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VAUXHALL ADAM

1.2i Energised 3dr

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Vauxhall ADAM Energised - By Jonathan Crouch

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

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Vauxhall's trendy little ADAM Energised model offers trendy city dwellers a more fashionable feel at an affordable price. Jonathan Crouch checks it out

Ten Second Review

Vauxhall's ADAM is a fashionable little citycar that did much to pioneer the whole concept of almost endless buyer personalisation when it comes to models in this segment. If you'd rather than the Griffin brand did the job for you though, then this 'Energised' derivative might be up your street. You have to have it with the 1.2-litre petrol engine and it comes with a pleasingly bespoke feel for the money.

Background

The ADAM has proved to be a small but significant player in the compact car segment for Vauxhall and since it was first launched, the brand hasn't stopped continually trying to improve it. First, there was a pokier 1.0-litre direct injection turbo petrol engine. Then a 'Rocks Air' convertible bodystyle. Then an 'S' hot hatch model. And now this 'Energised' high value version. The 'Energised' package is quite a simple one to get your head around. It involves taking the most affordable 69bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine, then matching it with a classier look, 17-inch gloss black alloy wheels, part-leather seats and the Intellilink infotainment system for less than £2,000 more. Sounds promising.

Driving Experience

So what's it like behind the wheel? Slide into the seat and there's a very different feel from that provided by a Corsa - or any other conventional supermini come to that. The commanding driving position, the big chunky MINI-like wheel, the wide, low glass area. It all makes you eager to tackle the urban jungle, with the promise of secondary road sportiness beyond. Not too much mind. In this 'Energised' derivative, you only get the feeblest 69bhp 1.2-litre non-turbo petrol engine, so performance is leisurely to say the least. 62mph from rest takes 14.9s and the engine does struggle a little with the task of pushing nearly 1.1-tonnes of ADAM up the road with any real zip. As with most models of this kind, while you'll be quite comfortable in attempting a motorway trip of a few hours, you will notice at and around the legal limit that refinement isn't quite as good as you first thought.

Design and Build

At under 3.7m in length, this ADAM is actually shorter than many citycars and a full 300mm shorter than Vauxhall's Corsa supermini. But there's more to it than that. The tall height and the considerable width - it's actually wider than a Corsa - positions it visually as a bigger car than it actually is. A clever trick, which also pays dividends inside. As in a Fiat 500, the high roof gives a spacious feel, something that here is further underlined by the greater width and glass area. But all the smoke and mirrors in the world can't create space where there isn't much and Vauxhall's claim that this design can 'comfortably seat four adults' requires for fulfilment the directive that those in the front should be very short-legged indeed. And at the wheel? The dash is dominated by the 7-inch LCD colour Intellilink infotainment system, one of the first to be able to communicate with both Apple and Android devices and applications and operable either via the touchscreen itself or through steering wheel switchgear. Out back, a prod on the rear Griffin badge reveals a 170-litre boot that lies size-wise somewhere between slightly smaller shape of a MINI and the slightly larger one of a Fiat 500.

Market and Model

The 'Energised' package adds 17-inch gloss black alloy wheels, a black roof and black exterior detailing. Plus you also get LED daytime running lights and LED tail-lights included. Inside, you'll find part-leather seats, sports pedals and the Intelliink infotainment system. The complete package costs an extra £1,845 on top of the normal car and the only extra is the optional OnStar system. Buyers get a choice of five colours but unfortunately, they can only have Vauxhall's older 1.2-litre petrol engine - you can't specify the more modern 1.0-litre direct injection unit. The one thing that isn't optional on this ADAM - and shouldn't be - is safety. This model gets the expected twin front, side and curtain airbags and ABS brakes, plus the ESP stability control that some rivals charge extra for on their baseline models. Some of the fancier safety systems borrowed from larger cars that other rivals have started offering are missing though. Obvious rivals include Fiat's 500 and ritzier versions of Volkswagen's up!

