2014 Vauxhall Adam Hatchback Review

All versions come well equipped, the cabin is smart and there are an unprecedented number of personalisation options. The back doesn’t have a lot of space and the Adam is not very cheap. The ride seems to be too firm and at high speeds, you can’t be assured of the handling.

There are three engine to choose from and all are petrol. There is 1.4 that comes with either 86- or 99bhp, and there is the 1.2-litre with 69bhp. The 1.4 feels flexible when driving and it revs low. When you force it to work, the 1.4 is quite springy.

The versions with larger wheels and the sports suspensions are the only ones we have tried. It has a firm setup which assists in keeping it from tipping when cornering, but the back end feels quite unsettled if you go into a corner too quickly. The ride is not even; potholes are a challenge and it seems to hesitate on scruffy surfaces. At high speeds the steering is not responsive enough, but is quite adequate at the lower speeds.

Since there is no sixth ratio and the gearing is low, the 1.4-litre engine is quite noisy when it reaches the motorway limit. It is fairly quiet though when being driven through the city. There is also a fair amount of suspension noise but wind and road noise never seem to become a problem.

Costing about the same as its biggest competitor, the Fiat 500, the Adam is less expensive than either the basic model Citroen DS3 or Mini. As a long-term investment, the Adam does not tend to have high resale values. Fuel consumption is average but you can purchase the optional stop-start system to reduce CO2 emissions 10g/km on the 1.4s.

The cabin has an excellent look to it and feels wonderful, thanks to the use of quality materials on the slick switches and the dashboard. Lower level panels are not quite as lustrous, but they still combine well in looks. Reliability is the biggest issue since Vauxhall has a spotty record as a brand.

Standard on all models are six airbags and stability control. The Adam is based on the Corsa, which received five star from Euro NCAP in 2006, so it would be logical to assume that the Adam is just as capable of receiving a high result.

There is lots of adjustments that can be made for the driver’s seat and the position for driving is sound. The dashboard has a logical layout and the Adam has a touch-screen that is user-friendly for the infotainment system available as an option for a reasonable price. Visibility over the shoulder can become an issue though as the rear pillars are very heavyset.

For a small vehicle, the Adam has an even smaller space. While sitting in the front is okay, adults may have a difficult time even fitting in the cramped rear seats. The boot is also smaller than most rival city cars.

All models come with a DAB radio, Bluetooth and air-con. but what makes the Adam stand out is the extent that it can be accessorised. There are 20 wheel sizes and colour options, three trim levels, three roof colours, 12 exterior colours, three interior roof linings (one even comes with 60 LED lights to mimic the effect of the night sky), three decal packs and an amazing assortment of additional options for the interior.

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