f a guy goes by the name of Tiny, he’s rarely small. Chances are he’s a mountain with a surname like Coetzee and arms like gumtree trunks. A bit like a Mini.
Its name denotes minuteness, but the marque has spawned hippopotamuses such as the Mini Paceman, Countryman and, as they call it, the fivedoor hatch. Heck, they even insist we write it MINI, even though it’s not an acronym.
The Mini, once the most desired car in Mzansi, has become too grown up.
Mini’s departure to sleepy suburbia, where Golfs and Beemers roam, left a void for the Fiat 500, Citroën DS3 and Opel Adam.
These trendies are often called boutique hatchbacks and, although small, they are well equipped, luxurious and solidly built, while rocking avant-garde or retro designs.
Suzuki Celerios or Chevy Sparks these ain’t.
The top-dog Adam Rocks 1.0T that I drove sets itself apart from its more affordable kin with the following embellishments: Firstly, a sliding canvas roof for semi-naked motoring. Secondly, it has fatter wheels framed by plastic arches and a few millimetres more ground clearance, giving it that SUV look.
Finally, it’s R60 000 dearer than the similarly turbo-charged Adam Jam.
From Cape Town to Jozi the lively turbo engine, interior comfort and structural integrity of the Adam Rocks made light work of the 1 700km route I took. Not just that, it triggered a release of serotonin in my brain every time I walked towards it. However, the lowprofile tyres made the ride bouncy and the heat made the glorified sunroof useless and something that only contributed, though not much, to wind noise.
Luckily, I drove solo, because I had to fold the rear backrest flat to fit in my enormous suitcase.
The Adam does have room for Eve, but with so little room for Cain and Abel, a fight is guaranteed. And we all know how that ends.
Still, I was smitten. If my car budget were R220 000, instead of R140 000, I’d own an Adam Jam. It’s more youthful, compact and fun to drive than a Mini – and more attainable too.
It’s also better and cheaper than the Adam Rocks, and almost as sexy.
If the Adam is the antidote to conformity in the boutique hatchback class, then the Subaru Outback is its counterpart, waging a noble war in the SUV class, albeit
A WAY OF LIFE
The youthful, compact and fun-to-drive Opel Adam
RIDE IN COMFORT The Subaru Outback is refined and extremely safe, and offers a luxurious ride