Cost of Ownership

Because this 'Energised' variant can't be had with Vauxhall's most economic 1.0 ECOTEC engine - or any sort of diesel option - the running cost returns on offer here can't be in any way exemplary. Still, a combined cycle figure of 53.3mpg and a CO2 return of 124g/km is hardly ruinous. You can monitor your progress in frugality by keeping an eye on the 'Eco Drive Assistant' - basically a section of the trip computer that monitors energy consumption and indicates when to shift up. Residuals will probably be a touch behind, say, a MINI Hatch 3-door or a Fiat 500, but perhaps only until the market adjusts to the idea of as desirable fashion-led small Vauxhall.

Summary

The tiny lifestyle city statement this car represents is a well familiar one of course, but this little Vauxhall carries it off with greater confidence in this 'Energised' guise. Of course, as with most cars of this kind, buyers must be prepared to forgo the greater space they'd have enjoyed in an ordinary run-of-the-mill supermini that would have cost much the same. Still, the growth of this particular little market niche suggest that there are many buyers out there making those sorts of choices and in meeting their needs, this is very much the kind of more interesting fashion-led product Vauxhall simply has to make for long term profitability. If it strikes a chord with you, well why not?

Vauxhall ADAM - By Jonathan Crouch

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

Thinking of a MINI or a Fiat 500? Then you also need to be thinking about Vauxhall's trendy little ADAM. Jonathan Crouch drives the brand's little lifestyle citycar.

Ten Second Review

The ADAM is Vauxhall's refreshingly different take on the small car sector. It doesn't replace the brand's conventional citycar and supermini offerings but it does offer a more stylish option that sits somewhere in between for buyers bored by the sight of BMW's reinvented MINI on every drive and unmoved by Fiat's funky 500. Here's a fashionable alternative with an encyclopaedic list of options, bidding for individuality beyond the hatchback herd.

Background

The model title's is a nod to Adam Opel, the founder of Vauxhall's European sister company, but is unlikely to start a trend for Biblical car names. It may though, start a trend for buyer personalisation, the like of which the market has never before seen. With over a million possible specification and trim combinations, the chances of two identical Vauxhall ADAMs ever being produced are statistically quite slim. Ground-breaking where it matters then - in the showroom. To disguise perhaps the fact that this car is actually quite conventional in arguably less important areas, running on the underpinnings of Vauxhall's old third generation Corsa. The dealer network won't mind. It's the stylish look and feel that will sell this model. True enough, the Griffin brand has brought us some stylish designs in the past, but they've only appealed to a small percentage of the car buying population. Now at last, we've a Vauxhall with widespread chic appeal - a pretty new concept for British customers to grasp. Let's try it.

Driving Experience

So what's it like behind the wheel? Slide into the seat and there's a very different feel from that provided by a Corsa - or any other conventional supermini come to that. The commanding driving position, the big chunky MINI-like wheel, the wide, low glass area. It all makes you eager to tackle the urban jungle, with the promise of secondary road sportiness beyond. Not too much mind. Though there's a 150PS 1.4-litre petrol turbocharged powerplant in the top shopping rocket 'S' model at the top of the range, most ADAM variants must use humbler engines. Of these, the pick of the bunch is the 115PS 1.0i Direct Injection petrol turbo unit that's well worth paying a premium for. This was first introduced on the convertible 'Rocks Air' bodystyle and has since been extended out across the range. If you can't stretch to this unit, then you'll have to restrict your search to one of Vauxhall's older ptrol engines - curiously, there's no diesel option. These petrol choices include the 70PS 1.2i and a 1.4i unit with either 87 or 100PS options. To be honest, the entry-level 70PS 1.2-litre 16v engine does struggle a little with the task of pushing nearly 1.1-tonnes of ADAM up the road with any real zip, sixty two mph from rest occupying nearly 15s on the way to a top speed only just over 100mph. Better by far to find only a little more for one of the 1.4s. The 87PS unit manages 62mph in a far more acceptable 12.5s on the way to 109mph. And the 100PS engine improves things further to 11.5s and 115mph.

