Vauxhall Adam (2013-2019) Review

The Vauxhall Adam offers driving fun and super-customisable style at an affordable cost

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Smart, head-turning looks
  • Interior finished to a high standard
  • Reasonably priced (including options)
  • Suspension quite firm
  • Small back seats and boot
  • Fuel economy could be better
Vauxhall Adam prices from £5,900.
Finance from £127.10 / month.

Vauxhall Adam prices from £5,900   Finance from £127.10 per month*

Named after Adam Opel, the founder of Vauxhall’s German parent company Opel, the Vauxhall Adam is a pint-sized city car designed to compete with other fashionable runarounds like the Mini Hatchback and Fiat 500. Within the Vauxhall range, it’s a less practical but more stylish alternative to the big-selling Vauxhall Corsa supermini.

In common with the Mini and Fiat, the Adam let new buyers go wild with practically endless colour and trim combinations to personalise the car to their heart’s content, which means there will likely be a wide variety of distinct models on the used market. It’s only available with three doors and petrol power, and its engines are only average at best when it comes to fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. So if very low running costs are essential, you may be better off in a Corsa.

In addition to the standard bodystyle, there’s the raised-up Adam Rocks and its convertible counterpart, the Adam Rocks Air, which offer more of an SUV feel. At the top of the range sits the fast Adam S, which isn’t quite a full-fat hot hatchback, but is reasonably good fun nonetheless.

Practicality is another area where the Adam fails to impress – the rear seats are a squeeze for anyone but small children and the boot capacity is a tiny 170 litres. But then if you have another, bigger car in the household for serious load-lugging, that shouldn’t be a problem.

The Adam does better when it comes to interior quality – it’s not quite up to the lofty standards of the Audi A1, but it’s a big improvement on Vauxhalls of old. And while its four out of five Euro NCAP safety score isn’t perfect, it’s about par for the course for small city cars of this age, as the test has become ever-more stringent.

True driving enthusiasts won’t be bowled over by the Adam, which isn’t quite as agile as a Volkswagen Up or Skoda Citigo, but it’s fairly good fun to drive nonetheless, particularly with one of the more powerful engines under the bonnet. Watch out for the ride quality, though: you really feel speed bumps and potholes in this car.

Key facts

Warranty Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size 170 litres
Width 1,720mm
Length 3,698mm
Height 1,484mm
Tax (min to max) £30 to £145

Best Vauxhall Adam for...

Best for Economy – Vauxhall Adam 1.0T ecoFLEX Slam [Start Stop]

As with other Vauxhalls, the most efficient version of the Adam gets the ‘ecoFLEX’ badge. But it’s the best of a bad lot, really: it’s not road-tax exempt (many cars on sale when the Adam was launched are) and fuel economy of 56.5mpg is nothing to write home about in a small car these days.

Best for Families – Best for families – Vauxhall Adam 1.4i Jam

The Adam is only really suitable as a second family car, for short school runs and shopping trips. You never want to spend too much on a car like that, so the cheap Jam version is the best to go for here.

Best for Performance – Vauxhall Adam 1.4T S

The Adam S gets a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that gets it from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. It’s certainly not slow, but doesn’t really have the fun on-road performance to make it a true Ford Fiesta ST rival.

One to Avoid – Vauxhall Adam 1.4i ecoFLEX Glam Easytronic

The Vauxhall Easytronic gearbox is an example of an ‘automated manual’ transmission. That means it still has a clutch - although the driver doesn’t operate it - and so isn’t as smooth as a regular automatic, reducing its appeal. It’s your only option if you must have an automatic Adam, however.


  • March 2013 Vauxhall Adam goes on sale in the UK
  • September 2014 Recall of 70,000 Feb-Sep ‘14 Adams & Corsas for steering issue
  • October 2014 Vauxhall Adam Rocks and open-top Rocks Air join range
  • January 2015 Sporty Vauxhall Adam S launched with 1.4 turbo engine
  • March 2015 Recall of 37 Adams for potential cracks in 18-inch alloy wheels
  • December 2015 Updated media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto arrives, along with Vauxhall's OnStar connected services
  • April 2016 New trim level 'Unlimited' announced for Adam and Adam Rocks, with further personalisation options, styling upgrades and wireless mobile phone charging

Understanding Vauxhall Adam names

Engine 1.4i ecoFLEX

The Vauxhall Adam range is only available with petrol engines. The size of each engine is given in litres - such as 1.4 in this case - but bigger does not always mean more powerful. The letter 'i' stands for fuel injection, a technology used on all modern petrol cars. ecoFLEX is the term Vauxhall uses to describe the more efficient versions of its cars.

