12 Jun: Vauxhall Adam JAM 1.2i

I’m still undecided about the Vauxhall Adam. Unlike Fiat and MINI, Vauxhall didn’t previously have a highly successful and fashionable city car. The Nova was too plain and practical to be considered funky and the Agila looked like it had been carved out of a school canteen traybake. In other words, there was no heritage to hang a ‘retro’ style car on.

And maybe that was a good thing. What they have come up with is something that looks as though it was derived from some past automotive styling success, even if it does look a bit Audi A3-ish – apart from the paint job and trim.

As for the test car it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice. It arrived in ‘JAM’ spec (as opposed to (Glam or Slam – the mind boggles!) with ‘Pump up the Blue’ paint colouring. It could have been worse, they might have sent the ‘Papa don’t Peach’ or ‘Buzz Lightgreen’ flavoured paint jobs!

As it was, it attracted a lot of attention, mostly from the laydees! Whether it will appeal to the boys or not is another question, but considering the fact that Vauxhall dealers have a ‘configurator’ which will allow potential buyers to specify their own finish, then it could have wider appeal. And if you take all the permutations into account, from paint finish to alloy wheels, interior materials to accessories, Vauxhall reckon there are over 30,000 varieties. That’s way more than Heinz.

Knowing what I was driving this week, some of my ‘friends’ turned out to spectate, and even tipped off their neighbours. Large craggy blokes and dinky little cars are most certainly NOT a match made in heaven.

Having said, that the wide doors allow easy access to the two seater interior. Yes I know it’s supposed to be a four seater, but once you get two grown-ups in the front, there’s only room for Bill and Ben, or a couple of Snow White’s pals, in the back. Once installed, the feeling of space was further enhanced by comfortable, although slightly on the narrow side, front seats and a roomy, airy interior. As for the boot, just don’t go shopping for four, or plan anything longer than a dirty weekend for two!

Parents worried about their offspring’s first car will be comforted with the thought that the basic ecoFLEX 1.2 litre four cylinder petrol engine ekes out a mere 69 bhp. On the basis that the car will barely top 100 mph and takes nearly 15 seconds to reach 60 from rest, the risk of a high speed accident is pretty low. For the more adventurous parent with more trustworthy weans, there is a choice of two 1.4 litre engines with either 86 bhp or 99 bhp.

Naturally, to go with its looks, the test car had the more modest lump which had the unflattering knack of requiring its overweight driver to drop two gears at times going up hills, not just one! Otherwise it was a good handling wee thing and enjoyable to drive, although marred at times by the ride quality of the smart looking 16 inch alloys, each wearing a rubber thong wrapped around them.

The base price of the car was £11,255 but the ‘JAM’ Extreme Pack added £995, on top of which a list of other extras added a further £2915 making a grand total of £15,165 for the car as it stood. The £525 paint option for two-coat pearlescent seemed a bit much as did the 100 quid for the painted interior headlining, but considering the car would be ideal for youngsters and first-timers, the tyre pressure monitoring system (£250) and Advanced park Assist (£450) seemed rather more sensible.

As a car, it’s entirely likeable, just not for the likes of me. Any car which offers a ‘chrome pack’ for £125 is obviously aimed at a different market and a different generation. And with the added bling, it surely wouldn’t look out of place dangling from a rapper’s neck chain. It’s about as big as one their medallions.

Even though I wouldn’t have one, I’m still not sure whether I like the Adam or not. The wee car drives well, although I’d prefer a bit more poke under the bonnet, and I don’t know if the options list includes an old geezer’s pack with steel wheels, proper tyres and a more conservative paint job! If it did, then maybe I would have one.

  • Review Date: June 12, 2013
  • Price
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  • Performance
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  • CO2 emissions
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