Vauxhall Adam 1.0 Turbo 2015 review

Three-cyl turbo is a perfect fit for stylish Vauxhall Adam supermini

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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The Adam finally has the engine it deserved from the start. The smooth and eager three-cylinder unit gives it a real grown-up feel, and the car now matches the MINI for refinement and performance. It’s still not as fun to drive as its rivals, but the tempting price, mature driving experience and customisation options mean it demands serious consideration.

The cheeky Vauxhall Adam has been given a heart transplant. For nearly two years, the stylish city runaround has soldiered on with a line-up of lacklustre engines, but that’s all changed with the arrival of the all-new 1.0-litre three-cylinder which has already made its debut in the Corsa.

The biggest benefit is increased refinement. The new engine is barely audible at idle, and even when it’s extended, the characteristic three-cylinder thrum is well suppressed. When combined with the low levels of road and wind noise, it makes the Adam a surprisingly relaxed long-distance cruiser.

With 113bhp, 170Nm of torque and a close ratio six-speed gearbox, acceleration is lively, too. Vauxhall claims a sprightly 9.9 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint, but it’s the muscular real-world pace that stands out.

The turbocharged unit pulls strongly from around 1,500rpm and revs smoothly and eagerly all the way to the 6,500rpm red line. And while the gearbox suffers from a slightly notchy action, its closely stacked ratios allow you to make the most of the performance potential.

The rest of the Adam is unchanged, which means you get the same, easygoing driving experience. There’s little feedback from the steering, but the car is agile and predictable through a series of corners. Even better, the light controls and compact dimensions make it a breeze to drive in town. Stick to the standard 16-inch wheels and the firm low-speed ride is less noticeable than on versions fitted with larger, optional alloys. 

As before, there’s a wide array of personalisation options, including contrasting roof colours and various alloy designs. It’s a similar story in the cabin, which can be given a lift courtesy of body-colour inserts for the dash and gearlever surround. With prices starting at £13,445, the well equipped Adam represents decent value for money.

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