Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019) Review
Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019) At A Glance
If you’re more open on your choice of stylish city car, the Adam may be on your list, but there are lots of better options. The MINI Hatch, Audi A1 and Volkswagen Up are much more fun to drive, more practical and better on quality, while the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto are cheaper and come with longer warranties.
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. 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.