The Vauxhall Adam S - challenging MINI
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Review: Vauxhall Adam 1.4 16v VVT Turbo S:

What is it?

THE sportiest version of Vauxhall’s customisable MINI rival – the Adam S.

But is it really talented enough to be worth the £17,000 price tag?

What’s hot?

  • Compared to the rather tame standard of the Adam, the S adds more malice with those deeper front and rear airdams, that rear spoiler and the arch-filling 18-inch alloys.
  • Inside, our Adam S was fitted with the optional and excellent Recaro sports seats. It’s a good thing they’re comfortable, as it would be hard to justify them given the costly £1,040 price. The rest of the Adam S’s interior feels less special, although the dash with its painted panels still looks quite stylish.
  • Not hardcore enough to justify the sportiest VXR badge, but nonetheless with 148bhp from the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, it’s the quickest to be fitted in Vauxhall’s stylish baby. Meeting Euro 6 regulations, the Adam is capable of 47.9mpg with emissions of just 139g/km and falls into the 22% tax band.
  • VXR have tuned the handling and you can tell! Stiffer suspension keeps body roll in check, plus re-tuned steering gives you a reasonable amount of feel as to what the front wheels are doing. Apparently that large rear spoiler isn’t just for looks either, but actually works at reducing lift at speed. Overall we’d say the Adam S is fun to drive!

What’s not?

  • The same Adam problems with seating remain. Really a two-seater for tall people as legroom is virtually non-existent! Fit those lovely Recaros and rear space virtually vanishes – the boot remains tiny and rather useless too.
Recaro seats give a sporty touch to the cabin
Recaro seats give a sporty touch to the cabin
  • The Recaro seats also equal an uncomfortable driving position for taller drivers, as they’re mounted too high, which is a shame.
  • The Adam S might have 148bhp, but you have to work surprisingly hard to get the best out of this car.
  • With the standard 18-inch alloys and that stiffer ride, the Adam feels uncomfortable at low speeds.
  • Our test car with most of the options fitted, listed at an incredible £19,425!
  • What is going on with Vauxhall’s naming strategy? At launch this car was called the Adam Grand Slam, yet looking at the rear quarter our test car was confusingly badged the Adam S? Vauxhall has now made a U-turn with the name and called it the Adam S.

The Verdict

If you like the idea of a stylish, warm small hatch, there’s much to like about the Vauxhall Adam S. However it’s expensive without the options (£16,995), has compromised rear and boot space, plus for the money we reckon it should be faster.

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