Overall rating: 3.5/5
Opel expands the Adam range to include this new, more rugged 'Rocks' model and even though its claim to be the 'world's smallest crossover SUV' may seem slightly far-fetched, its modified suspension and new engine is what really make the difference.
In the Metal:
Despite the huge variety of customisation in the original Opel Adam it has, by Opel's own admission, failed to hit it off with certain sections of the market. The Adam Rocks addresses some of this with a more rugged and chunky image, which, in the right hue, looks very good. Some new colours have been added to the already extensive palette and the car now also features a retractable fabric roof section that allows for open-air motoring. As it isn't a full convertible the silhouette is identical to the standard Adam's and we're told that there isn't any impact on structural rigidity. The roof can be operated at speeds of up to 140km/h, but having it open at speeds of over 80km/h does lead to a fair degree of wind noise inside the cabin, despite the presence of an air deflector at its leading edge.
Inside, the overall layout and design remain true to its less-rugged sibling's and is a smorgasbord of colour accents and fabrics, depending on how brave you're feeling when it comes to box-ticking time. The front seats are quite comfortable and ergonomically the cabin works well. As you would expect from a car in this segment rear head- and legroom are limited, but the actual ingress and egress to the rear seats is more of an issue. Boot space remains the same 160-litre capacity and is deeper than it is long; it can manage two small suitcases and the rear seats split and fold 50:50 to help get larger items in.
First things first; despite appearances, the Adam Rocks isn't some kind of terrain-tackling beast - a music festival car park is probably as 'off-road' as one will ever get. The cladding is really there for aesthetics more than anything else. The suspension has been raised by 15mm, which not only helps the image, but has also enabled Opel's engineers to fit modified springs and dampers, which, along with revised rear suspension geometry, give the car an improved ride over uneven tarmac - even with larger 17-inch alloy wheels fitted.
The engineers have also fettled the power steering system, though it still remains devoid of any real feedback, but given the fact the car is more likely to spend its time driving around towns and cities this shouldn't be a problem for most.
The most significant improvement in the Adam Rocks is the new all-aluminium three-cylinder petrol engine. This turbocharged unit has been developed to not only be very quiet, but also to operate in a much smoother fashion than most engines of this type, which it does thanks to the inclusion of a counter balance shaft. It delivers its 100hp in a punchy fashion and often feels faster away from a set of traffic lights than the 9.9-second 0 to 100km/h dash would suggest. The six-speed manual gearbox has a slightly long throw, but is well geared for a variety of driving scenarios.
What you get for your Money:
The Adam Rocks will command a €1,300 premium over the current range-topping Adam Slam model with a starting price of €18,995. Some may argue that there are plenty of cheaper alternatives, but the overall quality and finish of the Adam Rocks, combined with the improved engine and drive does make the asking price that bit more justifiable.
Opel also fits one of the best infotainment systems in the segment to the Adam Rocks. The IntelliLink system uses a seven-inch colour touchscreen and is compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems. In addition to running music and satellite navigation apps, it can also be operated by voice control to either make calls or read incoming text messages aloud.
Opel's new Adam Rocks definitely looks the part and we'd forgive its lack of any serious off-road ability considering how much better it now drives on the road. An added bonus is the new 1.0-litre engine, which is frugal yet forfeits no performance.