By dropping a cylinder and gaining a turbo, the Adam is finally the car it should have been all along. Until now Vauxhall’s distinctively styled, nicely built Fiat 500 rival has been fighting blindfolded and with all four limbs zip-tied behind its back in a state of benign apathy by a trio of pretty flat normally aspirated petrol fours.
The 1.2 struggles to fend off horse-drawn traffic, while the marginally more vigorous 1.4 still lacks the urgency of response and plucky charm a car like this so desperately needs.
How does the three-pot engine help?
The Adam 1.0T replaces the average with the impressive, namely the 998cc turbo triple that debuted in the Adam Rocks. The engine combines an altogether more engaging level of performance with impressive refinement and an oh-so-important splash of joie di vivre.
The new motor makes 113bhp at 5200rpm but it’s the turbo-assisted torque that makes the big difference on the road, with 125lb ft from just 1800rpm. This newfound ability to gather speed with some sense of conviction elevates the Adam from the status of victim to that of proper grown-up car.
The engine’s nicely refined too, with a smooth, hushed delivery. Underlining the turbo motor’s case as the only Adam engine to go for is its impressive economy – it joyfully greets lead-footed motorway jousting with 40mpg.
Elsewhere it’s business as usual, which is to say secure handling, a decent if fidgety ride on the 16-inch wheels, light but inoffensive steering and an interior with distinctive design and quality materials. If only the seats were more supportive.
A fine little supermini then, and not before time.
Click here to read more from CAR's review of the four-cylinder Vauxhall Adam 1.2 Jam.