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Review: Vauxhall Adam - funky city car is leading trend-setter

By Paul Connolly

Cars shouldn't, of course, take themselves too seriously - but the Vauxhall Adam really does take the biscuit.

There's a bewildering number of models, a maddening amount of personalisation options (over 30,000, apparently), and some way-out terminology to boot.

Let's look at the names of paint colours, for example. These go by wacky titles like James Blonde, Brownian Rhapsody and Mr Darkside (see what they did there - the Killers and all that).

However, under all that rather forced funkiness, there's a very decent city car trying to get out.

You won't be surprised to guess it's squarely marketed at younger drivers who want something different from their vehicle.

Vauxhall already has the no-frills Viva city car, and the unglamorous but excellent Corsa. The Adam sits between, but somehow outside, of these models. Think of it as Vauxhall's answer to the Citroen DS3.

There's rather less rear cabin space than you might want, and the boot isn't great. But beyond those limitations, it's an enticing and engaging car with bags of personality and lots of technology.

Let's start with the models, for these are many and maybe even a little confusing.

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Vauxhall Adam

Advance warning: stand by for a deluge of pop terms as the manufacturer tries to demonstrate its achingly cool street cred.

The entry-level car is the Jam (no, not the stuff you put on bread), followed by the Glam, then the Slam and then the (this is where they ran out of rhyming words) Energised and the Unlimited.

Then there is the Adam Rocks, a kind of mini-crossover, and the sporty S, which used to be called the Grand Slam. Only now it isn't.

Phew! And don't get me started on those 30,000 personalisation options.

The cars themselves are well specced, although they come in three-door models only.

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Vauxhall Adam

The Jam comes with the likes of 16-inch alloys, air-con, cruise control, CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and daytime running lights.

The Glam gets better alloys, climate control, as opposed to air-con, a glass "sun roof", DAB radio and chrome-effect high lights.

For the Slam, they've added 17-inch Hurricane alloys, sports suspension and LED lights, while the Energised gets pretty much all of the above with 17-inch black alloys, matching black roof and the Intellilink infotainment system.

The Rocks and Rocks Air get higher ride height and more tweaks to make them more crossover in appearance and handling.

The S is truly sporty, riding on a VXR-tuned chassis and tightened suspension.

A refreshing break from all this choice is the Adam Unlimited. Introduced last year, it almost seems designed to make sense from the madness by simplifying the choice for you.

Incorporating options from the existing Jam, Glam and Slam models, it offers good levels of standard equipment, including 16-inch Titan triple cross alloy wheels, daytime running lights, cruise control, climate control and Bluetooth connectivity.

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Vauxhall Adam

There's also a leather-covered steering wheel with audio controls and connectivity options including USB and aux-in sockets.

You can also spec - for £150 - a nice wireless charging station that lets you charge the phone and listen to music at the same time and reduces clutter and potentially dangerous trailing cables.

Under the bonnet, things are rather less funky.

The Adam draws on the tried and tested series of existing Vauxhall engines commonly seen in the Corsa. If reliability is your shtick, this is by no means a bad thing. All models officially claim more than 50mpg.

For those who want some proper power and decent handling, go for the S and its 148bhp 1.4-litre turbo engine.

With all this choice, you'll not be surprised that there is a wide price range to accompany it.

The Jam starts north of £11k, an Unlimited will set you back just less than £12.5k and a Rocks Unlimited is £15,875 on the road.

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