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Opel Adam vs Fiat 500 vs Audi A1 vs Mini Cooper vs Citroen DS 3

Opel Adam, with tiny punch 1.0 l engine

Opel Adam, with tiny punch 1.0 l engine

At the offset, the new Opel Adam may not cause too much of a fuss. It is small, cute and quirky, and in the first instance, people are not exactly sure what it is and who makes it. We had the little run around at our office over 3 days, and often people would comment that this car is very similar if not exactly the same at the Fiat 500. So yes, maybe in the looks department, this little car is very similar in being trendy and stylish – but that is exactly where the similarities end. It has a very cute interior design. Then again, the fiat 500, and Mini both do too. The Audi A1 is the most conservative of the super-mini hatch segment, and this is typical of the Audi brand. If you have seen one, you have seen them all. From far the Opel Adam is small – cute and fun. With regards to the interior space; I managed to fit behind my partner who drove during our launch test drive and I had decent leg room – with the cut outs made in the back of the driver and front passenger seat – to accommodate all your girlfriends sitting in the back on your night out. The Mini Cooper, and Audi A1 seem more roomy inside than the Fiat , DS3 and the Adam. The boot space is huge in the Audi, and gets smaller with the Citroen, then the Adam and smaller still with the minute Fiat 500. Overall in terms of space, I like the Audi – but it is super boring inside – so here the Mini Cooper would have to win – in terms of perception of space and feeling of all the switches and knobs. It all feels solid. The Opel Adam is built well, with great trim levels for the price bracket – but the Mini still has a better design team I think!

Audi A1 2nd hand- in the price range of a new Opel Adam

Audi A1 2nd hand- in the price range of a new Opel Adam

Practicality in terms of this car segment, you are looking at very well heeled, single folk, who live in the inner city. This typifies a lot of the Mini Cooper market, and I think that they should be a little worried about Opel potentially selling 1000 cars a month. When you drive the Mini and you drive the Adam, the Adam feels a lot more zippy for a lot less bucks. I will get to the ROI later, and what I think about in terms of benefits, I just think out of all 5 cars, the little Adam wins in terms of features and everyday practicality. As mentioned in previous blogs, my everyday run around is a 320D (F30) from BMW , which pushes our 130KW, but even with a 1 litre engine in the zippy Adam, I would be really happy driving the tubro-charged Opel all day long. I do a lot of in town driving, heading to meetings, and in and out of traffic all day from the highway to urban Johannesburg. I would be more than happy with 6.0 l/100 kms we averaged over 3 days, especially in town with my heavy right foot. There are many more dealerships from GMSA than the 3 on offer with the Citroen DS3. There is a good spread of Audi dealerships, and Mini Cooper sub-dealers under the BMW SA brand in our test area. This is always a key factor when considering a car, especially when you need your car serviced quickly – and as close as possible to where you live and work. _J7D1390 _J7D1318 _J7D1336 _J7D2229

