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Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Pseudo SUV looks for Vauxhall’s niche city car


  • Striking looks
  • Personalisation packs
  • Fabric roof option


  • Noisy when roof open
  • Lacks driving fun
  • Small boot


If you fancy a distinctive city car, with a raft of personalisation options and the chunkiness of an SUV, then the Vauxhall Adam Rocks could be the car you’re looking for.

Quite obviously based on the regular Vauxhall Adam hatchback, the Rocks’s ride height has been increased by about 15mm – apart from on the S version – while the bodywork’s been beefed up with contrasting plastic protective classing around the wheelarches and bumpers.

Unsurprisingly, there’s no four-wheel drive option and the furthest an Adam Rocks is likely to venture off-road is onto a gravel driveway. As well as continuing to rival chic – and more expensive – three-doors such as the DS 3, Fiat 500 and MINI Hatch, the Vauxhall’s available as the Adam Rocks Air - complete with a fabric sunroof - and arguably rivals the DS 3 Cabrio, Fiat 500C and MINI Convertible, too. But that is a stretch, admittedly.

Simplified Adam Rocks line-up

Unlike the bizarre trim levels applied to the Adam hatchback range, the Rocks versions are a much simpler affair.

Entry-level spec is Rocks, which offers a similar level of kit to the more conventional Adam Slam.

Choose the Rocks Air and the difference is simply that folding fabric sunroof. Unlike the DS 3 Cabrio and Fiat 500C, the fabric panel is limited to the top of the roof, with a conventional tailgate behind it: its rivals also have a folding rear screen with a less practical bootlid below.

Topping the range is the sportier Rocks S, that has a ride height more like regular Adams. It rather begs the question ‘why?’ but perhaps Vauxhall should be applauded for offering such a diverse range of personalisation.

Small petrol engines

Largely mirroring the engine range from the regular hatchback, the Adam Rocks’ line-up of powerplants is petrol only, but none of them options is especially efficient.

There are two non-turbo engines – the 1.2i and 1.4i – but it’s the forced-induction motors that best combine performance and low running costs.

The pick is the 1.0-litre turbo, a three-cylinder unit producing 115hp, yet it’s the least-polluting in the range at 112g/km of CO2.

Unique to the racier Adam Rocks S is the 1.4i Turbo mustering 150hp. It’s got a decent turn of pace with a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds but its handling doesn’t sparkle in the same way as say a Ford Fiesta ST.

Tailored designs

Just like the Adam there is plenty of opportunity for buyers to personalise their Rocks. As standard the Vauxhall features LED daytime running lights, an integrated rear spoiler, silver skid plates and a chrome exhaust finisher. To help buyers customise their car, Vauxhall is offering new paint colours exclusive to the Adam Rocks including a vibrant yellow Goldbusters hue, while the roof is available in a choice of three colours including traditional black alongside two shades of brown.
There are two interior trim colour schemes exclusive to the Rocks with the main instrument cluster, seat, door and other trim elements in either black or caramel.

Vauxhall Adam Rocks model history

  • September 2014 – SUV-inspired body addenda and raised ride-height for the Adam Rocks, with the Air version – complete with electrically operated fabric sunroof – launched first. Engines are all petrol: 1.2-litre 16v VVT (70hp), a 1.4-litre version of the same unit (87hp) and a three-cylinder 1.0-litre Direct Injection Turbo with 115hp.
  • December 2014 – Standard Adam Rocks with a solid roof introduced with an identical powertrain range. Titles of the four-cylinder engines simplified to 1.2i and 1.4i.
  • July 2015 – Simplified engine name for 1.0-litre Turbo.
  • October 2015 – 1.4-litre 87hp engine discontinued on Rocks; remains available on Rocks Air.
  • December 2015 – Upgraded Intellilink R4.0 infotainment system and the OnStar virtual concierge service fitted as standard.
  • February 2016 – Sporty S model introduced with the same 150hp 1.4-litre turbo engine as the regular Adam S, with similar visual enhancements. Specification includes the Air’s fabric roof. Range expanded further with the introduction of Unlimited specification whereby any interior trim, exterior colour, wheel design and extra-cost options combination can be ordered. All of the Rocks engines are available except the 1.4i 100hp and 1.4i Turbo.
  • October 2016 – Limited edition #Adamyourself 1.2i 70hp version of the Rocks available. White my Fire bodywork, Red ‘n’ Roll roof and grille bar, finished off with black and white 17-inch alloy wheels.

Read the full Vauxhall Adam Rocks review to find out whether there’s a fine city car hiding under all the niche market paraphernalia.

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