Design and Build

Though Vauxhall offers an unusual 'Rocks Air' convertibe version of this car, most buyers will be looking at the single three-door hatch bodystyle. At under 3.7m in length, this ADAM is actually shorter than many citycars and a full 300mm shorter than Vauxhall's Corsa supermini. But there's more to it than that. The tall height and the considerable width - it's actually wider than a Corsa - positions it visually as a bigger car than it actually is. A clever trick, which also pays dividends inside. As in a Fiat 500, the high roof gives a spacious feel, something that here is further underlined by the greater width and glass area. But all the smoke and mirrors in the world can't create space where there isn't much and Vauxhall's claim that this design can 'comfortably seat four adults' requires for fulfilment the directive that those in the front should be very short-legged indeed. And at the wheel? Well, as a buyer you'll have used the enormous trim choice range to complete a decor finish that's either restrained, wilfully extrovert or more likely, as in this case, a feel that's somewhere between the two. Most models offer a dash dominated by the optional 7-inch LCD colour Intellilink infotainment system, one of the first to be able to communicate with both Apple and Android devices and applications and operable either via the touchscreen itself or through steering wheel switchgear. Out back, a prod on the rear Griffin badge reveals a 170-litre boot that lies size-wise somewhere between slightly smaller shape of a MINI and the slightly larger one of a Fiat 500.

Market and Model

The ADAM value proposition is based on a pretty simple trade of size against style. The idea is that, just as with a MINI or a Fiat 500, you should get a citycar-sized runabout (think tiny Ford Ka or Volkswagen up!) for the cost of something supermini-shaped (think Corsa or Fiesta), with compensation provided by a super-sized helping of style and desirability. Prices start at around £12,000 for the base 1.2i 16v petrol version, but we'd find the extra few hundred for one of the two petrol 1.4s that are notably less feeble. Or even better, we'd stretch to the £2,000 premium required over the 1.2 to get our selves the pokier, yet more economic 1.0i petrol turbo engine. Is it equally important to go large when it comes to trim levels? When it comes to that, I'm not quite so sure. There are three main ones. From baseline 'JAM' (supposed to be what Vauxhall calls 'fashionable'), you can pay just under £1,500 more to go 'GLAM' (for a trim package that's apparently more 'elegant') or pay a further £500 on top of that for the top, supposedly 'sportier' trim level we tried - 'SLAM'. Given though that this car is all about bespoke tailoring, I can't help but think that a better approach would be to buy in at 'JAM' level, then individually select the options you actually want. If you want the unusual 'Rocks Air' convertible version, you'll need to think in erms of a budget starting from around £15,000.

Cost of Ownership

No small car has get by these days without an exemplary set of running cost returns - and this one's no different. You have to say that the decision to go without the option of diesel power from launch was a curious one given that all this model's obvious rivals all offer it. Mainstream buyers will be totting up the likely fuel and CO2 returns from the conventional 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engine line-up the car was introduced with, figures that would have looked a lot better if the ecoFLEX pack you're required to pay around £300 extra for was included as standard. As well as low rolling resistance tyres, this includes a start/stop system that cuts the engine when you don't need it, stuck in traffic or waiting at the lights. All enough to make a difference of around 5% to your figures, stats you can hopefully replicate on a day-to-day basis thanks to an 'Eco Drive Assistant' - basically a section of the trip computer that monitors energy consumption and indicates when to shift up. It's a package I'd certainly want to bargain my way into when buying this car. Doing so will see you return a combined cycle reading of around 56mpg and a CO2 return of around 119g/km, whichever of the mainstream 1.2 and 1.4-litre models you select. Better though, to go for the more modern 115PS 1.0-litre ECOTEC unit this car borrows from its Corsa supermini stablemate. Despite its extra power, this unit delivers 57.6mpg and 114g/km.

Summary

So the name's unusual. And so, for Vauxhall, is the approach. This most blue-collar of all mass-market makers is now offering us a potentially more bespoke product than lottery winners can buy from Aston Martin or Rolls Royce. At a price almost anyone can afford. It's all rather intriguing. The tiny lifestyle city statement this car represents is a well familiar one of course. But no rival MINI or Fiat 500 has yet offered scope for personalisation quite on this scale. Some of course will argue that these cars are trendier-looking to start with and so need less dressing up. But by the same token, many others are starting to find their retro-vibe tiresome and overly familiar. These people may well be quite happy to sign up to a newer, fresher look, even if to get it, they must trade the higher-tech and sportier handling that some other rivals will offer. And of course, as with most cars of this kind, they must be prepared to forgo the greater space they'd have enjoyed in an ordinary run-of-the-mill supermini that would have cost much the same. The growth of this particular little market niche suggest that there are many buyers out there making those sorts of choices and in meeting their needs, this is very much the kind of more interesting fashion-led product Vauxhall simply has to make for long term profitability. If it strikes a chord with you, well why not? It may well be time to say 'Hello' to ADAM.

