Vauxhall Mokka

25 May, 2012 1:01am Luke Madden

We drive a prototype version of the new Vauxhall Mokka crossover ahead of its launch in October

Verdict

4
The Mokka is breaking new ground for Vauxhall, and it could prove to be a big hit. It offers practicality, chunky looks, off-road ability and impressive on-road dynamics, too. It doesn’t have the bold styling of the Nissan Juke, but feels more grown-up to drive and offers a level of practicality that should appeal to family buyers.
Small crossovers are big business, and Vauxhall is keen to make an impact in this booming sector with its newest model, the Mokka. It doesn’t arrive until October, but we got a chance to be the first outside Vauxhall to get behind the wheel of the new model and drive an early camouflaged prototype.

Vauxhall allowed us to try three Opel-badged pre-production cars: a 1.4 turbo, a naturally aspirated 1.6 and a 1.8-litre petrol model that isn’t coming to UK dealers. They weren’t quite the finished article, but we were promised that the driving dynamics were 95 per cent accurate.

Based on what we experienced, that’s a good thing. Most of the day was spent in the four-wheel-drive 1.4-litre turbo, and it had the best of the engines we tried, with 138bhp and plenty of pull, plus 45mpg economy.

The 1.6-litre petrol struggled to deal with the Mokka’s weight, and we were left changing down regularly to make it up hills.Unfortunately, the 1.7-litre diesel – certain to be a big seller in the UK – was unavailable for us to try.

One of the challenges for the development team was striking the right balance between ride comfort and handling. While some of the earlier prototypes tended to bounce up and down excessively, the most recent development car we tried was more settled over rough roads.

Bumps could still be felt, but the well judged suspension just took the edge off them. And Vauxhall has avoided opting for an overly soft set-up, so the Mokka still has bite in corners.

There’s not too much body roll and the newcomer feels agile. It’s definitely not as nimble as a Nissan Juke, but the Mokka feels more grown-up. With its larger boot and more spacious rear seats, it will undoubtedly prove a more popular family choice, too.

One of our few criticisms is of the steering, which felt a little inconsistent in its weighting on each of the prototypes. Vauxhall’s vehicle dynamics manager, Gerry Baker, told us that this problem will be addressed for UK cars.

The cabin has a pleasingly upmarket feel, with soft-touch plastics on the dash and plenty of smart and logically laid-out switchgear. Luxurious options such as heated seats, a heated steering wheel and full leather upholstery will also be offered.

When the Mokka arrives in dealers, it should cost from £14,500 – which positions it in between the Juke and the Qashqai. Based on our drive, this car will steal sales from both of Nissan’s crossover kings.

Disqus - noscript

Your first drive of the new V sounds promising. I would prefer to get this car for my wife over the Nissans. Let's hope the steering feel improves. I have to admit though that the equivalent Chevy looks a lot better. Will it drive better though?

Everyone knows Vauxhalls are sold at zillions %age discount but why oh why not just a little more care with design? [then maybe less discount?]
The front quarters look ever so vulnerable but that's as nothing compared with the totally unnecessary ugliness of the side mirror assembly.
WHY does this have to disfigure the door with a blob of black plastic when it could be rooted in the triangle of black plastic at the leading edge of the window assembly? So much more elegant or maybe Vauxhall reckons no one cares at their discounted prices?

@ cynicista
Totally agree with everything you mentioned, it is just so dull! I don't know where Vauxhall/Opel have got these boring achingly dull designs!! I had the latest Astra SRi last week (rent car) for a week, I couldn't wait to get rid of it! It really suprised me with the cheap interior plastic, the stupid shiny metal bits in there, the fiddly stereo.......... do I need to go on!

Too boring for my liking!

The Nissans may be fairly boring, but they are ultra reliable and mostly made in Britain mostly using British suppliers. I don't suppose that even the Vauxhall badge on this, let alone the nuts & bolts, will be made in Britain.

If you are going to buy a foreign car, there are better choices. Hyundai & Kia are probably leading the field with best bang per buck at the moment.

The problem with this vehicle is it LOOKS like a Vauxhall/Opel.
In this segment people want something that stands out to pose.

I agree the Chevrolet Trax is a much better looking car.
Last October I hired a Astra 1.6 petrol (new design) for our weeks holiday in Lanzarote. The engine struggled to move the 5 of us and I found the steering feel was absymal (as mentioned by AE testing the Mokka.) But I guess the Mokka being a vauxhall, it will be a big seller to the sheep like mentality here.

Was it intended to be called the Mocha or perhaps the (old) Mucker or even the Wotcha?

Looks like the drink from Starbucks has been thrown over the front bumper.

Bet Vauxhall and all the other copy cats thank Heavens for the Nissan designers who produced the Qashqai design. I have had a Qashqai (1.6 and 42mpg) for 4 years and it has been totally reliable and all who have been in it praise the comfort. Must say I don't like the Juke - just a little too much for the young female perhaps.

What percentage of Vauxhalls are fleet and what are private sales?
Same with Ford?
This can be the only way they sell in large numbers.

Is it just me or does it look like a Ford Kuga with a big grill?

Hollow laugh. How long did it take Opel to steal a Kuga and wreck it?

Frenchpress2 is dismissing the new model out of hand because he drove “a Vauxhall hire car” that didn't perform, which is not surprising in Lanza Grote.
Let me tell him, when my car was in for repair I was given a VW for a few days, which was abysmal, and I thought, if this is a VW, I don't want one.
I later went on to own three VW's and we all know how good they are, it is stupid and shows motoring ignorance to damn a whole brand, and a full range of models because of one hire car which was under performing for whatever reason.

I don't often post but have to say, if you like it fine if you don't fine, it's a free country.
Uniformed anecdotal comments like "my grandad once had a 1912 Vauxhall and it was rubbish compared to his Mondeo" are pointless drivel.
It ain't a Ford Kruger, or a Nissan Squashball, it is different, that is why we buy different cars - we have a choice - get it yet? Doh!

Key specs

* Price: £14,500 (est)
* Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
* Power: 138bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
* 0-62mph: 10 seconds (est)
* Top speed: 130mph (est)
* Economy: 45mpg (est)
* CO2: 145g/km (est)
* Equipment: Climate control, Bluetooth, electric windows, 
* On sale: October
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links