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First drive: Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.

First drive: Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam
Not a tennis tournament, but instead the hot version of the Vauxhall Adam.

   



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Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Vauxhall adds some zest to the Adam range in the form of the Grand Slam, a 150hp micro-hot hatch with lashings of added style. It's a fine performance car in many respects but the robust starting price puts it into very dangerous territory - namely, that of the Ford Fiesta ST, a bigger and better pocket rocket.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam
Pricing: Adam Grand Slam starts from 16,995
Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual transmission
Body style: three-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 139g/km (VED Band E, 130 annually)
Combined economy: 47.9mpg
Top speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Power: 150hp from 4,900- to 5,500rpm
Torque: 220Nm from 2,750- to 4,500rpm
Boot space: 170- to 663 litres
EuroNCAP ratings: adult: 87%; child: 72%; pedestrian: 65%; safety assist: 81%

What's this?

A hot version of the Vauxhall Adam, which in other markets where it's an Opel, is branded S, but to maintain the UK's (sort of) rhyming trim nomenclature this 150hp Adam will be called the Grand Slam. However, hangovers of that Opel badging are evident in both the cabin, which we'll come to in a minute, and on the C-pillar, where 'Adam S' can still be seen - we think it's just crying out for some wag to play a killer joke and stick the letters 'ki' after it, but I digress. Nevertheless, the Adam Grand Slam is a decent looking machine, as it has wider tracks front and rear, deeper bumpers fore and aft plus matching side skirts, plus a neat, if small, roof spoiler at the back. The Adam Grand Slam also gets LED daytime running lights and taillights, exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels and the optional 'Red 'n' Roll' roof and door mirrors design, which is not available on lesser Adams.

The interior is suitably jazzed up too, with sporty seats (although the leather Recaros in this car were an option, see Verdict), a few Red 'n' Roll splashes of colour and tidy, S-monogrammed dials. But we could do without the tasteless 'S' sticker on the passenger-side dashboard and door cards, or the comically over-sized steering wheel - it's like it's from a car three classes bigger than the Adam. Vauxhall also reckons it is well-specified as standard compared to rival vehicles, with few options available beyond exterior body-roof colour combinations.

How does it drive?

It's certainly a quick little motor, the 1.4 providing pleasing accelerative punch and a smooth, linear delivery of its ample resources. The Adam Grand Slam is not the most entertaining sounding car, although Vauxhall should be commended for not resorting to artificially augmented sounds pumped into the cabin, a trick other manufacturers are all too eager to use. It also resists torque-steer admirably and gets on with the job of transplanting healthy figures of 150hp and 220Nm to the tarmac, with steering that's weighty and reasonably precise, excellent VXR-spec brakes (whopping 308mm diameter discs at the front) and strong body control all making it pointy, controllable and fun on a twisting road.

The major niggle comes with the ride comfort. The damping appears to have been set up to work best at around 70- or 80mph, where the Adam is extremely refined and feels like a larger, longer-wheelbase vehicle than it actually is. The pay-off is a low-speed ride that's poor. The Adam Grand Slam will crash and bang through surface imperfections, on its rubber-band 35-profile tyres, in a way that's wholly unbefitting of what is - at its core - a city car. It's a shame, because the rest of the dynamic package is impressive, but that jittery ride in towns will put certain buyers off.

Verdict

Aimed squarely at the Fiat 500 Abarth, the Adam Grand Slam provides a better drive than the Italian and is about comparable on price, given hotter 500s aren't exactly cheap. Indeed, in the Adam's A-segment marketplace, there's little that's comparable to it in terms of zesty performance and appealing looks. The issue is, at nigh-on 17 grand as standard, it inevitably makes you think of larger machines you could have for the same money - and the sublime Ford Fiesta ST is top of the list. OK, so the Blue Oval offering isn't as wilfully stylish or customisable, but if you value driving brilliance over kerb appeal, the Adam simply doesn't stand a chance. Not only that, but the 207hp Corsa VXR is on its way soon and it's likely to dip below 20,000; the price of our Adam Grand Slam, once fitted with Intellilink (275), metallic 'Forget About The Grey' paint (545) and leather Recaros (1,610), was 19,425 - that's way too much money. If the Adam Grand Slam was about 3,000 cheaper as standard, we'd have no problem heartily recommending it. As it is, it's a touch too expensive for our tastes.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3 3 3 3 3 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 12 Mar 2015



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2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.



2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 

2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam. Image by Vauxhall.
 






 

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