New Vauxhall Adam Rocks Review

Trendy small Vauxhall is a left-field choice

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Funky looks
  • Plenty of ways to personalise
  • Full of character
  • Less frugal than rivals
  • Small boot
  • Poor handling

£14,815 - £20,295 Price range

4 Seats

44 - 57 MPG


A premium supermini with the ruggedness of a crossover sounds like a fantastic combination, but in reality, the Vauxhall Adam Rocks doesn’t give you many reasons to prefer it over more accomplished rivals such as the Mini One and Fiat 500. In fact, its price even overlaps with the fantastic Ford Fiesta ST – a car that offers performance and kudos that the Vauxhall can only dream of.

Inside, the Adam Rocks gets Vauxhall’s Intellilink infotainment system, ambient lighting, heated front seats and rear parking sensors. Everything else, though, is taken from the regular Adam meaning room’s acceptable in the front, but cramped for back-seat passengers.

Just like in the normal Adam personalisation is key – Vauxhall reckons no two Adam models sold are completely identical. To really make the Adam your own there’s a choice of 18 upholstery variations and 20 different trim inserts. A cool option on the Rocks Unlimited model is the £325 Stars Illuminated headliner which uses 64 LEDs to mimic the night sky.

In terms of engine choice, you only get petrols – avoid the non-turbo versions and head straight for the 1.4-litre with 148hp or the 1.0-litre with 113hp. Both are gutsy and won’t break the bank when it comes to running costs, just don’t expect them to be particularly fast.

To differentiate it from any old Adam, the Rocks gets large 17-inch alloy wheels, rugged black plastic bumpers, LED rear lights and silver-coloured skid plates.

Ride quality isn’t class-leading on the regular Adam’s 16-inch alloy wheels and the Rocks with its standard 17-inch wheels bounces around a bit more.

It isn’t a byword for great handling, either, and the jacked-up suspension gives you a little less confidence behind the wheel and the Mini remains the go-to choice for driving fun,

Vauxhall tells us that this softer suspension reflects the rugged spirit of the car, but the lack of four-wheel drive means that the jacked-up Adam is more suited to the urban jungle than the rocks that its name would suggest. Stick to busy city streets, though, and you’ll soon begin to enjoy the Adam’s light controls, slick gearbox and tight steering circle.

The all-petrol range kicks off with a gutless 69hp 1.2-litre that takes a glacial 14.9 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill and should be quickly dismissed – along with the 87hp 1.4-litre – in favour of the newly developed turbocharged 113hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder. It not only cuts the acceleration time by five seconds but also uses less fuel returning 58mpg compared to the 1.2’s 53mpg figure.

Only available in the expensive Adam Rocks S is the turbocharged version of the 1.4-litre. It produces 150hp for spirited acceleration of 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. That would be fine were the Ford Fiesta ST not both quicker (0-62mph takes just 6.9 seconds) and cheaper.

The regular Adam is fairly well-equipped, with air-con, digital radio, electric windows and alloy wheels, all coming as standard. To the list, the Rocks adds cruise control, Vauxhall’s OnStar safety system, that exterior cladding and tinted rear windows.

Vauxhall Adam Rocks Unlimited

The Adam Rocks Unlimited trim is new to the range. It improves personalisation opportunities further by adding a selection of new body and roof paint colours. Inside it comes with cruise control and an electrically operated folding canvas roof.

Vauxhall Adam Rocks S

Marketed as a sporty supermini with the ruggedness of a crossover, the Rocks S comes with huge 18-inch alloy wheels, painted brake calipers and sporty front and rear bumpers. Inside, there are metal pedals, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control and a folding fabric roof.