RAC Cars News


Vauxhall Adam To Rival Fiat 500

By raccars Published

Vauxhall is, not for the first time, attempting to cash in on the cute citycar trend. In 1957, Vauxhall released the similarly uninspiringly named and shortlived Victor to compete with the all-conquering Fiat 500, to very little effect. Now, once again, the brand is gunning for the super cute, Mediterranean chic Fiat 500 with the Adam.

Without a similarly impressive weight of history to draw upon, Vauxhall is lagging behind in marketing terms right from the start, but they are calling upon popular culture to add a bit of modern resonance, with paint names such as 'Purple Fiction' and trim levels badged Jam, Glam and Slam. The Adam is clearly aimed at the young, trendy and probably, female crowd.

While the Adam is definitely funky and attractive it's hard to imagine it gaining the iconic status of the Mini or Fiat 500 it is based upon. It's more likely to trouble (marginally) the market share of the likes of the Citroen DS3. Borrowing heavily from its stablemate the Corsa, the Adam rides upon that car's chassis. The initial choice of engines is from a 1.2 litre petrol unit returning 69bhp or a 1.4 litre unit with 86 or 99bhp options, all of which are happier in urban situations and don't have much to offer a regular motorway driver. All come with a five-speed manual gearbox and new options are expected to arrive presently. Sportier versions of the Adam are certainly perkier to drive but will be as popular for the styling upgrades as the performance, such as bigger wheels.

Inside Vauxhall has once again taken its cue from its more illustrious rivals, with a slightly retro style design to the fascia and it seems the Adam is definitely about the style as much as the substance, with a 12 colour paint array and 20 different alloy wheel designs to choose from. In fact, there are huge numbers of personalisation options if you're happy to spend a bit extra. Given the target market it may not be a problem that rear legroom is practically non-existent, as is the boot, but the elevated roofline and wide cockpit will keep front seat occupants in comfort.

Where the Vauxhall Adam may win, is its tight pricing and its class-leading fuel economy figures. While the Adam does everything expected of it in an efficient manner and offers the funky looks and customisation options of its competition vehicles, at a very good price, it does lack a significant wow factor. The Mini or Fiat 500 are at the level of cultural icons whereas the Adam is little more than a competent interloper.

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