2.9 out of 5 2.9
Parkers overall rating: 2.9 out of 5 2.9

Too compromised to be a genuine MINI alternative

Vauxhall Adam (12-19) - rated 2.9 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £12,055 - £19,075
Used price £2,930 - £13,060
Used monthly cost From £73 per month
Fuel Economy 40.4 - 44.8 mpg
Road tax cost £20 - £155
Insurance group 2 - 15 How much is it to insure?


  • Youthful appeal
  • Tons of personalisation options
  • Broad range of petrol engines


  • Not particularly frugal or cheap to tax
  • Rivals are more fun to drive
  • Just about to go off-sale

Vauxhall Adam rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

Appealing directly to younger drivers – and the young at heart – is the Vauxhall Adam, a compact three-door hatchback sitting below the Corsa in the firm’s range size-wise, but above it in price. Vauxhall claims that what makes this car stand out as unique is the high level of personalisation a customer can specify thanks to more than a million design combinations – and that's proved such a successful policy, it's been copied by a number of other carmakers.

The compact four-seater goes head-to-head with the Fiat 500 and MINI Hatch primarily, and features a ‘floating’ roof that makes the car look lower and more distinctive. Ramp up the Adam’s extras and its price pitches it into Audi A1 territory. Not only does it have myriad options and a fancy two-tone paintjob, it was one of the first cars in the small hatchback category to have the option of LED daytime running lights.

Trims and interior design options

Everything about the Adam is designed to appeal to the fashion conscious, and it becomes obvious when you consider the three core trim level names: Jam, Slam and Glam. The line-up’s topped by the comparatively dull-sounding Adam S, although for the first few months it was on sale Vauxhall called it the Grand Slam.

The entry-level Jam is, purportedly, fashionable, mid-spec Glam is supposed to be elegant, while the Slam emphasises a (visually) racier side of the Adam. There is also an SUV-esque model called the Adam Rocks, which is covered under a separate review and has the option of a folding fabric roof.

The Adam Unlimited joined the range in 2016 allowing for even greater degrees of individuality where taste needn’t be a constraint – virtually any colour and trim combination is possible. There are plenty of visual combinations, with a wide variety of exterior colours (with such names as ‘James Blonde’) including two different roof colours, four interior colours, 15 different seat colour schemes and a whole host of different materials, designs and trim options. Customers can even choose their headlining, including an LED-lit starlight roof trim.

Vauxhall Adam interior

Pre-2019 engine choices

Over its lifecycle, it was a mix of three- and four-cylinder petrol engines under the Adam’s snub bonnet: the least powerful trio are non-turbocharged and comprise of a 1.2-litre with 70hp and two 1.4-litre motors with either 87hp or 100hp.

The sole three-pot unit is a 1.0-litre turbo producing 115hp, while the Adam S has a lustier 150hp from its turbocharged 1.4-litre engine. That’s enough for a 130mph top speed and an 8.5-second 0-62mph time. Most efficient is the 87hp 1.4-litre with an Ecoflex fuel-saving package, but even then its claim of 56.5mpg and emissions of 118g/km are far from class-leading. If you fancy a miserly diesel then you’re out of luck – there aren’t any offered.

2019 sees engine range reduced to one

There have been many more versions over the years, but all other engines have been streamlined down to the solitary 1.2 available in 2019 – this is in lieu of the Adam going out of production at the end of the year. The sporty Grand Slam mid-ranking hot hatch with 150hp was launched in 2015, but has been quietly retired - as has the Adam Rocks, which brought a hint of SUV crossover aesthetic to the range.

Safety systems and technology

Buyers can optionally specify an automated parallel parking system as well as blindspot alert, but standard safety features include two sets of Isofix child seat attachments, stability control and hill-start assist. There’s also a button to increase the electronic power steering system’s assistance at lower speeds, which is especially useful for city driving and parking.

Inside is an infotainment system that incorporates Bluetooth as well as connectivity for smartphones with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay software. This enables access to internet-based applications, including GPS navigation as well as music playlists, pictures and your phonebook, all controlled via the seven-inch, full-colour touchscreen.

OnStar, Vauxhall’s virtual concierge service is also available on the Adam, featuring as part of the standard kit roster on Slam and S versions. Not only can you have sat-nav directions downloaded automatically to the Intellilink multimedia system, it can pin-point exactly where you are should you get into difficulties.

Read on for the rest of the Vauxhall Adam review

Vauxhall Adam rivals

Other Vauxhall Adam (2012 - 2019) models: