/ Motoring

Vauxhall Adam: proof that too much choice is a bad thing?

Vauxhall Adam

I’ve just got back from the launch of Vauxhall’s Adam. Cuter than a Corsa, with elements of other superminis, it’s the brand’s first foray into‘fashion cars’. But what really sets the Adam apart is the number of optional extras.

With over a million (that’s right, a million) different combinations of trim levels, paint colours, wheels, engines, seat fabrics, graphics and other accessories, the odds of spotting two identical Adams are virtually nil.

The Adam is, without doubt, the most infinitely customisable car in history.

When choosing is a chore

The Adam appeals to a generation used to abundance of choice: on the supermarket shelves, on TV and online.

Options range from the useful – auto parking, integrated bicycle carrier, ‘infotainment’ system that syncs with your smartphone – to the plain bonkers. Try £325 for the ‘sky at night’ interior lining,which contains 64 white LEDs designed to look like stars.

You can also change the colour of the roof, door mirrors, dashboard, door panels, seats, floor mats and even individual alloy wheel spokes. But I just can’t be bothered. Frankly, trying to configure my own ‘personal’ Adam gives me a headache.

Opting out of options

Of course, the idea of being able to customise your car with myriad options is nothing new – Mini has earned a healthy profit from doing this for years. It’s quite possible to double the price of a basic Mini or Audi A1 with extras, and doubtless some customers do.

I prefer the Japanese and Korean way of doing things, though: a decent level of standard equipment and a few well-chosen trim levels. That way you don’t feel like a pauper for driving a base-spec car, and you don’t need to spend three days in the showroom agonising over colour samples.

There’s also less risk of creating a one-off ‘personalised’ car that nobody will want to buy in a few years’ time. Depreciation is usually the biggest cost when it comes to running a car, and decimating your Adam’s resale value with ‘Splat’ graphics and ‘Papa Don’t Peach’ paint (no, we’re not making this up) surely won’t help.

Maybe I just don’t ‘get’ the Adam. Maybe I’m not cool enough for so many optional extras. But there’s nothing less cool than trying too hard. And this car tried my patience.

What do you think about optional extras on cars?

It depends - as long as there aren't too many options (50%, 74 Votes)

They're silly - too many customisable options is a bad thing (31%, 45 Votes)

They're great - I like the freedom to customise my car (19%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 147

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NukeThemAll says:
7 November 2012

I’m all for maximum choice if I were to buy a new car, rather than accept the Marketing Department’s diktat of what each trim level should offer (often as incentive to trade up). For example, I don’t want built-in satnav: the rental cars I’ve driven with such systems show that they’re pretty hopeless compared to the performance and flexibility of a standalone device or smartphone app. I might readily forego electric rear windows (normally just 1 or 2 people in our car), front fog lights (modern headlights are pretty good at beam cut-off), very low-profile tyres (compromised ride quality and expensive to replace, easier to ‘kerb’ the wheels) and leather seats etc. But I would like a DAB radio, cruise control, climate control, folding door mirrors……

Some manufacturers seem to get the trim level specifications and degree of ‘optioneering’ pretty much OK, but looking at car specs recently it’s very rare that I could get exactly what I require, no more, no less. Virtually all mainstream cars are made on computer-controlled production lines, so I applaud the initiative to take advantage of the technology and maximise choice.

Do Vauxhall offer the option of a Vauxhall Eve, with lady drivers in mind?

I tried without success to find out if the Vauxhall Adam had the option of a full-size spare wheel since it seemed unlikely that this would be offered as standard.

Interestingly, Tim’s link about optional extras takes us to the Which? Conversation where some of us have bemoaned the loss of the full-size spare wheel and – with many cars – any spare wheel at all.

Wavechange, Vauxhall don’t provide a spare wheel on any of their cars currently on sale. They were one of the brands named on a TV documentary about the lack of spare wheels.

I’ve got to say, its an awful name for a car. And the amount of combinations on offer is just silly. I’d say its a marketing stunt to get people talking about the Adam.

Thanks. I am not surprised.

Perhaps the Adam is better named than the Nova, which unfortunately translates as ‘no go’ in Spanish.

MARTIN says:
18 June 2014