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Vauxhall Adam: Test Drive Review

Date: 22 November 2012   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

Category: Supermini
P11D price: £12,920
Key rival: Fiat 500

Vauxhall's foray into the supermini sector needs to be good. The Adam, which has already received plenty of attention due to its absurd name, is up against a host of excellent rivals including the trailblazing Mini, the Fiat 500 and the Audi A1.

Fleet appeal will be limited due to its three-door only iteration and should make up about one-fifth of overall sales, but the carmaker expects it to appeal to user choosers and businesses wanting to enhance their brand, likening the idea to estate agents Foxtons and its ubiquitously branded Mini fleet. This is thanks to the Adam's huge range of personalised options including 12 body colours - with names such as 'I'll be Black', 'Purple Fiction' and 'James Blonde' - three roof colours and 20 wheel designs.

There are no diesel engines; you can choose between a 70hp 1.2-litre and a 1.4-litre petrol unit with 87hp or 100hp. The top-selling fleet version will be the 87hp 1.4 in mid-trim Glam, which emits 129g/km, equating to a 16% benefit-in-kind banding, or pay an extra £295 for stop/start, which will drop emissions to 119g/km and BIK to 14%. Meanwhile, a turbo-charged 1.0-litre petrol engine due by 2014 and expected to bring emissions below 100g/km, will make the car more appealing to fleets and the masses.

The ridiculous names continue with three trim levels: Jam, Glam and Slam. Sounding akin to a preserve, a beauty salon and a basketball film, Vauxhall reckons these names reflect "fashionable/ colourful, elegant/sophisticated, and racy/sporty" respectively.

On the road, the Adam is satisfactory, but fails to excel in any area. The steering is light and lacks driver feedback or precision, although Vauxhall says this is being tweaked for the UK. The ride is fairly comfortable, but handling and performance won't suit many places other than cities, which is, of course, where this car is headed. Cabin quality is good, although its four-seater status is a stretch - it's best suited to two adults and two children - and boot space is small.

Vauxhall has sometimes fallen short in recent years against rival Ford while premium marques are gaining ground, and the Adam does little to change that with whole-life costs. At 36.2 pence per mile, it is more expensive than similar Audi A1 and Fiat 500 models, only beating the Mini One's 37.0ppm (see 'Rivals' below). The P11D price differences between the models isn't huge, with the Adam 1.4 87hp Glam costing £12,920, although this mid-range trim has better spec than the Audi or Mini. The Adam, however, loses out with 129g/km CO2 - hardly competitive for a supermini - and poorer RVs, with 34.8% versus the A1's high of 45.1%.

There's no doubt the Adam will appeal to a fashionable few who like the idea of making a car their own, but for most business buyers, it isn't good enough to stand up to its competitors.

Vauxhall Adam 1.4-litre 87hp Glam
P11D price£12,920
Model price range£11,255-£14,000
Residual value34.8%
Depreciation£8420
Fuel£7264
Service, maintenance
and repair
£1597
Vehicle Excise Duty£200
National Insurance£909
Cost per mile36.2p
Fuel consumption51.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 129g/km 16(%)
BIK 20/40% per month£34/£69
Insurance (1-50)group 6
Warrantyunlimited yrs/ mls
Boot space min/max362/1372 litres
Engine size/power1398cc/87hp
Top speed/0-62mph110mph/12.5secs
On sale March
Score6/10
VerdictGood-looking and
fun supermini but doesn’t
better its rivals


Verdict


Good-looking and fun supermini but doesn’t better its rivals
6/10

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