Vauxhall ADAM - Vauxhall's little ADAM is a properly trendy little lifestyle-orientated small runabout. Yes, something you could even consider buying over a MINI. June Neary checks it out

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

Vauxhall's little ADAM is a properly trendy little lifestyle-orientated small runabout. Yes, something you could even consider buying over a MINI. June Neary checks it out

Will It Suit Me?

I'm always suspicious when a car maker claims to have produced a car 'especially aimed at someone like me'. After all, how exactly do they know what 'someone like me' might like? They don't of course, the brand in question assuming, in the case of the Vauxhall ADAM I've been looking at this week, that my preferences lie in the bespoke personalisation of my chosen wheels to my exact lifestyle. To be fair, that's not overly far off the mark. I am one of those people who likes their car to reflect them. I'm not overly bothered about 0-60 times and newton metres of torque. And I don't need enough space to accommodate the von Trapp family in the back. I would, on the other hand, very much like a compact runabout that at low cost, I could spec to look like nothing else on the road. So who knows, I may very well be target market for the Griffin brand's trendy little tiddler. On that basis, I was keen to try one.

Practicalities

As long as you accept the compromise here - that you pay supermini (ie. Fiesta and Corsa) money but get a smaller citycar (ie. Ka and Fiat 500) shape, you won't be disappointed. As in a Fiat 500, the high roof gives a spacious feel, something that here is further underlined by the greater width and glass area. But all the smoke and mirrors in the world can't create space where there isn't much and Vauxhall's claim that this design can 'comfortably seat four adults' requires for fulfilment the directive that those in the front should be very short-legged indeed. To be fair, it's virtually impossible for something this short to properly seat two fully-sized people in the back, something most ADAM owners will rarely want to do anyway. But for those occasions when friends do need transport, they'll feel less claustrophobic here than in just about any small lifestyle runabout I can think of. It's certainly much nicer in the back than it would be in a MINI, a car which offers a rear seat position that even kids object to. And at the wheel? Well, as a buyer, you'll have used the enormous trim choice range to complete a decor finish that's either restrained, wilfully extrovert or more likely, as in the case of the car I tried, a feel that's somewhere between the two. This aside, curiously enough, it does feel quite MINI-like, a feeling engendered mainly by provision of the same kind of over-sized chunky steering wheel which actually rather adds to the intended feeling of impending fun.

Behind the Wheel

It's based on a Corsa. Aside from that, I don't need to know very much more. Except for the fact that, as well as only being able to specify three doors, you can't have a diesel engine. Vauxhall says there's no need in this segment - but that doesn't seem to have put MINI and Fiat off from offering one. As for which of the five petrol engines you should choose, I'd probably avoid the old-tech 1.2 in favour of one of the 1.4s, an 87PS unit that manages 62mph in 12.5s on the way to 109mph. And a 100PS engine that improves things further to 11.5s and 115mph. Ask for something a little more hi-tech and the designers will point to the 115PS three cylinder turbo 1.0-litre petrol unit. Those in search of hot hatch performance can also opt for the 150PS 1.4-litre turbo powerplant fitted to the potent 'GRAND SLAM' model. As with most tiny cars of this kind, while you'll be quite comfortable in attempting a motorway trip of a few hours, you will notice at and around the legal limit that refinement isn't quite as good as you first thought. This issue isn't helped on the normally aspirated 1.2 and 1.4-litre models by the absence of a six-speed manual gearbox. All variants are much happier around town where a neat 'CITY' button can lighten the steering for easy wheel-twirling that'll get you into the tightest space. Exactly the kind of thing you'd want from a car like this.

