Vauxhall Adam 1.2 Jam

We get behind the wheel of the entry-level version of the new MINI-rivalling Vauxhall Adam city car

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Adam Jam is a great car for the money, with lots of kit and a better drive than you expect at this price. Yes, the boot is tiny and rear legroom tight, plus touches like contrasting roof colours cost extra. But the engine is smooth, refined and perfect for town, with enough go for urban roads. The Adam rides better than most rivals on its 16-inch wheels, too.

The Vauxhall Adam is chasing fashion-conscious buyers with its funky design and almost limitless personalisation options. But is the entry-level 1.2 Jam as charming as the rest of the range?

Up to now, we’ve only driven 1.4-litre Adams, and this smaller engine is surprisingly good. It idles quietly and weighs 34kg less than the 1.4, so doesn’t trail much on performance. And while the 0-62mph time is a sluggish 14.9 seconds, in town the Adam never feels as if it’s struggling.

It promises 53.3mpg economy and 124g/km emissions, and if you specify the excellent £295 stop-start system, this improves to 56.5mpg and 118g/km.

From the Jam’s smart cabin – with its decent-quality surfaces and finishes – the 1.2 delivers a driving experience worthy of much more expensive rivals.

At full throttle, you don’t get a knock-out punch, but a refined and slightly muted engine note that doesn’t sound half bad.

This wouldn’t count for much without good handling, and the Adam serves up a well balanced chassis and sportier UK-specific steering calibration.

The electric steering has been made sharper and more responsive for British roads, and it also has a clever City mode. This reduces resistance below 30mph to make reverse parking and tight manoeuvring easier. In normal mode, it’s well weighted and responsive, but not as sharp as the steering in the far pricier MINI; the MINI also has the edge for body control.

Yet the Adam Jam rides better than the MINI. With 16-inch alloys as standard, it soaks up bumps easily and remains composed on motorways – impressive for a car that’s 30cm shorter than a Corsa and weighs just over a tonne.

And although stylish additions like a contrasting roof cost extra, this £11,255 entry-level Adam has 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth and air-con.

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