Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019) Review

Vauxhall Adam (2013 – 2019) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Vauxhall Adam is a decent car when judged in isolation, so if you have your heart set on one, there’s no reason you shouldn’t, provided you’re prepared for its lack of space, its shortage of power and its unsettled ride.

+Strong on interior quality, range of smooth quiet petrol engines, lots of customisation so each car will be different.

-Slow and the ride is uncomfortable, woefully short on interior and boot space, not that much kit for a fairly high price.

Insurance Groups are between 3–16
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

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.

Ask Honest John

Should both my headlights have LEDs?

"My wife's 2014 Vauxhall Adam has daytime running lights in the headlight unit, but one side has LEDs and the other side a normal bulb. On its last MoT the mechanic said they need to be the same so I would have to replace the headlight to match them up. It has had previous MoTs but this has never been put down as a failure. When we purchased the car it had a new MoT with no advisory to change the headlights so they match. Could you advise if I need to match up the headlights so both have the same lights?"
Given you have one headlight with LEDs and one without, it would seem highly likely that at some point one of them was damaged but was replaced with the incorrect part. This is also something that should have been picked up on previous MoTs. When the next MoT is due you could put the car through anyway and see if it passes, but the most sensible option would be to replace the non-LED headlight with the correct unit. A new part is likely to be expensive, so consider trying a breaker's yard or online auction site for a cheaper option. Autodoc is another good place to look.
Answered by David Ross

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

Repairs versus write off

"My car was worth 8800-9000 pounds pre accident. The garage has costed repairs at 4560 and I also need a car to drive while awaiting the repair. My concern is this. I have insurance and Gap insurance which means I should have the full cost of the pre accident value of the car, but the engineer has decided it is damaged repairable. I'm concerned with the valu then of the car should I decide to sell it on. Do I have any right to ask the engineer for a second opinion? I really feel that it may have been better to write it off? "
You can question the likely cost of the hire car for the duration of the repair, making a case that the cost of the repair and of the hire car is likely to exceed the write off value of the car.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

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