And now for something completely different. Ryan Bubear samples the Opel Adam Rocks 1.0T...
Uniqueness. It's not a quality often found in the modern motorcar.
Virtually every four-wheeled vehicle out there, after all, has some sort of direct, usually tediously similar competitor. And if it doesn't, there's surely one on the way.
The Opel Adam, however, plays in a distinctly niche segment. Yes, this delightfully different boutique super-mini takes on the likes of the MINI Hatch, Fiat 500, Audi A1, and Citroën DS3, and thus targets a relatively small audience.
Yet it's certainly found favour among this particular group of buyers, with well over 1000 units sold in its first year on the local market, allowing it to keep pace with and often even outstrip the established favourites on a monthly basis.
This particular addition to the local Adam fold, however, is even more niche. Yes, the limited edition Opel Adam Rocks takes all the eccentricities of the standard three-door hatch and adds raised suspension, crossover-style plastic body-cladding, faux-skid-plates front and rear, and a canvas roof.
Essentially, the Adam Rocks is a mini-crossover with the ability to deliver pseudo-open-top motoring. And, for now at least, there's nothing else quite like it.
However, the canvas top essentially functions as a large sunroof, which means it can't quite serve up the full wind-in-your-hair and bugs-in-your-teeth cabriolet experience. And the ride height has been increased by just 15mm, which doesn't give the Adam Rocks any more off-road ability than the standard hatchback.
But, as we so often say, the full-bore drop-top experience isn't all it's cracked up to be. And the subtly raised suspension does at least bring about a noticeable improvement in the vehicle's low-speed ride, as well as a smidgen more in the way of visibility.
Based on the previously range-topping Adam Glam (with a price premium currently sitting at around R40k), the Rocks derivative comes standard with plenty of big-car kit, including climate control, cruise control, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a multifunctional steering wheel, and parking assistance.
There's also blind-spot alert (handy since the C-pillar design creates a bit of a visual obstruction), automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors front and rear, and six airbags. This model furthermore gains a set of 18-inch alloys (the Glam rides on 17s as standard) and a posh sound system.
It shares the Glam's peppy 1.0-litre turbo triple, too, which provides the front wheels with 85kW between 5000rpm and 6000rpm and 170Nm from 1800rpm through to 4500rpm via an entirely agreeable six-speed manual transmission. The little Rocks thus pulls well through the gears, hitting three figures in 9.9 seconds and more than just holding its own in the demanding depths of the urban jungle. All with a charming three-pot thrum.
The Rüsselsheim-based automaker claims a combined fuel consumption of 5.0 litres per 100km, but our final figure sat at 7.4 (somewhat higher than the 6.7 litres per 100km we achieved in the Adam Jam). The steering, meanwhile, is light but accurate, and a "City Mode" is included for those who desire even more assistance for delicate low-speed manoeuvres.
Take note, however, that the three-door Opel Adam Rocks isn't the most practical thing around. The rear bench is cramped at best, and passengers who do manage to squeeze in back there will have to make do with fixed windows. The boot, meanwhile, is absolutely tiny (at 170 litres, it's no better than that of a Chevrolet Spark) and doesn't even house a spare wheel. And, as has strangely become the norm in modern Opel products, a driver's footrest is lacking.
But, overall, the Opel Adam Rocks is a fresh take on an already rather competent yet captivating vehicle. It may be the answer to a question nobody asked, but such is its charm and talent that we expect all 150 units allocated to South Africa to easily find happy homes.
Being unique in today's market has become, after all, rather usual...
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See page two for specs and pricing.