DS 3 Interior

DS 3 Interior

Citroen DS 3 Interior

Citroen DS 3 Interior

Citroen Rivonia  - Brand New Sales Guy - who is amazingly helpful

Citroen Rivonia – Brand New Sales Guy – who is amazingly helpful

Stylish DS 3 interior - feels premium inside

Stylish DS 3 interior – feels premium inside

Citroen DS3 Rear View

Citroen DS3 Rear View

Citroen DS3

Citroen DS3

Audi A1 2nd hand- in the price range of a new Opel Adam

Audi A1 2nd hand- in the price range of a new Opel Adam

Spacious Boot - biggest in all the cars we tested

Spacious Boot – biggest in all the cars we tested

Arnold Chatz Cars, on Jan Smuts, just passed Hyde Park Shopping Centre

Arnold Chatz Cars, on Jan Smuts, just past Hyde Park Shopping Centre

Fiat 500 interior- nice seats, but plastic bits felt less than great

Fiat 500 interior- nice seats, but plastic bits felt less than great

Cute Fiat 500

Cute Fiat 500

Price vs Benefits: Nearly all the cars have the bells and whistles you need as standard. This includes airbags, good air-conditioning and Bluetooth – which is critical to being safe while driving in this very connected drive era. They all have pretty decent build quality – although I personally felt the Fiat 500 – needed to up its game a bit in the interior. I felt the other cars possessed superior build quality. The Audi again leading the pack, and the Opel Adam coming a close second. It is unfair though – as Audi is the more premium brand amongst all these cars. I looked at cars in the R 230 000 used and new market – to benchmark that against the Adam, and for a brand new car – with the Opel Adam Glad spec – including park steering assist, front and rear PDC and integration to your smart phone via a touchscreen – the ADAM wins this category for value for money hands down. Remember, as mentioned in a previous blog, it is also made in Germany – and 6 months after this blog post we will give you more detail on service ratings on actual services and how the car has fared with Jozi city life. Customer Service: Oooohhh, my favourite topic of them all! I would rather die naked in a field, with vultures chewing on my already dry eyes – than get bad service. I am now going to mention names, and the winners and losers in each brand. I did not manage to get a test car from MINI – their Lyndhurst branch asked me to contact BMW SA. We did, but didn’t manage to get a car. I walked on their floor for 17 minutes before an icy cold Sales man entered – and when I mentioned the blog, he nearly walked away immediately. Citroen was nearly the same – one phone call, two visits – and it seemed like we would be okay. I had a sales person help me immediately at the Fourways branch- and that was within 1 minute of walking in. The Audi A1 I tested was at Investment Cars – the greatest feeling and most competent dealer in this entire exercise (thanks Mike Bruce!) . Although they are not Audi – I was helped in 2 minutes – test drive in under 30 minutes, with great a overall feel for my time spent there. This is an important point – you can buy a premium car – like the Audi, from any dealer, as long as you ensure the Freeway plan or Motorplan is transferred to your name before taking delivery. This will involve a 20 point check, or 120 point check – which the dealer should pay for before giving your car. Fiat was tested at Arnold Chatz Cars; met a great guy, Paolo – very warm, very enthusiastic and with Fiat for more than 20 years working at his dads dealership in Italy. We had no time to swop recipes – but perhaps one day we will watch Rugby at his dealership over a cold one! In terms of Opel we met with their launch activation team, and Fury Hyde Park sales team- both very willing to help, and it doesn’t take more than a minute to be spotted and offered assistance. Systems for ordering are not great, and there is no online software to configure cars – but there are many many cars coming in, so be patient. So in this category:

  1. Investment Cars first – 5/5
  2. Fiat – 4.5/5
  3. Citroen – 3/5
  4. Fury Hyde Park 3/5
  5. BMW Lyndhurst – 0/5

Drive: I enjoyed driving the Audi, Citroen and Opel Adam the most. The ride felt very good for such small cars – with equal levels of comfort inside and sure footed braking and steering. The Adam actually handled the bumps very well – and I loved the acceleration in all three. The Fiat 500 felt a little skippy, but was also great to drive. I just feel that people currently driving the Fiat, may have a need to be seen in a cool car, more than enjoy the drive. In this regard, the Adam may outsell all the cars mentioned for driver steering feel, handling and punchy turbo 1.0l and 1.4l engines. Safety as mentioned before – all cars have 6 airbags or more. In terms of the Euro NCAP ratings –purely because of the size, the Opel and Mini cars received near to 4 stars (2014 test), with the A1, DS3 and Fiat 500 receiving 5 stars – in 2010, 2009, and 2012 respectively. The size plays a part but also structural rigidity. Accidents happen daily, especially in Johannesburg with the condition of our roads and during thunder storms. Choosing the right car- is critical to your safety and the loved one you may buy this car for. Get your safety reports here: www.euroncap.com Euro NCAP stands for the European New Car Assessment Programme, and is meant to help standardise tests across EU member states with regards to vehicle safety. SA has no regulatory body of this sort – so I will use NCAP until we build our own safety testing authority in SA. Overall If you are single, or with a partner (maybe dog – no kids etc), this car would be great for you. The lack of back doors would exclude me testing these for single or married new mums. We are trying to present a balanced view of all the cars mentioned above. I can honestly say that I would personally buy the Adam – based on the aforementioned criteria. The Adam is truly a man for all seasons. It is a great little package, stylish and well priced – with loads of standard features for safety and convenience. We have 2 readers who have already placed orders on the car- based on their reading and communication with our blog. Ratings: –

