Vauxhall Adam review 2021

Find out more about the Vauxhall Adam in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Cool styling
  • Smart interior
  • Loads of standard kit


  • Not especially practical
  • Firm ride
  • Tiny boot
Model Review

With models such as the Corsa and Astra, Vauxhall is a brand firmly in the mainstream – offering well-rounded cars that suit a variety of different buyers. 

But it’s never been a brand that’s pulled at the heartstrings or offered much in the way of glamour – something the brand aimed to change with the Adam – a fun-looking city car that debuted in 2013.

Aiming to rival hugely popular premium superminis such as the Citroen DS3 and Mini Hatch, the Adam was a model that did things differently to the usual Vauxhall range. It offers astounding levels of personalisation (Vauxhall said more than one million combinations were available), along with new interior technology and new safety tech – self-parking and blind spot monitoring were even found on the options list. 

The range would soon be expanded to feature a whole range of niche models – including the ‘Rocks’ that brought rugged styling to the range, a ‘Rocks Air’ that was the even more niche convertible version of that and a sporty ‘S’ model that served as the warm hatch version. 

Latest model

Despite a six-year production run, Vauxhall didn’t make any major changes to the Adam, aside from the introduction of the aforementioned body styles. 

Other changes, though, included the implementation of a new IntelliLink media system, along with a new ‘Unlimited’ model, which expanded the customisation programme further, along with introducing wireless smartphone charging to the range in 2016. 

The final thing for the Adam was a special-edition ‘Griffin’ model, which is named after the Vauxhall logo. It offered a particularly high-spec, with highlights including a touchscreen with satellite navigation and black 17-inch alloy wheels. 

Despite the Adam proving quite popular for a time, Vauxhall discontinued it in 2019 as part of a further range-wide model culling – the Cascada convertible and various Insignia derivatives also falling by the wayside. 

Value for money

When the Adam was new, it certainly wasn’t the most affordable car around, with prices being pitched at the more premium end of the spectrum, with Vauxhall looking to rival cars like the Mini Hatch

But today, it’s quite a good used buy, with examples available for as little as £3,500, though this will be quite a high-mileage model. The cheapest lower-spec examples will start from around around £4,000, though another £500 will get you a range-topping ‘Glam’ model. 

Looks and image

Undoubtedly the key reason why you’d opt for the Adam over a similarly-priced Corsa of the same vintage is for the way this cool city car looks. With large alloy wheels, the option of a bi-tone roof and a sleek and swoopy design, it’s certainly one of the most appealing Vauxhalls in recent years. There are also all kinds of colour options and personalisation options on offer – just be aware that the more lurid ones may hit residual values down the line. 

It’s a similar story on the interior of the Adam, too, with the Vauxhall’s cabin being another asset to it. With the colour options extending here as well, it ensures it stands out from the crowd. The quality and finish is also rather good – particularly for a car of this size – while there’s a decent amount of tech on offer. Just be aware to choose a higher-spec model, such as Glam, if you want a touchscreen. 

The driving experience can’t quite live up to the Adam’s sporty design, though, and it’s really a better city car, thanks to its light steering and compact size. Visibility is also surprisingly good, thanks to a large rear window. But with the Adam being fitted with large alloy wheels, the ride is rather firm and not the most comfortable. Ultimately, a Mini remains a much better option behind the wheel. 

Space and practicality

As with many premium superminis, glamour is ranked above spaciousness with the Adam. With all versions being three doors, access into the back isn’t the easiest, while the room once you’re back there is cramped, too, as a sloping roofline eats into headroom. 

The boot is also tiny, measuring just 170 litres, which provides space for a few shopping bags but very little else – even a Fiat 500 is slightly roomier in this respect. 


While the styling has tonnes of customisation options, when it comes to engines it’s only petrol that you’ll find under the bonnet. 

Kicking off the range is a 69bhp 1.2-litre unit, which features a five-speed manual gearbox. While a good city runabout, a 0-60mph time of 14.7 seconds makes it feel lethargic and not ideal for faster roads. 

Next up is a 1.4-litre petrol engine, which is available with outputs of either 86bhp or 99bhp – we’d recommend going with the latter for its additional performance. The 86bhp model is, however, the only engine you can have with an automatic gearbox, though these versions are rare and hard to find on the used market. 

At the top of the line-up is the sporty ‘S’ model, which features a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine developing 148bhp – quite a lot in a car as small as this. It’s able to reach 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds and hits a top speed of 130mph. 

Arguably our pick of the Adam range, though, is a turbocharged 113bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine, which was introduced later in the model’s run. Reaching 0-60mph in just under 10 seconds, and being quite efficient, it’s a great option here. 

Running costs

If you’re looking for low running costs, the 1.0-litre petrol unit is the one to go for – returning a claimed 60.1mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 108g/km. The 1.2-litre option should be relatively affordable to run, too, though is lacking in performance and requires effort to get up to speed, which sacrifices efficiency. 

Things to look out for

With the Adam having a more upmarket fit and finish than other Vauxhalls, the quality in this area should impress – everything having a decidedly upmarket feel to it. 

Given the Adam also uses engines that are used across the best-selling Corsa, this means that any repairs should be relatively affordable as well. 


If you’re looking at an Adam, its closest competitors are the brilliant Mini Hatch and also the Citroen DS 3 (later just called DS 3), which was sold between 2009 and 2019. If you fancy something more upmarket, an Audi is a great option (if noticeably more expensive), while the funky look of the Fiat 500 makes it a rival to this Vauxhall as well. 


Thanks to the Adam’s glamour and more upmarket image, it has held its value better than other Vauxhalls – though given it first arrived in 2013, models are increasingly becoming more affordable, and make for very appealing first cars. 

Trims explained

Vauxhall chopped and changed the Adam throughout its lifetime, but seven main trim levels are available on the model, with equipment highlights and used pricing as follows.


Standard equipment on the Adam is generous, and includes Bluetooth, air conditioning, climate control and 16-inch alloy wheels. You also get a trip computer, leather steering wheel, remote locking and electric and heated door mirrors.

From £3,200


The Glam aims to be the most luxurious in the range, and brings chrome styling, a panoramic glass roof and electric climate control, along with revised 16-inch alloy wheels.

From £3,700


Slam models feature a seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone app integration, along with 17-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights. Further customisation options are included – such as a two-tone roof – along with tinted rear windows and sports suspension.

From £4,500 (used)


Energised models are similar to Slam, but miss out on climate control, yet feature a cool colour-coded dashboard.

From £5,000 (used)


Griffin models came late in the Adam’s production run, and featured an enhanced seven-inch media system with DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, along with satellite navigation and gloss black styling.

From £8,750 (used)


Sporty S models build on the Slam with a more powerful engine, along with 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, uprated brakes, red brake callipers and a sporty styling kit.

From £7,000 (used)

Rocks Air

Arguably the funkiest of all the Adam versions, the Rocks Air brings chunky styling to the model with its raised ride height, grey front and rear bumpers and plastic cladding. Based loosely on the Slam trim level, you also get new 17-inch alloy wheels and additional chrome styling.

From £5,500 (used)


  1. Cool design
  2. Huge personalisation options
  3. On sale between 2013 and 2019
  4. Appealing used buy
  5. High-quality interior
  6. Not very spacious…
  7. And the boot is tiny
  8. Range of petrol engines
  9. Should be affordable to run
  10. A cool and appealing city car choice