Trim Glam

Basic trim levels – or versions – are Jam, Glam and Slam. There’s also the off-road-styled Rocks, the convertible Rocks Air and the performance-orientated S.

Gearbox Easytronic

Most Adams have a manual gearbox, although you can specify the Easytronic automatic with the less powerful of the two 1.4-litre non-turbocharged engines and in Glam trim level only.

Vauxhall Adam Engines

1.2i, 1.4i, 1.0i Turbo, 1.4i Turbo

The three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol is the most sophisticated engine on offer in the Adam range, and it was only available in the Adam Slam – the most expensive of the three regular trim levels. It’s worth going for if you can afford it, though, as it combines lively performance with fuel economy that’s as good as it gets in the Adam range.

The 1.2-litre petrol is the cheapest engine option in all three of the regular trims, but we wouldn't recommend it, mainly due to its painfully slow 0-62mph time of almost 15 seconds. This lack of power means it’ll struggle when it comes to overtaking a truck or tackling a steep hill.

Of the two versions of the 1.4-litre engine, the less powerful 86hp model is available across the Jam, Glam and Slam trims, while the more powerful 100hp unit is only offered in the Slam. Both offer reasonable but not particularly good performance and fuel economy.

The Adam Rocks is available with the 1.2-litre or 1.0-litre turbo, while the Adam Rocks Air also adds the 86hp 1.4-litre to the mix. The Adam S gets its own more powerful 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Neither diesel nor hybrid power is available in any Adam.





0 - 62mph

top speed











12.5 - 13.9s

109 - 111mph



52.3 - 56.5mpg




1.0i Turbo






1.4i Turbo







Vauxhall Adam Trims

Jam, Glam, Slam, Rocks, Rocks Air, S

The Vauxhall Adam has some unusual names for its different trim levels – or versions – reflecting its youthful target audience. The basic range is made up of the Jam, Glam and Slam (although from time to time Vauxhall will add to these with special editions).

Jam was your cheapest route into Adam ownership as a new buyer, but fortunately it had a good deal of standard kit: 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth music streaming, air-conditioning, a leather steering wheel and cruise control are all thrown in.

Moving up to Glam gets you climate control, a glass roof panel to brighten up the interior, digital radio and some chrome-effect trim on the outside.

The Slam has contrasting black door mirrors and roof, tinted rear windows, 17-inch alloys, sports suspension and Vauxhall’s ‘OnStar’ system. This is a service that allows you to call up an operator for help with things like driving directions or booking your car in for a service. It can also be used to summon help quickly in the event of a crash or breakdown, as it tracks the exact location of your car.

The most obvious difference with the Adam Rocks is its raised-up suspension and rugged body cladding, but it’s not a true off-roader and the changes are only for aesthetic reasons. It also gets OnStar, 17-inch alloys, tinted rear windows, air-con, digital radio, Bluetooth, a leather steering wheel and cruise control. The Rocks Air has all that plus a roll-back fabric convertible roof.

In addition to its 1.4-litre turbo engine, the Adam S gets all the features of the Slam, plus a distinctive bodykit and alloy wheels to suit its sporty nature and more powerful brakes.

Vauxhall Adam Reliability and warranty

The Vauxhall Adam snuck into the top half of Auto Express magazine’s 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, placing it 90th out of 200 cars ranked. It didn’t do quite as well in the reliability sub-category, where it came 110th, but its build quality score of 68th was better. It probably should have done better for reliability given that it uses many proven components and engines from the Vauxhall Corsa, while its warranty cover wasn't brilliant, either; certainly not as good as Hyundai or Kia's offerings.

Used Vauxhall Adam

The Vauxhall Adam is a decent competitor for the Mini Hatch and Fiat 500, but it didn't build enough street cred to tackle these and the Adam soon got dropped from production. While the desirable Mini and 500 both hold values very well on the second-hand market, the Adam sheds quite a lot of its value fairly quickly.

In general, the more expensive, high-spec Adams come down in price quicker, so savvy used buyers should keep an eye out for a keenly priced Adam Slam, or maybe even an Adam S, to get lots of standard kit for their money.

Another thing to be aware of when shopping for a used Vauxhall Adam is the potential for a previous owner to have selected a particularly odd or unusual exterior or interior colour combination.

Currently, the cheapest Adam on BuyaCar is  £5,900, which makes it an attractive proposition for younger, first-time car buyers. Monthly costs start around  £127.10. Expect to pay at least   for the most desirable Slam trim level,   for the sportier S,   for the rugged Rocks version, or   for the soft-top Rocks Air.


List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance

Vauxhall Adam 1.4T S













Best for families

Vauxhall Adam 1.4i Jam













Best for economy

Vauxhall Adam 1.0T ecoFLEX Slam [Start Stop]