IN the beginning, an entry-level car meant a cheap and frequently nasty car, but that's not the case with this particular Vauxhall Adam.
The sleek and slick three-door Adam Energised is aimed squarely at younger buyers and it has a big appeal for a small car.
Competitively priced and with the usual infotainment system you'd expect in a much more expensive model it also drives well.
The 1.2-litre engine is held back a bit by the lack of a sixth gear, but it nevertheless returned 53mpg without a problem although with some mechanical noise when cruising on the motorway.
I liked the pull away from rest and through the intermediate gears, the easy clutch and direct box made light work of urban driving and traffic.
The tight turning circle was welcome in town and it did not prove twitchy on country roads but was well weighted to give reasonable feedback and precision at higher speed.
There was little effort needed to affect a rapid deceleration under braking and the parking brake securely held the car on a test slope we use.
Secondary controls were mostly grouped around the column and on the spokes of the wheel and worked well and the instruments were clear if not calibrated in great detail. Warning lights backed up the functions and the Energised spec included computer, cruise control and selectable city-park steering as standard.
For driver and passengers the cabin was well ventilated and heated, the system being straightforward and effective with air conditioning as standard.
The access is excellent in the two front seats but slightly more difficult in the back of the three door body. Seats are cloth covered, the driver has height adjustment and all were comfortable and wrap-around in support infront.
A useful oddments specification meant you could put many small items inside for a family car and the bootspace was good from 170 litres to over 660 litres with the back seats dropped.
Room for occupants was slightly short in the back but probably ok for younger teenagers, and headroom was passable throughout. Adjustable legroom on the front pair of seats was good.
Visibility was truly excellent with thin roof pillars, low waistline, deep windows, good wipers both ends, and bright headlights.
For a 1,200cc engine the Adam Energised went well. It was smartly away from lights and so long as you correctly judged the required gear it would skip along at a good rate until you slipped into top and then it was more sedate.
However, it was economical and smooth, road holding was safe and handling was agile and surefooted.
Apart from the busy engine note on the motorway, the Adam was a quiet car with a low background noise from the suspension and tyres but no real wind or other mechanical noises.