Vauxhall Adam Jam review

The Vauxhall Adam Jam will appeal to younger buyers thanks to great looks and value. However, old engines and mediocre safety let it down.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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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.

The Vauxhall Adam is Vauxhall's answer to premium small cars such as the Fiat 500, MINI and Citroen DS3 and the entry-level Jam spec is a great example of a city car with good value and great looks.

The Vauxhall Adam Jam is the entry level car in the Vauxhall Adam range and starts at around £11,000, but it's not short on character or kit. As standard, Vauxhall provides the Adam Jam with a choice of 27 colour combinations, a chunky leather steering wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels, a colour-coded exterior and wireless phone technology.

Like the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Group threesome, the Volkswagen up!, the Skoda Citigo and the SEAT Mii, the Vauxhall Adam is definitely a modern looking city car thanks to the company's latest front-end design language with a prominent Griffin badge and unmissable LED running lights. Having said that, the curves of the roofline and elsewhere on the bodywork do give the Adam something of the cute retro profile that distinguishes the Fiat 500.   In line with the rest of the Vauxhall Adam range, buyers of the Jam spec cars have the option of painting the roof a different shade to the rest of the car to really put a personal stamp on it. However, we'd always advise buyers to think of the residual values when speccing their car and avoid doing anything too lairy.

Like the higher spec Glam and Slam trims, the Vauxhall Adam Jam is only available with a petrol engine - Vauxhall claims the Adam's target buyers won't be interested in diesel power, so buyers get a choice of either a 1.2-litre which comes with 69bhp, or a 1.4-litre which has either 86bhp or 99bhp. What's more, Vauxhall's eco-friendly ecoFLEX technology can be specced on both engine types.

While the engines in the Vauxhall Adam will most likely be reliable - they've already been proven in the Corsa - they feel dated and don't offer enough power and torque to make the most of the Adam's light chassis.

Vauxhall Adam 1.4 Jam interior

The looks of the Vauxhall Adam might suggest that it's fun, vibrant and sporty to drive - unfortunately, this doesn't happen once you get behind the wheel. The Vauxhall Adam grips the road well, but its ride quality is too harsh and you get very little feedback from the front wheels through the steering.

Another downside to the Vauxhall Adam is practicality. While the driver and the front-seat passenger get plenty of room and storage space, rear-occupants might feel a little claustrophobic, meaning adults may only want to make short journeys in there. The boot is quite deep but not very long and when you fold down the back seats for more space, you're left with a big step in the middle of the load floor.

Worryingly for a new car, the Vauxhall Adam only scored four-stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, as opposed to the maximum of five-stars that's become the norm for modern city cars. The Vauxhall Adam also failed to exceed 90 per cent in any of the adult protection areas of the test and recorded disappointing scores of 72 per cent and 65 per cent for pedestrian protection.

Find out about the cheapest cars to run in the UK here.


Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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