Review: Vauxhall Adam

Review: Vauxhall Adam
Review: Vauxhall Adam

No no, no no no no, no no no no, no no there’s no limit! If you’re old enough for there to be a techno (techno techno techno) anthem pumping up the volume in your head right now, you’re almost certainly too old to be in the market for a Vauxhall Adam.

Just as well, probably. Calling a car ‘Unlimited’ is asking for trouble. When Jeep used the word a decade or so ago, it simply meant “long-wheelbase”.

2016 Vauxhall Adam Unlimited 1.0i Turbo

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Price: £14,620
Engine: 1.0-litre, three cylinders, petrol, turbo
Power: 113bhp
Torque: 125lb/ft at
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 121mph
0-62mph: 9.9sec
Fuel economy: 60.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 109g/km

In the Adam’s case, though, maybe Vauxhall is right. Because in a way, this new trim level is actually telling the truth with its name.

People who buy funky urban runabouts like to personalise them. The Mini and Fiat 500 both proved that, and the Adam offers plenty of styling options. What makes the Unlimited special is that it’s the only trim with which you can spec them in absolutely any combination.

Something else that makes it special is that it’s the cheapest model you can buy with the 1.0i Turbo engine. Which is good, because the 1.0i Turbo is the funkiest engine in the range. Mated to a six-speed manual box, its 113bhp output and hearty three-pot hum mean it feels suitably brisk.

It’s no different mechanically to existing Adams, in fact. So it’s smooth, refined and easy to steer at lower speeds but kind of clumsy if you refuse to believe that it’s not a sports car. Poor roads induce a fair bit of pitching, and at higher speeds there’s no real feel to the steering.

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So if you want a city car, the Mini is still the one.

The Adam’s cabin manages to be nearly as impressive as the Mini’s, however, and its tall shape means you won’t struggle to get seated just the way you want. Those accommodated behind you won’t be very happy, though, especially as anything more than a modest load of luggage will end up being carried on their laps.

Still, 60.1mpg and 109g/km from one of the most powerful engines in the range is pretty appealing. And if you want to drive an Adam like no other, so too is the prospect of selecting the colours for your car’s panels, roof, grille and door mirrors, appending it with stickers, deciding on the size and style of alloys you want and, once it’s delivered, settling in to an interior of your choosing.

So it seems that there is indeed no limit. Unless £14,620 plus the cost of actually going ahead and speccing all those optional colours and stickers and stuff is a limiting factor, in which case maybe there is a valley too deep, a mountain too high after all.

It’s cheaper than a comparable Mini One, too – though whether that makes it a wiser way to spend your money is a different matter. We think the Mini’s looks are more appealing – its dynamics certainly are. But we’d also say that if the Adam is for you, the Unlimited model is now the pick of the range.

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