  1. Adam – good value, lots of great standard features – good package all round – 1000 sales a month predicted
  2. Mini Cooper – great build quality, quite costly with extras – and only let down by staff
  3. Fiat 500 L – cute car, good safety rating – didn’t enjoy the drive/feeling entirely
  4. Audi A1 – excellent car, in the upper R 300 k `s new – depending on model – good dealer network
  5. Citroen DS 3 – great car, few dealerships- and possibly bad resale value based on demand

If you personally would like to get a car review done – email preston.wheatley@icloud.com or comment on the blog below. Our aim is to help you make the best choice, with relevant and up to date info. For more info call the dealers we tested with:

  1. Investment Cars (used Audi test) – 011 709 6300 – ask for Mike Bruce
  2. Arnold Chatz Cars ( Fiat 500 sport ) – 011 252 2000 – ask for Paolo Bertuzzi
  3. Citroen Rivonia ( Citroen DS 3) – 011 808 3950 – ask for Nick Roth
  4. Mini – Not sure who to recommend here….
  5. Fury Hyde Park (Opel Adam) – 011 501 3200 – anyone in their team can help – in under 5 mins!
    Funky Opel Adam at launch

    Funky Opel Adam at launch

    Funky Opel Adam at launch

    Funky Opel Adam at launch

    Opel Adam interior in deep purple

    Opel Adam interior in deep purple

    Vinyl used on Adam is from a local Cape Town Artist

    Vinyl used on Adam is from a local Cape Town Artist

    Adam at launch, showing self steering feature when parking

    Adam at launch, showing self steering feature when parking

    Adam at Melrose Arch Launch

    Adam at Melrose Arch Launch

10 comments on “Opel Adam vs Fiat 500 vs Citroen DS3 vs Mini Cooper vs Audi A1

  1. nadzpluto says:

    Nice article mate… Can you add in the Suzuki Swift Sport into this review?
    Around the same price range as well right…

    Like

    1. Hi Nadzpluto – thanks for the interest in the site thus far! If you can get us around 20 – 30 people following , that would like to see that kind of review – perhaps we can do a review on the Swift alone. We need to get to 5000 followers before we get any love from the major manufacturers. If you can help with that – via Facebook or Twitter – your swift will be done by the end of March.

      Like

  2. Morgan says:

    Having gone onto your site, I was basically able to make a more informed decision. I finally decided on the cars in that segment. I bought the Adam – and I love it! Thanks to the feedback read on your blog. I was not disappointed have had the car for over a week and am happy! Bought the Adam at Fury Hyde Park

    Like

    1. Thanks Morgan for the feedback! Great that you took our advice. Hope to ask you about the car and service in a few months, so stay in touch! Have a super week further!

      Like

  3. Marvin says:

    Love the blog.. Informative.. Great work

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Marvin. If you have any special requests let us know. Follow the blog and share with everyone who needs info on cars.

      Like

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi

    My heart is sad to read this. And I also feel as you have been at my dealer before and you could have asked me that you need a test drive for your article.

    Like

    1. BMW SA won’t allow us any test vehicles yet. We are working on this. I drive a 320 D and would love to engage more. The Mini test would be the same as any potential customer coming in to drive your cars. Imagine if your service was reviewed by a blog each time you took a client out on a test drive. Well that’s we are here for. How does ordinary joe soap get treated by dealerships when he walks in. The purpose of my blog is to improve customer service levels. I walked around for 20 minutes at Toyota next to you with no help. So don’t feel bad.

      Like

  5. AméKleynhans says:

    I am finding it really difficult to choose between the A1 and the Adam. Although the Adam is an awesome little car, it only comes in manual where the A1 comes in automatic. But the features that you get standard on the Adam are so much better. Is it worth it to sacrifice automatic for better features on a manual?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ame`. Thanks for visiting my humble little blog. That A1 and the Adam are both great cars, do it comes down to budget. The automatic option is something that really is personal, but needed if you are in Joburg. The traffic is always a key consideration. You will look cool and hip in either car, but you may have to replace your hip, if you drive daily on the N1, and get stuck at Midrand when ducks try to cross the road. So really, consider your budget first. Then consider comfort, depending how far you have to drive to work or play. Then consider the options. I drive an automatic since 2011, and i havent looked back. Whether that was for a Corolla or a BMW 3. You dont drive the extra`s, no matter how awesome they are.

      Like

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