Here’s a fashionable alternative with an encyclopaedic list of options, bidding for individuality beyond the hatchback herd.
So what’s it like behind the wheel? Slide into the seat and there’s a very different feel from that provided by a Corsa - or any other conventional supermini come to that. The commanding driving position, the big chunky MINI-like wheel, the wide, low glass area. It all makes you eager to tackle the urban jungle, with the promise of secondary road sportiness beyond.
Vauxhall needed to create a fresh, new modern small motoring lifestyle theme. It’s hard not to like the cute and cuddly shape. The tall height and the considerable width – it’s actually wider than a Corsa – positions it visually as a bigger car than it actually is. A clever trick, which also pays dividends inside. The high roof gives a spacious feel, something that is further underlined by the greater width and glass area.
And at the wheel? Well, as a user you’ll have used the enormous trim choice range to complete a décor finish that’s either restrained, wilfully extrovert or more likely, as in this case, a feel that’s somewhere between the two. This aside, curiously enough, it does feel quite MINI-like, a feeling engendered mainly by provision of the same kind of over-sized chunky steering wheel which actually rather adds to the intended feeling of impending fun. There’s a central dial in front of you but the red-needled instrument layout with its round watch-style dials is smarter and much easier to get to grips with than that, though it’s a pity that the speedo lacks specific 30 and 70mph markings.
The clean overall design is complemented by a centre console proving that GM designers really can do this kind of thing in a smart, concise and easy-to-use form. Instead of the rows of complicated little dials and knobs you get on a Corsa, an Astra or an Insignia, there’s a simple, clear and easy-to-grasp layout that most users will want to dominate with the optional 7-inch LCD colour Intellilink infotainment system, able to communicate with both Apple and Android devices and applications and operable either via the touchscreen itself or through steering wheel switchgear.
As you’d expect, it deals with stereo and smart ‘phone duties, plus the screens for the extra-cost navigation system, but it can go a lot further than that. Thanks to USB and Bluetooth connectivity, the ‘Gallery’ section can play your stored videos and show your personal pictures, while the ‘Phone Apps’ section can link you in with approved apps like ‘Stitcher’, the global podcast internet radio system, and ‘BringGo’, a navigation app likely in future to make many extra cost sat nav systems redundant.
Out back, a prod on the rear Griffin badge reveals a 170-litre boot that lies size-wise somewhere between slightly smaller shape of a MINI and the slightly larger one of a Fiat 500. As in those cases, there’s not a huge amount more to play with if you push forward the rear bench: in fact, the 484-litres this ADAM then offers is one of the smallest spaces in the class and less than half what you’d get with the same configuration revealed in a Vauxhall Corsa. Still, you don’t buy a car of this kind if you want huge carrying capacity. Of more importance are clever touches – things like the optional Flex-Fix bike carrier that allows you to carry up to a couple of bicycles. Not something you’d expect to be able to do with a car this small.
So the name’s unusual. And so, for Vauxhall, is the approach. At a price almost anyone can afford. It’s all rather intriguing.
The tiny lifestyle city statement this car represents is a well familiar one of course. But no rival has yet offered scope for personalisation quite on this scale. Some of course will argue that these cars are trendier-looking to start with and so need less dressing up.
People may well be quite happy to sign up to a newer, fresher look, even if to get it, they must trade the higher-tech and sportier handling that some other rivals will offer. And of course, as with most cars of this kind, they must be prepared to forgo the greater space they’d have enjoyed in an ordinary run-of-the-mill supermini that would have cost much the same.
The growth of this particular little market niche suggest that there are many users out there making those sorts of choices and in meeting their needs, this is very much the kind of more interesting fashion-led product Vauxhall simply has to make for long term profitability. If it strikes a chord with you, well why not? It may well be time to say ‘Hello’ to ADAM.