Opel enters the city car segment with the funky Adam and heads straight to the top of the class with funky styling, huge personalisation and an inexpensive entry price.
In the Metal:
Most of the Adam's rivals had some sort of heritage to draw upon when being designed - the lineage from Mini to MINI can clearly be seen, for instance, as too can the evolution of the Fiat 500. With no predecessor however, the Opel designers had to come up with something fresh for their entry into the segment and to our eyes it worked. The effect will be very colour dependent but in the cars that we tested (a White Jam and Purple Glam) the styling works. The floating roof (popularised by MINI) works particularly well due to the 'glass' C-pillar that breaks up the contrasting body and roof colours. LED head- and tail lights add a touch of class and while at 160 litres the boot is almost as small as the MINI's, it can at least handle a few shopping bags - or Ryanair-spec suitcases.
One of the most refreshing aspects of the interior is the introduction of a seven-inch colour touchscreen that replaces Opel's usual mass of buttons. The screen itself is flanked by capacitive buttons for volume and tuning, but everything else - from additional satellite navigation (more on that below) to Bluetooth audio is controlled from the screen.
The dashboard itself, while constructed from hard plastic, is textured in such a way that it is attractive and suits the decor of the Adam to a tee. With so many interior combinations offered it is difficult to get a true grasp on the car but we did note that, bar a swinging key ring, the interior was remarkably refined.
Let's cut straight to the chase: the Adam - like many cars of its ilk - is designed to be driven around town and primarily by women. According to Opel's own figures 60 per cent of buyers will be of the fairer sex, though we suspect this figure to be higher until the introduction of the inevitable OPC version. With this in mind you expect the Adam to feature fingertip light steering that can be made even lighter with a flick of the 'City' button, which makes parallel parking a doddle. Its narrow width means it can carve around packed city streets with ease yet not at the expense of interior space. We tested the car with two burly blokes in the front seats and there was no elbow or shoulder touching while driving - something that could be particularly embarrassing in a car whose colour name was 'Purple Fiction'!
Venture beyond the confines of the city and the Adam's 100hp four-cylinder petrol engine can also handle the motorway slog, though you may find yourself working the five-speed gearbox to make the most of the narrow power band. At speed the cabin is remarkably refined with the only irritating noise coming from the metal key ring hanging from the ignition - that says a lot for such a small car that there were no squeaks and rattles, even over rougher surfaces.
The package does begin to come apart on some of the mountainous roads that made up our test route - high speed direction changes completely unsettle the balance leaving you feeling like you are a passenger rather than controller of the car. The vast majority of Adams will not be driven in this manner however, so it is unlikely to concern most. The Hi-perStrut suspension from the Astra OPC should rectify things for hotter Adams.
What you get for your Money:
The entry-level Adam Jam (hold on, it gets worse) is available from €14,995 and comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth and cruise control as standard. However, with 60,000 exterior combinations and 80,000 interior combinations, no two Adams are likely to be the same. Want Park Assist, sunroof, a Rolls-Royce Phantom style illuminated roof? All of those are available from the options list, along with colours such as 'I'll be Black', 'Papa don't Peach', 'Purple Fiction', 'James Blonde', 'Saturday White Fever' and 'Buzz Lightgreen'.
The two other trim levels - Glam and Slam - are actually on par with each other rather than one higher than the other with Glam and its LED taillights, leather trim and 'Vintage' alloys aimed at more discerning buyers while Slam's sports suspension and tinted rear windows are clearly aimed at 'sportier' drivers. Both Glam and Slam are available from €16,995.
Available from the options list for just €350 the IntelliLink system brings smartphone capabilities to the Adam. Compatible with both Android and IOS the system allows for the download of navigation and entertainment apps such as TuneIn radio that are relayed through the car's seven-inch colour touchscreen. Exclusive to iPhone users is the Siri Eyes that uses the iPhone's smart assistant to bring voice recognition, access to iTunes, composition of text messages and even reading of incoming Tweets to the Adam.
With both the MINI and Fiat 500 both getting long in the tooth the time is ripe for the introduction of a new small car complete with the lucrative and popular personalisation aspect. The Adam may not have the heritage of some of its competitors but with funky, fresh styling, cheap entry and a characterful yet efficient engine the Adam may be just the car to rise to the top.