HAVING overcome a bit of an identity crisis the Vauxhall Adam S is on its way to making a big impression in the warm-hatch sector of the city car market.
Vauxhall recently changed the name of its range-topping three-door model from Grand Slam to S to avoid confusion for customers with the Opel version sold in Europe - as S logos could still be seen on the British car's bodywork and in the interior.
That teething problem sorted the Adam S is going on to bigger and better things with customisation the order of the day as there are a head-spinning number of ways to make the car unique to you. This is in addition to the changes Vauxhall include on the S model to make it stand out from the standard Adam including a natty body kit and excellent brakes.
The exterior looks the part with body-colour front lower spoiler, side sills and rear lower skirt making their presence felt.
The red brake calipers and rear roof spoiler indicate this is a car that doesn't want to hang around when the traffic lights turn green.
A tuned chassis hugs the ground and, together with a firm suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels, the ride is firm. But providing you keep out of the many potholes littering our roads these days it's not uncomfortable.
Where the set up scores is in the sharp handling and superb cornering characteristics exhibited by the Adam S.
The steering is sharp and the car is nimble as a ballerina so more than able to handle the turbocharged version of Vauxhall's 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine residing under the bonnet.
The tweaked engine develops 150ps propelling the car to 62mph in 8.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 124mph. Power is sent to the front wheels via a reasonably slick six-speed manual transmission.
Official fuel economy is claimed by Vauxhall to average out at 47.9mpg with carbon dioxide emissions of 139g/km.
The cabin matches the exterior for snazziness thanks to little details such as the special floor mats while dark-tinted rear windows give a rock star feel to the car.
The optional Recaro sports seats up front are supportive and there is plenty of room, but space in the rear is tight - a fact that became clear when I gave a lift to two pals who had to shoe-horn themselves into the back seats. The space given is only really suitable for children and it was with some relief that the journey was a short one for my friends.
The 170-litre boot is pretty small as well although the rear seats can be easily folded over to create more room.
There are plenty of toys to play with including a CD player with USB facility and aux-in socket, digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel mounted audio controls and cruise control.
Safety is well catered for with six airbags and a tyre pressure monitoring system on the team.