VAUXHALL‘S first entry into the fashion-led city car sector could be about to spark a mini (no pun intended) revolution in the way we go about buying our cars.
‘ADAM’ made its UK bow yesterday (February 12) in a shopping unit at Westfield Stratford City, in the east end of London. And Vauxhall executives hinted that they could be taking the new car to motorists all over the country in a series of ‘pop-up’ shops, where you, I or more probably your fashion-conscious sister can just nip in to browse without the pressures of a car showroom. And obviously where there is no nearby Vauxhall dealer.
“Westfield was chosen for the UK launch because its the biggest urban shopping centre in Europe, and ADAM is the new fashion item in the motoring world,” explained Vauxhall director Denis Chick.
And a fashion item it certainly is, with the accent on personalisation. There’s a brain-busting four billion combinations of specification possible, so the chances of buying into something truly unique get better odds than Victor will offer you.
Direct competitors are the Fiat 500 and MINI, which both play the retro card, while Audi’s A1 goes for the modern prestige approach. It’s the latter image that ADAM is hitching its hat to, the modern interpretation of a city car, and on first impressions the verdict is positive.
Possibly its most distinctive feature is the roof – or more accurately the fact that the roof doesn’t look connected to the body. There’s a subtle gap between the two, highlighted on versions with a contrasting roof like the picture above, so there is no obvious link between the A and C pillars. Clever.
Then there are wacky names for the paint finishes like James Blonde, I’ll Be Black, Purple Friction – you get the idea here that ADAM sets its stall out to be a fun, funky machine. Even the ignition key is colour coded to the bodywork.
It can even be specced with a unique in-segment ‘starlight’ illuminated headliner (£325) that uses 64 LED lights to create the impression of a starry sky.
There are three trim levels – JAM (fashionable/colourful), GLAM (elegant/sophisticated) and SLAM (racy/sporty) – and while there is no diesel option, you can choose from 1.2 70ps, 1.4 87ps and 1.4 100ps petrol units, all with a five speed gearbox.
Prices kick off at £11,255 for a 1.2 JAM, up to £14,000 for a 1.4 100ps SLAM model. Vauxhall expect 93 per cent of sales to be retail customers, a lot of them attracted to the marque for the first time by ADAM’s quirky appeal,and 60 per cent of customers are predicted to be female.
Not to say blokes won’t drive one. After all, we did on the launch, but you might feel a bit let down by the 1.2 engine, which feels fine off the mark but can run out of puff without judicious use of the gearstick. There’s a district nimble feel to the overall package though, and employing the city button for the steering makes it so light you could probably turn a corner just by coughing on it….
Forward thinking technology introduced on ADAM includes a new £275 IntelliLink infotainment system that connects smartphones to the car – the first system compatible with both Android and Apple iOS, and one which is also apparently to be used by McLaren.
Its also the first Vauxhall to include new generation Advanced Park-Assist, a system which identifies appropriate parking spaces and steers the car into place.
Every ADAM has the potential to be uniqueand the ability to be personalised in more ways than any other car in mainstream production.
Be prepared to spend a lot of time in that shop though – the possibilities are virtually endless.
FASTFACTS: Vauxhall ADAM JAM 1.2i 16v VVT; £11,255; 1229c, 70ps, 115Nm; Top speed 103mph, 0-62mph 14.9 secs; fuel tank 38 litres; economy – urban 39.8, extra urban 67.3, combined 53.3; CO2 124g/km; kerbweight 1120kg; standard features include air con, bluetooth, ESP plus, ABS, six airbags, daytime running lights, digital radio.
© wheelwrite 2013