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Motors: The Opel Adam just keeps on rocking

At a time when so many small cars look the same, Opel launch one which looks nothing like the rest. Rivalling the Mini and the Fiat 500, the Adam Rocks is not a car which invites indifference.

Tough-looking, with off-roader-style bumpers, plastic cladding and a choice of 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels, the rugged good looks of the Adam Rocks are superficial to the core. With no optional four-wheel drive, it is a city crossover designed to negotiate urban obstacles only. It also sits higher off the road than the standard Adam and comes with a full-length electric, folding canvas roof.

The bold interior perfectly complements the striking exterior design and the high roof gives plenty of headroom but room in the rear is particularly tight, so it is best suited for kids or very short friends!

Underneath the bonnet is a very impressive turbo-charged 1.0-litre petrol engine. It is surprisingly fast, very lively and extremely refined; you will barely hear it when the car is idling. Despite being a three-cylinder engine there is 115 bhp and a substantial 170 Nm of torque to it give plenty of punch - it goes to 100 in 9.9 seconds and onto a 196 kmh top speed. There is also a slick, precise six-speed gearbox. Average fuel economy is impressive too and the Rocks returns 5.1 litres per 100km with CO2 emissions of 119 g/km, so its €200 a year to tax.

In terms of ride, handling and comfort the Rocks is so much better than the standard Adam. It may not have the driving dynamics of a Mini but handles with a reassuring finesse and predictability and the suspension soaks up bumps.

Similar to the Fiat 500C the electrically operated canvas roof is more of a decent sunroof that can be operated at speeds of up to 140km/h; it also doesn't reduce boot capacity or visibility. However, things in the back are seriously cramped and the 170-litre boot is very small, with a high loading lip and narrow load bay that limits the amount you can carry. That said, the rear seats do fold for accommodating bulkier items. At €18,995 it's hard to ignore the high list price, especially once some options have been added.

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Funky: Geraldine Herbert with the new urban crossover from Opel. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Funky: Geraldine Herbert with the new urban crossover from Opel. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Funky: Geraldine Herbert with the new urban crossover from Opel. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Image is what this car is all about and this fashion statement is clearly aimed at the generation of urbanites who want to stand out from the crowd. The list price is high, room in the back is tight and the boot is minuscule but singletons will relish its individuality, and fitted with a very impressive one-litre turbo engine it is good fun to drive. It won't be to everyone's taste but Opel may have finally delivered an Adam that truly Rocks.

Sunday Independent