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Vauxhall Adam Review

Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam
Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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Vauxhall Adam

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2012
      Body type
      City car
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Like Fiat 500, only worse

Best bits

  • Strong on interior quality
  • Range of smooth quiet petrol engines
  • Lots of customisation, so each car will be different

Not so great

  • Slow, and the ride is uncomfortable
  • Woefully short on interior and boot space
  • Not that much kit for a fairly high price

Read by

Vauxhall Adam Front Side View

Overall verdict

Vauxhall Adam Front Interior

On the inside

Vauxhall Adam Side Rear View

Driving

Vauxhall Adam Dashboard

How much does it cost to run

Vauxhall Adam Roof Interior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"You remember that period in history a few years back, when pretty much every third car you saw was a MINI or a Fiat 500? Would’ve been about 2008, 2009, something like that."

Vauxhall Adam Front Side View

Such was the popularity of these cars that our streets were absolutely littered with them. And although both were funky, retro-styled city cars that traded mainly on their looks and their ability to be customised to their buyer’s own personal taste with a variety of affordable styling options, each took a rather different approach to the formula. 


The Fiat was the car that provided buyers with bags of style for a very modest outlay, while the MINI was much more expensive, but also much more aspirational, meaning it was no less popular.


Unsurprisingly, the success of these cars didn’t go unnoticed by other car companies, and one of those was Vauxhall. A bright idea was quickly cooked up. “What if we were to take a chopped down Corsa platform, stick a sexily-styled body on top of it, offer buyers even more customisation options and then set the price slap-bang in the middle of those of the Fiat and the MINI?”, they thought. Probably.


And thus, a little while later, the Adam was released. Being all-new, it didn’t have the decades of heritage to call upon that its rivals did, and as such, its styling was much more modern than it was retro, but stylish it still was.


But sadly, the Adam wasn’t the goldmine that Vauxhall had hoped for. Maybe it was the fact it wasn’t retro enough. Maybe it was neither cheap enough, nor aspirational enough, to appeal? Maybe it was the daft name. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that in a number of key areas, the Adam simply wasn’t all that good.


Let’s start with its biggest achilles heel: practicality. Yes, both the 500 and the MINI were also very tight inside and short on boot space, but compared with the Adam, both felt like a luxury limo inside. Yes, buyers would willingly sacrifice a certain amount of practicality at the altar of style, but there were evidently limits.


And yes, neither the 500 or the MINI were particularly well equipped, either, but neither was the Vauxhall, and that would have been an easy thing to make its USP. Fairly crucially, the Adam was also very mediocre to drive. The ride was lumpy and unsettled, the handling was bland and uninspiring, while the engines were flat and performance was gutless. Yes the same was true of the 500, but it was cheap enough to not matter. 


And while the MINI wasn’t the comfiest car on the planet, it delivered thrill-a-minute handling and perky performance to make up for it.


It wasn’t all bad. The interior was pretty good ergonomically, and interior quality was also very impressive. However, that’s just not enough with such popular competition. These days, used examples can be picked up for a song, and if you fancy something stylish and rare and you don’t really need back seats, then it might be worth a look. However, make sure you try before you buy to make sure you can put up with its foibles. Vauxhall even made a faux crossover version, the Vauxhall Adam Rocks Air.


Ready to get your top quality Vauxhall Adam?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Vauxhall Adam

1.2i Energised 3dr

  • 2018
  • 17,799 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Thurlow Nunn Vauxhall Luton
  • Bedfordshire, LU20TB
Price:£8,480
PCP: £148.79/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £148.79, Customer Deposit: £1,272.00, Total Deposit: £1,272.00, Optional Final Payment: £3,549.00, Total Charge For Credit: £1,548.65, Total Amount Payable: £10,028.65, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.42%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Vauxhall Adam

1.2i Energised 3dr

  • 2017
  • 14,475 miles
  • Bristol Street Motors Vauxhall Chingford
  • Greater London, E4 8PZ
Price:£7,200
PCP: £134.94/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £134.94, Customer Deposit: £1,080.00, Total Deposit: £1,080.00, Optional Final Payment: £2,665.00, Total Charge For Credit: £1,267.90, Total Amount Payable: £8,467.90, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.48%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Vauxhall Adam right for you?

Do you like the idea of a MINI or a Fiat 500 - a stylish city car that’s all about making a statement, and to hell with everything else - but you’re not so keen on the fact that those cars are absolutely chuffing everywhere?


If that’s the case, then the Adam could be a possibility for you. Yes, it was nowhere near as popular as the cars mentioned, but that also means it’s a lot less common. Why was it less popular? Well, if we’re honest, because it wasn’t all that great in a number of areas, most notably interior space, ride comfort, or performance. In fairness, neither was the 500, but at least it was cheap, where the Adam was not. 


However, there are things to like about the Adam. The interior is impressive for quality, the engines are smooth and quiet and fuel economy is pretty good.

What's the best Vauxhall Adam model/engine to choose?

In terms of the trim you want, you’re probably best off sticking with Jam trim. It comes with most of what you need, and while the loftier trims provide plenty more in the way of extra styling goodies, they don’t actually give you much more in the way of extra kit. Even the poshest versions are missing some kit you’d expect for the money. 


For example, no versions gets rear parking sensors, heated front seats sat-nav or automatic lights and wipers as standard. So, you may as well keep things cheap.


On the engine front, the best choice is the perky and quiet 1.0-litre turbo. However, this is only available on the loftier trims, so it’s expensive. Worth it if you can afford it, but we reckon most people will probably be better settling for one of the 1.4-litre engines and a lower trim level so as to minimise their outlay.


What other cars are similar to the Vauxhall Adam?

When Vauxhall noticed how many MINIs and Fiat 500s people were buying a few years back, the firm decided to release a style-diven city car of its own to get a piece of the pie, and thus the Adam was conceived. 


Although the Fiat 500 lies at the cheaper end of the scale and the MINI at the more expensive end, with the Adam somewhere in the middle, both cars have to be considered as rivals. Vauxhall wasn’t the only car company that attempted to muscle in on the action, either. Citroen - and later DS - weighed in with the DS3, while the Audi A1 was aimed squarely at nicking sales from the MINI.


Learn more

Vauxhall Adam Front Interior

On the inside

Vauxhall Adam Side Rear View

Driving

Vauxhall Adam Dashboard

How much does it cost to run

Vauxhall Adam Roof Interior

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Can I buy the Adam with an automatic gearbox?

Yes. There are fewer used automatics around than manuals, but there was a traditional self-shifting gearbox available as an option on the 1.4-litre petrol, in lieu of the manual.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

What is a Vauxhall Adam?

It was Vauxhall’s attempt at a premium supermini to rival the MINI, Fiat 500 and DS 3, with a high level of equipment, three-door body layout and nicer feeling interior.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Where is the Vauxhall Adam built?

In Germany, at parent company Opel’s Eisenach facility. It’s rebranded as a Vauxhall before being sold in the UK, but since it sells in small numbers in Europe, there is just one factory.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Does the Vauxhall Adam make a good first car?

The funky design and smart interior mean the Adam is a good car for young drivers who like to express their personality. It’ll be cheap to run too, but it’s also impractical and no fun to drive.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady