Eve meets Adam on roadtrip to paradise

2015-07-22 06:00
Opel Adam can be customised in a variety of ways to express its owner’s own sense of style. 

Opel Adam can be customised in a variety of ways to express its owner’s own sense of style. Photo: quickpic

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IT’s trendy and funky with a certain je’ne sais quoi – and, believe it or not, it’s German.

Adam, Opel’s customisable three-door hatch, was given a test drive for this week’s Express on Wheels.

Released at the end of January in the country the Adam is Opel’s way of saying that German technology can be fun and sazzy too and – above all – affordable. With the base version’s price tag below R190 000 it certainly is a good rival for other iconic three-doors such as the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500.

For the young and trendy, the Adam is not only a hot accessory, but features a host of new-age Opel technologies in its engine, gearbox and infotainment.

Accessories often define one’s sense of style, and as such, the Adam also offers optional customisation packages for its owners to express their own individuality and style.

It’s available in two engine types and three trim levels – the Essentia (the essential basics), Jam (the basics plus a bit more) and Glam (the over the top).

The entry-level Essentia version has an aspirated 1,4-litre engine, while the Jam and Glam models feature Opel’s all-new, exciting 1,0-litre turbo three-cylinder engine.

And with supercharged, while fuel-efficient, 1.0-litre engines being all the rage these days, I predict that this one from Opel is sure to give Ford’s award winning 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine a run for its money.

This engine offers great performance combined with excellent fuel consumption which is rated at an average of between 5.1 and 5.3 litres over 100km on a combined cycle.


From the front it reminds me a lot of the Mini Cooper. Most striking is the large Opel emblem positioned right in the middle of the grille.

The rear, is however, a tad too flat for my taste and not its prettiest feature as I would have preferred a more rounded look. What is impressive and nifty though is the bootlid lever hidden in the Opel emblem.


Being a three-door hatch, the Adam is not meant to cart around five adults, so the interior space in the back is cramped. But where there is a will, there is a way and I managed to fit two tweens and a teenager (all female) in the back. And as looks are far more important than comfort in a good accessory, they were only too willing to change comfort for sitting pretty and described it as “cosy”.

I liked the personalisation of the interior in the test vehicle which sported embossed patterns on the dashboard and side-mirrors – giving the effect of luxurious material that one just wants to touch.

The Jam and Glam versions sport a 7-inch Touchscreen Intellilink System which plays music from USB devices and via blue-tooth. Liking high tech doesn’t necessarily mean being tech savvy, and the Adam caters for this by being very userfriendly – my 11-year-old managed to set up her Bluetooth and make her music selection within a few minutes of entering the car.

The layout of the other controls on the dashboard is also minimalistic and fuss-free, while controls on the steering wheel gave me at least some control on what is going on on the audio system.

Trendy design features that the test vehicle (which was the Glam version) was fitted with, were accents of cream in the wheel rims sporting a funky flower petal design and complementing the accents of cream in the front grille.

A negative is the positioning of the cupholders, as no trendy person worth their salt will be found without a cup of coffee, tea or something in close proximity. The cupholders, which take three cups, were situated between the driver and passenger and too far to the back – making it difficult to reach while driving.


All Adam models are well equipped with all the must-have gadgets as well as safety features. Even the Essentiabase model has more than the usual basics to offer – including a sound system with Bluetooth as well as six airbags. Other features for the Essentia include 15-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, air-conditioning, onboard computer, cruise control with a speed limiter, City Mode Power Steering and steering wheel audio controls.

The mid-range Jam adds, amongst others, a drive assist display, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, IntelliLink audio system (with touchscreen display, smartphone integration and apps that can be downloaded) and front and rear parking sensors.

The top of the range Glam includes automatic lights and rain-sensing wipers. It sports an auto-dimming rear view mirror, electronic climate control, eight multi-colour cabin-glow settings, a panoramic sunroof or “64 Starz” headliner (which are funky LED disco lights) and 17-inch alloy wheels.

And if you want to stand out even more, the Adam also offers quick-fitment accessories – such as interchangeable interior décor, dashboard panels, interior- and exterior mirror caps, front logo bars, wheel clips, aluminium sports pedals and exterior decal packs.


A couple of years ago, who would have thought that a 1.0 litre engine would have a six-speed gearbox, but this 3-cylinder engine is no slouch. True to its sporty nature, the Adam is quick out of the starting blocks and likes to be taken through the gears quickly.

For a proper open road test I decided to take Adam to the closest thing we have to paradise ¬- The Sundays River Valley and the Kirkwood Wildsfees.

Despite the road being in a poor condition, the Adam pleasantly surprised me by behaving well and offering an enjoyable ride. The engine has more than enough power for confident overtaking and it felt responsive yet sturdy, offering a surprisingly smooth ride on the bumpy road.

The Adam’s prices start at R 189 900 for the Adam 1.4, while the Adam Jam 1.0T ecoFlex is R209 900 and Adam Glam 1.0T ecoFlex retails for R232 900.

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