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Road Test: Adam Rocks S

By Nick Francis Published

hatchback | Vauxhall | Adam | Adam Rock S

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IF the Adam Rocks S was a person, it would be one of those people described as having an “identity crisis”.

They would be dressing too trendy or listening to the “right kind of music”, all the while deep down wishing they could just shop at M&S and put on a Coldplay CD.

Fun company, nippy and frugal

The Rocks S is packed with positive features – it’s fun company, nippy and frugal – but it’s a city car with SUV styling and, worst of all, just too expensive.

I want to like it, I feel like its heart is in the right place, but you can’t get around the fact Vauxhall is asking over £19k for a 1.4-litre city car.

Key facts: ADAM ROCK S

Price: £19,355

Engine: 1.4 litre turbo-petrol

Economy: 47.9mpg

0-62mph: 8.5 secs

Top speed: 130mph

Length: 3.7 metres

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The Fiesta ST is cheaper, faster and bigger. The Fiat 500X is also cheaper and has the same “mini-SUV” qualities.

Like I say, it does a few things right. The 148bhp engine makes its tiny chassis feel spritely and fizzy, especially around town. You’ll even coax a bit of wheelspin out of it, if that’s your bag. But if it’s thrills you’re after, you’d be better off buying the Fiesta. To test the Rocks S, I drove it on the morning rush-hour commute into London from Hertfordshire.

That’s a 35-mile journey, elbow to elbow with equally grumpy commuters while doggedly following Waze (look it up on the App Store if you’ve not heard of it) down rat- runs, one-way streets and across housing estates. Fed this diet of tiny roads and three-point turns, the Rocks S is in its element. It’s as maneuverable as a pushbike and the punchier engine gives it an edge over its 1.2-litre sibling, the Adam Rocks.

Doesn’t offer enough on top to justify the nine grand extra

The raised ride position is also a bonus – the Rocks range is 15mm higher than the standard Adam – especially when the Range Rovers driven by sexually frustrated housewives are bearing down on you in a cul-de-sac somewhere near Chigwell.

The Vauxhall website describes it as having “go-kart”-like handling, and that’s true. It’s light and flickable through tight spots.

But the car is tiny and, while it’s a fun drive, it’s doing 0-62 in 8.5 seconds, so it’s not blistering pace.

The standard Adam is a great prospect for a young driver or someone living in town, but costs just over 11 grand. The Rocks S doesn’t offer enough on top to justify the nine grand extra.

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