahh... this market relies on image, and with all the cheesy names and design flourishes (Jam, Glam, Slam?) you can just picture the deeply uncool suited Vauxhall PR people rubbing their hands off stage. A cynical marketing exercise if ever there was one...

Pram-like looks, indifferent handling, deeply uncool naming strategy.

A doubtful recipe for success.

Like the LED lights though, just right for Christmas.

Again Vauxhall is let down by poor steering... Is this me or is this on nearly all Vauxhall cars?

This car will sell very well indeed.
It's aimed at the young.
Once the car supermarkets start to sell it at a sensible price it will be a winner for VX.

Had it been called the "Edam" it would have been a doubly cheesy name!

Like middle aged men saying cool and wicked I suspect young people will find the names embarrassing. It will do OK if it is significantly cheaper than a nearly new Mini.

I'm at a loss with this car. Vauxhall usually dish out cars that are so deathly dull that I barely even notice them. This isn't, instead it is quite a nicely designed, small car. Valuxhall would have a complete winner on their hands if they didn't try soooo hard to make it cool and priced it hard against the VW Up.

The silly trim names, the silly name, the fake paint splodges under the pillars. It all looks too contrived.

I realise that I'm 44 and therefore not the target market but as a teenager I wouldn't have bought a car like this. It is most definitely not cool.

Though I'm not a VAG fan I suspect that the target market for this car will save themselves several thousand pounds and buy the VW Up. Understated, cool, sophisticated, not trying too hard. All the things that the Adam wants to be but fails.

I can picture the scene..

"What do you drive?"

"Adam Vauxhall"

"Not like it then?"

It's almost as bad as those poor women who had to announce to a smirking Ford salesman that you they wanted a Probe.....

I see the anti Vx brigade are out in force

Key specs

  • Price: £11,580
  • Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl, 85bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 12.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 110mph
  • Economy: 55.4mpg
  • CO2: 119g/km
  • Equipment: Alloy wheels, Bluetooth, DAB radio, USB and aux in, air-conditioning
  • On sale: Now

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