Driven: Vauxhall Adam Rocks Air

This is a car that sits in its own little niche, itself within another slightly larger niche. It’s a city car, one of many to choose from, but it’s also stylish and customisable. That cuts down your options significantly, but what if you want it as a nearly-convertible? You’re then left with just the Fiat 500 and the Vauxhall Adam to choose from.

Suppose you want rugged looks and pseudo-off-roader style? The 500 is out, and you’re left with this, the Adam Rocks Air.

Amazingly, it all works cosmetically. There is a risk that throwing everything at such a small car could overwhelm it, but the 15mm ride height increase and plastic cladding actually boosts the car, leaving looking a little a cartoon but none the worse for that.

The huge fabric roof blends in seamlessly, leaving no ungainly bulges are suchlike. It rolls back and forth in just seven seconds at speeds well over the national speed limit, leaving a huge hole above you but without blocking the rear view as the similar setup in the Fiat 500 does.

It does allow a lot of noise through when closed though, despite its triple layer construction. The elements are kept out though, something it proved during a torrential thunderstorm.

On the road you’ll find the raised ride-height means there have been some revisions made to the suspension. As such, Rocks rides a little better than the stiffly spring Adam, although that improvement in quality is instantly cancelled out by the fitment of 18-inch alloy wheels to our test model. Despite the big wheels, corners aren’t a friend to the Rocks, the car wobbling around as if on stilts, despite the meagre increase in the centre of gravity.

There is one saving grace though, and that’s the excellent little engine. Vauxhall’s new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder has found its way in to the Rocks where you’ll find it to be quiet, refined and powerful. Combined with a good six-speed gearbox, the 133bhp on offer will whisk the car to 62mph in 9.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 121mph.

That almost makes up for the cars failings elsewhere.

Inside it’s pure Adam, with nothing new to mark it out. That means there is plenty of space up front along with a useful amount of storage pockets and bins for all your accoutrements, all wrapped up in a stylish and functional cabin.

Anybody beyond a lithe young teenager will struggle in the back, and the boot is a tad cramped, able to carry just 170 litres of ‘stuff’. The smaller Fiat 500 can swallow more, while the Mini is positively cavernous in comparison.

Your driving bills will be low though, thanks to promised economy of 55.4mpg. CO2 emissions of 119g/km will result in a car tax bill of just £30 per year.

The normal Adam with the same engine will cost you around £1,500 less than the Rocks Air, which is quite a lot for some plastic cladding and a posh sunroof. If the roof option really is essential, then you’ll be able to get that on the standard Adam soon.

But being all rational like that takes the fun out of it all. This is a fashion led car first and foremost, and if you’re thinking about pure value for money then you might as well forget about the Adam and buy the more practical and cheaper Corsa.

To do that would miss the point though. As a fashion accessory the Adam Rocks works well, but then so does the Adam. Save your money, ignore the Rocks, and have an Adam and a holiday instead.

Model tested: Vauxhall Adam Rocks Air 1.0 Turbo ecoFLEX
Price: £16,995
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Top speed: 121 mph
0-62 mph: 9.9 seconds
Power: 115 PS (113 bhp)
Torque: 170 Nm (125 ft-lb)
Combined fuel economy: 55.4 mpg
Road Test economy: 40.0 mpg
CO2 Emissions: 119 g/km
VED Band: C / £30 per year
Car insurance group: 10E
Kerb weight: 1,126 kg

Phil Huff

Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, DAD.info and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.

Leave a Reply