by Mark Tisshaw
11 July 2012
This is the Vauxhall Adam, a highly customisable new city car that, the firm hopes, will make it a “cooler” brand. The Adam will reach UK showrooms in January, priced from about £11,000, after its Paris motor show debut in September.
Whereas the chief rivals of the three-door, four-seat Adam — the Mini and Fiat 500 — can play upon a long heritage within a sector where chic appeal is everything, Vauxhall is entering new territory.
The company hopes to strike a chord with fashion-conscious buyers through a mix of a bold design inside and out, advanced ‘premium car’ interior options and the potential to make your own Adam unlike any other because there are more than a million trim and colour combinations.
Vauxhall chairman Duncan Aldred told Autocar that the Adam would make people “reappraise how they would traditionally think of Vauxhall and the brand and even make it — dare I say it — a cooler brand to be associated with”.
The Adam, known as ‘Junior’ throughout its development, has been styled under the direction of Opel/Vauxhall’s design chief, Mark Adams. The Briton, who switches within the General Motors group to head Cadillac and Buick design from 1 August, has not been able to reinterpret a classic model with the Adam in the way that Mini and Fiat have.
Instead, the Adam’s bold looks reference and evolve from design features seen on other Vauxhalls. It also gets a series of distinctive visual elements of its own.
A deep, crisp line around the door handles is developed from the Astra GTC, the chrome bar in the grille is derived from the Astra, and the ‘blade’ surfacing for the doors has been a feature of recent Vauxhalls.
The front of the Adam features a heavily sculpted bonnet and a pair of large, circular foglights below the headlights to give the Adam its own distinctive ‘face’. LED daytime running lights can
also be specified.
A low beltline and the relatively narrow pillars should give the Adam’s four-seat cabin an airy feel. The rear windows are convex and shaped to match the gently sloping tailgate.
Another striking element of the Adam’s design is the ‘floating’ effect for the roof, which is achieved by painting the pillars and roof a separate colour to the bodywork.
The overall design gives the Adam a squat and sporty appearance. It’s also an unusually wide car for the segment, at 1720mm. The car’s tracks are 1485mm at the front and 1478mm at the rear.
At 3700mm long, the Adam sits closer to the 3723mm-long Mini hatchback than the 3546mm-long Fiat 500. The Adam’s 1720mm width is also closer to the Mini’s (1683mm) than the 500’s (1627mm). The Adam’s wheelbase is 2311mm, which is less than the Mini’s 2467mm but just greater than the 500’s 2300mm.
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