Value For Money

What would you expect to have to pay for a car with more bespoke personalisation opportunities than a Rolls Royce? If I were to tell you that the starting figures - in rough terms, £11,500 to around £17,000 - are about what you'd pay for an ordinary (albeit slightly larger) Corsa supermini, then I think you'd be quite pleased. Of course, Vauxhall are banking on your being tempted to spend quite a lot more than that on the lengthy options list - something you very well might do. There's a choice of 'JAM', 'SLAM', 'GLAM' and 'GRAND SLAM' trim levels but if you take my advice, I'd just get a basic 'JAM' and bespoke add-in your own favoured extras. You start outside with the bodywork and the roof, which can be painted the same way or in contrasting colours, all bearing flamboyant names like 'James Blonde', 'Papa Don't Peach', 'Men in Brown', 'White my fire' or my personal favourite 'I'll be Black'. If you want, you can jazz up the chosen paint colour with special decal packs - 'Splat' for the JAM, 'Fly' for the GLAM and 'Stripes' for the SLAM. Many of these decals are also included in a bold selection of option packs designed to take your fashion statement to the next level - the main choice being between a simple two-tone 'Black' or 'White' approach or the bolder 'Twisted' or 'Extreme' packages. That only leaves wheels, with a wide choice between 16 to 18-inch alloy rims with interchangeable colour clips that you can click on or off as the fancy or the season takes you. And that whole idea of interchangeable fashion is carried on inside. As with the wheel clips, these fascia decor and door surround panels come in a huge range of bold colours (some are even backlit by glowing LEDs) and can be clipped on and off to suit your changing tastes - or those of subsequent owners. So you can go a bit extreme if you like, safe in the knowledge that it won't necessarily leave your car as being completely unsaleable at trade-in time.

Could I Live With One?

I rather think so. The ADAM's look isn't as instantly eye-catching as a MINI or a Fiat 500 but I have to say that it's growing on me. And it's certainly possible to create the car far more to your own personal taste. In other words, were I in the market for a little lifestyle runabout, this Vauxhall might really be my kind of car. And I never thought I'd find myself saying that.

Body Glass

  • Dark tinted rear windows (£175.00)

Trim - Cloth

  • Morrocana cloth - Ocio black (£0.00)

Exterior Body Features

  • Metallic paint (£0.00)
  • Premium paint (£0.00)
  • Solid paint (£0.00)
  • Brilliant paint (£0.00)

Paint - Special

  • Brilliant paint - Saturday white fever (£0.00)
  • Brilliant paint - White my fire (£0.00)
  • Premium paint - Let it blue (£0.00)
  • Brilliant paint - Red and Roll (£0.00)

Paint - Metallic

  • Metallic - Shades of grey (£0.00)
  • Metallic - Black Jack (£0.00)

Paint - Solid

  • Solid - Orange Alert (£0.00)

General

  • Coin Series: Energised
  • Coin Description: i
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 1
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 6
  • Safety Concerns?: False
  • Special Edition: True
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 2E
  • Service Interval Mileage: 20000
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: 100000
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: 72
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 87
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 72
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 65
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 81
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 4
  • Badge Power: 70
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.2
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1

Engine and Drive Train

  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 73.4
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 72.6
  • CC: 1229
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
  • Transmission: MANUAL
  • Gears: 5 SPEED
  • Engine Code: A12XEL

Performance

  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 14.9
  • Top Speed: 103
  • Engine Power - BHP: 70
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Power - KW: 51
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5600
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 85
  • Engine Torque - NM: 115
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 4000
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 11.7

Weight and Capacities

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1101
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1470
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 38
  • Max. Loading Weight: 369
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 170
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Max. Roof Load: 50
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 484
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 9.8

Tyres

  • Tyre Size Front: 215/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 215/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: HURRICANE
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

Vehicle Dimensions

  • Length: 3698
  • Width: 1720
  • Wheelbase: 2311
  • Width (including mirrors): 1966
  • Height: 1484
  • Height (including roof rails): N

Emissions - ICE

  • CO2 (g/km): 128
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N

Fuel Consumption - ICE

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: True
  • EC Urban (mpg): 38.7
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): 61.4
  • EC Combined (mpg): 50.4

Fuel Economy

  • 53.3 MPG (Combined)
  • 39.2 MPG (Urban)
  • 65.7 MPG (Extra Urban)
Fuel Tank Size: 38 Litres

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