Adam Rocks

Adam Rocks

All too easily, the origin of species could have gone the wrong way

 Naming a car ‘Adam’ was sure to create a raft of daft headlines, except that it did not, which surprised Iain Robertson, who now presumes that even automotive superficiality is beyond the reach of the broader populus.

 Allow me a moment’s explanation. Adam was not merely the biblical creation of God, his first man, from whom all ailments would follow (not for the first time would the curse ‘damn that Apple!’ be heard resounding in the hills and dales of human existence). Adam Opel, the progenitor of most things that led to the creation of a German car company (that would become owned by those US masters of all things damnable about the motor industry, General Motors) bearing his name, would be gifted the ultimate honour of a car named in his memory.

 Maybe it is not so amusing after all? I have already waxed lyrical about the regular Adam, which is marketed in the UK and some other places as a Vauxhall, which is the sister company to Teutonic Opel. The name has far less relevance here than it does in Germany, although a recent survey in that country revealed that less than 20% of the respondents had even the merest inkling of who, or what, Adam Opel had to do with anything, let alone producing cars.

 Therefore, perhaps as Vauxhall, or Opel, Adam is a marginally more sensible model name than Mitsubishi Minica Dangan ZZ Turbo 20-4, or Mazda Bongo Frendee, perhaps it might lead to a bunch of Adam fans making their marks somewhere in the future, when the Adam reaches classic car status, as surely it will. Look, I do not wish to get hung-up about a car’s name.

 Anyway, apart from its foreshortened stance, which is a sort of Vauxhall riposte at the Ford Ka, Fiat 500 and even VW Up! class, which ensures that there remains space enough behind a two-metre tall driver for a thalidomide-afflicted back seat passenger, preferably with a lower limb deficiency, overall, it is the automotive equivalent of Vern Troyer, Warwick Davis, or Kylie Minogue, about whom I must tell you a small anecdote.

 During the Paris Motor Show a few years ago, Ms Minogue, already a stellar starlet, was awaiting behind the scenes on the Ford stand. I joined her and Ken Gibson (who was the motoring reporter at The Sun) for some wee chuckles. The stand was angled very steeply. On it were the StreetKa and SportKa, which Ms Minogue was about to unveil, along with the launch of her latest hit single. The three of us would see how far we could walk beneath the display stand, before our respective heights would force us to give up. Needless to say, I stopped first (six feet six inches), followed by Ken (five feet six inches), while Ms Minogue managed to ease her five feet and one inch some distance further ahead. Oh, how we laughed….!

 The point I wish to make is that those three, aforementioned artistes might be tiny but they are also perfectly formed, a bit like the Adam. Therefore, the latest iteration, Adam Rocks, which might have led me into making a spurious comment about ‘Adam Sucks’, or something equally facile, broadens the intended appeal of the model by leaning on the current craze for the soft-roader look but without the ballsy, or purposeful, underpinnings. It is enough to turn one into a cynic.

 Its ride height is increased by around 15mm. Not much, I shall grant you, but enough to make space for the heavy-handed wheel-arch protective flanges now clamped to its flanks. I am informed that it is ‘style’ but I fear that were I to drive an example in my Lincolnshire neck o’ the woods, I would be boo-ed and hooted off the road by myriad old farmers, let alone the jeering young farmers, who might rip my plastic addenda asunder. Who would blame them?

 Having discovered that the pseudo-4×4 was as far removed from off-road competence as was possible for it to be, I managed not to get too stuck on the grass and settled into back lane picture snapping. Voila!

 However, I figured that I ought to give the wee car a bit more of a balanced report and I can tell you that, away from the bling-laden cockpit, with its largely pointless (‘stylish’, though) pearlescent white dashboard and door trim-strips, enhanced with strangely uncoordinated (but ‘stylish’) brown, green and blue splashes of colour, it is a charming (and ‘stylish’) small car. The lovely saddle coloured seats (‘stylish’?) are comfortable up-front (less so in the rear, although small children might be happy driven by an equally compact ‘yummy-mummy’).

 The package is completed with a fabric sunroof that electrics back and forth for a proper draught on the move. However, with it wound back, you can also just about hear the slightly vocal and all-new three-pot engine beneath Adam’s bonnet. Displacing not quite a litre, the turbocharged unit develops a most acceptable 113bhp and drives through a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. It is enough to whisk it painlessly from 0-60mph in around 10 seconds (it feels zestier), onwards to 121mph, while emitting 119g/km CO2 into the atmosphere and putting at risk up to 55.4mpg (Official Combined). It is a sweet little engine.

 All of the up-market Adam’s controls are borrowed from the marginally more spacious Corsa model and they work fluently enough, as they should for mass-market components. Yet, the most impressive aspect of the Adam Rocks is not all of the plastic chrome and the fancy ‘handed’ alloy wheels, with their clever (and ‘stylish’) wheel trims, but the car’s wondrous deportment. It rides and handles better than almost any car, regardless of price, or market status, and manages to make the usual compromises disappear comprehensively.

 Well, here’s the shock news….the Adam Rocks, priced from £14,695, is the best riding and most comfortable small car sold in Great Britain, without exception.

 Its boot is non-existent. Its back seat is practically useless. It (truly) looks a bit dumpy and uncomfortable with its stance. However, if you want to float seamlessly above our nation’s grimly under-funded roads network, without placing your spine in danger of serious damage, or without incurring in-car biliousness, in a compact hatchback with steering so delicious that it makes the typical sports car look inadequate, then invest in an Adam Rocks. You will never cease to be amazed.

 Now, if only Vauxhall could gift that same suspension balance onto its Corsa, Astra and Insignia model lines…you never know, the forthcoming new Viva (a genuine name from Vauxhall’s past worth conjuring with) might possess it…if so, the firm would have an accolade that its nemesis (at Ford) could never boast, Minogue, or not.