Opel Adam Jam 1.0T (2015) Review

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Opel is planning a big comeback in 2015 as it plans to launch multiple models in South Africa. The first of the new kids is the all-new Opel Adam, a city car with personality and a multitude of options to personalise it to your own unique style. We racked up over 2 000 km in the Adam with its 1-litre turbo motor during our test period and here’s what we discovered.

Small Turbo, Big Go

Small capacity petrol engines combined with turbocharging trickery are beginning to trickle in to our market. There’s the Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta and the new VW Polo that have a relatively small engine turbo too. Adam has a great little engine, it cranks out 85 kW and 170 Nm and it feels perfectly suited to the Adam’s size and personality.

The engine is keen to accelerate and the torque delivery in the mid-range is impressive, especially during overtaking. Even at freeway speeds the Adam offers up ample reserves of in-gear acceleration if you need to put in a quick spurt. The engine gives the Adam a fun and energetic feel, even if the three-cylinder growl is somewhat muted. Fuel economy was reasonable too, we saw 6.5L/100km over our near 2000 km run with the Adam.

How small is Adam?

It’s certainly a compact car made for snaking around town dodging traffic and nipping around obstacles without having to worry too much about hitting anything. The boot is small, but comparatively average amongst its rivals. I do wish the parcel shelf had been put on strings or folded back down automatically as the amount of times I left it up and then drove away with my rear view obscured was crazy.

Rear access could be better as well, the front seats could do a better job of folding down and sliding forward to let people in the back. The back isn’t too bad once you’re in, but I wouldn’t want to spend a long time there.

High class interior

In the section that matters in the Adam (the driver’s seat) Opel has really done a stellar job. The Adam’s interior is stylish and comfortable and it also features an easy-on-the-eye touchscreen and user interface. The materials used are soft to the touch, and the seats are very comfortable and supportive. The gadgetry is simple to connect to and the ability to integrate your phone with several apps already loaded on the car is really cool, although it seemed a bit hit and miss with my phone as to whether it would connect properly.

It’s also nice to see things like blind-spot monitoring and auto-parallel and perpendicular parking. All these auto-park systems are great when they work, but they do have a tendency to ‘not see’ or miss a parking space you’re after, leaving you looking like a bit of a fool to everyone around. The Adam is also fitted with excellent safety equipment that includes six-airbags, ABS, EBD, ESP and hill start assist.

Ride and Handling

Being a funky city car and in a segment where cars like the Mini, Citroen DS3 and Fiat 500 offer awesome thrills per minute, the Adam feels fun, but not an absolute riot to drive. The ride is sporty and quite firm and it grips nicely when thrown into a 90-degree corner. It could do with a little more feel in the steering wheel and possibly a quicker steering ratio to speed up the turn-in.

It’s not a bad handling car by any means, I still had fun whipping it through my local bends, but if you’re after something that’s going to wow you in the fun-to-chuck-about department then the Mini or DS3 might be more to your liking.

Opel Adam - Verdict

The cars in this segment sell mainly based on looks and customisation and the Adam has big green ticks in those boxes. It’s got a great turbo engine and is fun to drive for your average user. Opel announced pricing at the end of January 2015 and actually undercut the expectation, see below for the pricing. That makes it one of the cheapest cars in the segment and undercuts the Mini by R70 000. The Adam is certainly worth a look and at that price should see buyers aplenty.

Second Opinion

The highlight of this Opel Adam Jam is definitely the 1.0-litre turbo engine. Its got sufficient grunt within the city and on the highway and driving the Adam is a heap of fun as a result. Another bonus is the interior, which is funky, modern and well constructed. The attractive infotainment system is the cherry on top and the wide range of personalisation options make Adam that much more appealing. The Adam's compact dimensions coupled with its good looks and personality should see it sell well in South Africa. - Gero Lilleike

The Opel Adam makes a mockery of the Mini Cooper and Citroen DS3. Essentially you're getting the same experience: a small, compact runabout that oozes charm, style and character; with a number of great gadgets fitted. Throw in the extensive range of customisation options and a superb 1.0-litre turbo engine and you're probably looking at the coolest city slicker for 2015. - David Taylor


The Opel Adam range starts at R189 900 for the naturally aspirated 1.4-Litre. This turbo'd petrol in Jam trim is priced at a very reasonable R209 900 before you add the optional kits on. The top spec Glam model goes for R232 900.

We Like: Styling, character, turbo engine, interior quality, standard features

We Don't Like: Rear entry tight, could be more fun to drive

Also Consider: Fiat 500, Mini Cooper, Citroen DS3

Opel Adam 1.0T Jam Quick Specs

Engine 1-litre, three cylinder turbo
Power 85 kW
Torque 170 Nm
Transmission Six-speed manual
Wheels 18-inch alloy wheels
0-100km/h 9.9 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed 196 kph
Fuel Economy 5.1L/100km (claimed)
Fuel Tank Capacity 38 Litres