Driving Review: Opel Adam 1,0 Jam

Has Opel been an underrated brand in South Africa?

Review by Kelly Lodewyks

I have always felt that Opel is an underrated brand in South Africa. There are the loyal followers who know of what the brand achieved in local racing years ago, but it’s a new generation and the German manufacturer hasn’t been the first choice for the younger buyers. The brand also didn’t have much marketing thrown behind it which led many to believe that General Motors would be pulling the company from the local market a few years ago. But the company didn’t. And now they’re taking more risks but introducing boutique cars like this little Adam here.

It’s a risky move for Opel. The Adam is to Opel what the DS3 is to Citroen and the Mini to well, Mini (or BMW). It’s a segment of the market that’s difficult to break into because of how strongly Mini performs there. So let’s see what this car offers and whether it can compete with the bigger players.

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When it comes to styling, it certainly makes a good impression with a grille that sits low on the nose of the car and a clamshell bonnet. It gives the car a bit of a smiley face. I’m not against that at all. At the back there’s a pert rear end with a large rear window, while in profile, you can see a chrome line that carries your eye from the A-pillar to the C-pillar and helps give the car a “floating roof”.

Inside, the Adam feels smart and upmarket with a soft-touch dash and splashes of colour. The overall look is sporty and clean with a layout that is easy to get used to.

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Like other vehicles in this segment, potential buyers can personalise their Adam from the outside in. How far you can take it depends on the model that you choose. There is a choice of nine exterior colours and various extra packs that can be added. For this Jam model, there is the choice between the Twisted pack (R1 500) that adds either a black or white roof, the OPC-line pack (R8 300) that equips the Adam with 17-inch Hurricane alloy wheels and an OPC-Line body kit, the Twisted OPC-Line pack which gives you the black or white roof plus the 17-inch Hurricane alloys, or the Xtreme pack (R19 200) that gets potential buyers a black or white rood, 18-inch twister alloys and the OPC-Line body kit. These wheels offer “customisable and interchangeable colour-coded wheel clips”. There are also various other options available for the Adam Glam model. I love when there’s a variety of personalisation options available on car because I am a firm believer in a car is an extension of the owner’s personality.

Keeping the car modern is the standard fitment (in this Jam model) of Opel’s IntelliLink system that allows for fully-integrated smartphone connectivity for hands-free operation of phones. There is also a 7-inch display for this system and it can be controlled via satellite controls on the steering wheel. The system comes with pre-loaded apps such as stitcher for podcasts, radio shows, news, music and talk shoes, plus various other applications that users can use.

Safety features include six airbags, ABS with EBD and BAS, ESP Plus, Hill Start Assist, Isofix child seat anchor points, side blind zone alert for blind spot warning at speeds of up to 140 km/h and an advanced park assist system.

Under the bonnet of this car lies a 3-cylinder 1,0 turbocharged engine that delivers 85 kW at 5 000 r/min. It may not seem like much but thanks to 170 N.m of torque available at 1 800 r/min, there is plenty of shove in this little thing. It feels strong and quick off the mark and overtaking is a breeze. The rise is smooth with a compliant suspension that absorbs any road imperfections. Steering is slightly on the light side, but nothing unsettling. Opel claims 5,1-litres/100 km thanks to various fuel saving methods including start/stop technology.

The Adam Glam comes with the same engine while the entry-level Adam has a naturally-aspirated 1,4-litre four-cylinder unit with 74 kW and 130 Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Fuel consumption is a claimed 5,3 litres/100 km.

Opel Adam 1,4                                   R189 900
Opel Adam Jam 1,0T ecoFLEX     R209 900
Opel Adam Glam 1,0T eco FLEX  R232 900

Prices include a standard 5-year/ 120 000 km vehicle warranty, a 5-year/ unlimited mileage anti-corrosion warranty, and a 3-year/ 60 000 km service plan