Review: Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019)

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Huge amount of personalisation for interior and exterior. Good level of standard equipment. Much improved later engines.

Limited interior space. Original engines were dull and dated. Not special to drive.

Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019): At A Glance

Given the success of cars like the MINI, the FIAT 500 and the Citroen DS3, it’s easy to see why Vauxhall decided to introduce the Adam. It’s available with a huge range of customisation options including a contrasting roof, a selection of alloy wheel designs, various interior colours and even an illuminated head lining.

In fact, the range of options is possibly more comprehensive than that of any other car. There’s a colour combination to suit all tastes and styles, from aggressive and sporty to cute and cuddly. Unfortunately this brings problems – it’s very easy to get carried away with the options list and add a lot of extra cost when configuring your ideal car. Plus anything too garish could affect the resale value.

The initial range of engine choices is similar to the Corsa, with a 1.2-litre petrol producing 70PS and a 1.4-litre petrol producing either 87PS or 100PS. None of these is particularly impressive and refinement, performance and economy could be better. The most frugal model manages a respectable but unremarkable 56.5mpg, but it emits 117g/km, lagging behind the likes of the Fiat 500 and Citroen DS3. 

It wasn't until 2014 that the new 998cc 3-cyinder turbo engine was introduced with outputs of 90PS and 115PS, both with the benefit of 99g/km CO2 making if free annual VED. 

Practicality isn't great. There’s not much space in the back seat, with little leg or headroom. Only two back seats, and even children struggle to fit if there are tall occupants up front. Furthermore the boot is fairly tight at 170 litres and it has a high load lip, so it’s awkward to load heavy items. Thankfully, folding the rear seats frees up 600 litres of space, which is plenty for bulky objects.

Standard equipment is good and includes Bluetooth, USB connectivity and air conditioning. The Adam is also available with options like a heated steering wheel. Other optional technology includes an Advanced Park Assist system which measures parallel spaces and then automatically steers the car in while the driver controls the brakes and accelerator.

If you really need to customise your car and make it your own then it’s hard to beat the range of options Vauxhall offers for the Adam – but it is very much a case of style over substance. It’s not a particularly practical car, nor does it have an impressive range of engines. The Citroen DS3 is more practical, while the Fiat 500 has a broader range of engine choices and the Audi A1 carries more prestige.

Vauxhall Adam 2013 Road Test and Video

Vauxhall Adam Rocks Air 2014 Road Test

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What does a Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019) cost?

Contract hire from £151.88 per month

Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019): What's It Like Inside?

Length 3698 mm
Width 1720–1966 mm
Height 1483–1484 mm
Wheelbase 2311 mm

Full specifications

Vauxhall offers just as many styling and customisation options for the inside of the Adam as it does for the outside. You can choose everything from the colour of the dashboard to the material on the seats or the colour of the rooflining. For those who really want to stand out, there are even illuminated options, including a roof lined with LED stars.

The cabin is nicely finished. The plastics feel durable and there’s a soft-touch dashboard covering, plus really attractive looking instrument dials and minor controls. There are a few problems though, including a confusingly complicated touchscreen system that is thankfully an option, rather than standard equipment. There are also plenty of parts familiar from other Vauxhalls, which are perfectly good but detract from the Adam’s bespoke-feeling cabin.

While it might be stylish, the Adam isn’t very practical. The boot is small at 170 litres and there are only two rear seats. These are too small for adults because of limited headroom, while even children will struggle to fit if the driver and front seat passenger are tall. Fortunately the rear seats fold, which gives a more useful 600 litres of space, although a high load lip makes loading heavy items a pain.

Three trim levels are offered, all of which come with a good level of standard gear. All cars get DAB digital radio, air conditioning, alloy wheels, a leather-covered steering wheel, Bluetooth, USB-in and aux connectivity. There’s also a broad range of customisation available even on entry-level models. Moving to upper trim levels adds luxuries like a glass roof.

Standard Equipment:

Jam is the entry trim grade and comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, leather covered steering wheel, DMB digital radio, CD-player with aux and USB in, air conditioning, trip computer, cruise control and daytime running lights.

Glam adds body-coloured door handles, LED running lights, LED tail lights, front drinks holder, electronic cruise control, fixed glass roof, chrome effect details.

Slam is the top trim level and comes with sports suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth and vinyl seats, map pockets on front seat backs, dark tinted windows.

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019) like to drive?

Vauxhall offers a limited range of engines for the Adam. There’s an entry-level 1.2-litre petrol with 70PS, plus a 1.4-litre petrol available with either 87PS or 100PS. Sadly these engines are already showing their age – none is particularly frugal, with even the cleanest 1.2 emitting 117g/km. Many rival cars manage less than 100g/km. Economy is similar across the engine range at between 51.4mpg and 56.5mpg.

Performance is acceptable if not great – regardless of the engine it’s necessary to stay on top of gear changes to keep the engine on the boil, but there’s enough go for getting up to motorway speeds or overtaking, particularly if you opt for one of the 1.4-litre options. However the majority of rival manufacturers offer turbocharged engines with more accessible torque and better economy.

Refinement isn’t a strong point either, with a lot of grumbling engine noise even at fairly low speeds. Fortunately Vauxhall is planning to introduce more modern engines, including a 1.0-litre three-cylinder that should deliver sub-100g/km emissions and a 1.4 turbo with around 140PS. There is no diesel variant and there are no current plans to introduce one.

Driving the Adam is easy enough, but it isn't very enjoyable. The steering is light and feels entirely artificial, while the gear change is notchy and the suspension stiff. Lumps, bumps and potholes aren’t dealt with particularly comfortably or quietly, which would be more forgivable if the handling was exciting. Sadly that’s not the case – there is plenty of grip, but the numb steering and lack of feedback doesn’t do much to inspire a spirited driver.

Around town it’s not too bad though, providing roads aren’t too potholed or bumpy. Thanks to the car’s tiny size it’s incredibly easy to park even in tiny spaces and there’s also a city steering setting to make the steering – which is already very light – even lighter still for tight manoeuvres.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0T 115 57–60 mpg 9.9 s 112–119 g/km
1.2 70 50–58 mpg 14.9 s 115–128 g/km
1.4 100 49–57 mpg 11.5 s 118–133 g/km
1.4 87 49–57 mpg 12.5 s 118–133 g/km
1.4 87 Automatic 56–57 mpg 13.9 s 118 g/km
1.4T 150 44–48 mpg 8.5 s 139 g/km

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

32–52 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Following an accident in a CCTV-monitored car park, can I request the footage of the incident?

My granddaughter has the customary black-box installed by her insurance company in her Vauxhall Adam. As she was driving in the car park she parks at for work, another motorist (with a passenger) reversed out of a bay they had just driven into. The collision caused considerable damage to the nearside of my granddaughter's car, shaking her up but thankfully she suffered no injuries. The car park has security cameras. Do the public have any rights to see footage from such cameras in a public place or is it a question of going to the company that owns/monitors them? If they did allow my granddaughter to see the footage, is any kind of fee involved and would she be entitled to a copy, even if such a copy was her recording the incident from a screen onto her mobile phone? I imagine such companies only retain the footage for a limited period. The police are not involved and there are no independent witnesses.
I would certainly request the footage, but your granddaughter has no right to them. It's rare they say no, but if they do you could try doing a subject access data request. They still do not have to disclose this though because they could argue they do not have the consent of the other party. However, this may all be very unnecessary as the damage on your granddaughter's vehicle will clearly corroborate how the incident occurred, along with the details that will be recorded on the black box.
Answered by Tim Kelly
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Compact size, Easy to park, Petrol engine, Cheap Tax and City car.

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