“Where do I sign?” Certain cars will be bought without the buyer even requesting a test drive. This is obviously against all advice given by a consumer motoring title like CAR, but I expect that the Adam Rocks might be one of those vehicles. The reason? Well just look at it.
How does it differ from the standard Adam?
Whereas the standard Adam already possesses a cute factor, the Rocks take the styling to the next level. Opel refers to it as a Cross Utility Vehicle (CUV), playing on the fact that it approaches the crossover segment with such features as a slightly raised ride height (15 mm) and black plastic trim that runs over the wheel arches and under the sills and bumpers. Other changes over the standard Adam include a sliding canvas roof, 18-inch alloys and front and rear skid plates. All in all it is quite a stylish treatment that gives the Adam a more purposeful appearance.
The ability to stamp your own mark on your car is probably one of the biggest drawcards of a boutique vehicle, and the Rocks is no exception.Like its standard sibling, the Rocks is offered with myriad personalisation options, incorporate numerous exterior and interior details.
Simply put, the Adam’s dinky dimensions (30 mm shorter than a Corsa) don’t make for a practically packaged car. But appearances can be deceptive. The cabin is wide enough to ensure that you’re not rubbing knees and shoulders with your front passenger, the windscreen is some distance away and you sit close to the rear axle. Combine these traits with a high roof and the Rocks’ cabin feels considerably roomier than you’d expect. Turn around, however, and you’ll notice that there’s virtually no legroom for the second row passengers – this was especially the case with my 1,94 m frame posted up front. It is best then to view it as a 2+2 vehicle with a rear bench for short hops or accommodating overflow luggage from the minuscule boot.
The interior lifts numerous cues from the standard Adam, and to some degree the new Corsa, which is a good thing. Fit and finish is excellent and soft-touch materials are effectively applied in most of the contact points. The touchscreen infotainment system is neat and it is easy to find a comfortable driving position owing to reach and rake adjustment on the steering column and height adjustment on the seat. From the driver’s seat the Rocks does not feel any higher than the standard Adam, so that 15 mm raised ride height can be viewed as largely academic.
How does it go?
The Rocks is powered by a 1,0-litre, three cylinder, turbopetrol engine developing 85 kW and 170 N.m. Having sampled this unit before in the standard Adam and new Corsa, I was looking forward to some peppy performance to go with the extrovert styling. Maybe the sweltering day in Jo’burg (36 degrees Celsius) plus the altitude (not such an issue with a turbo engine) sapped some power as the performance was merely adequate. There is some lag present on pull-away and the engine needs to be worked hard to execute a safe overtaking manoeuvre. It is, however, suited to driving round-town, where the Rocks will probably spend most of its time.
The ride is comfortable and well-damped which imparts the feeling that you’re actually driving a larger vehicle. This impression is furthered by the car’s good sound-insulation qualities. The Rocks’ suspension only gets caught out when pushing on over broken surfaces, as the short wheel-base struggles to cope with the onslaught of bumps in succession.
The Adam Rocks has a full array of safety systems including six airbags, electronic stability control and LED daytime running lamps. Also included in the package are advanced park assist (autonomous parking) and a blind spot assist system that illuminates a lamp in the side mirror when another vehicle is approaching from behind.
Should you buy one?
At R273 400 the Rocks is a pricey piece of kit, especially if you calculate what your money gets you in terms of size and practicality. But if styling, niche market appeal and feel-good factor sit higher on your list of priorities, then the Rocks will fit the bill perfectly… You will have to be quick though, as only 150 examples will be brought to South Africa.