Vauxhall Mokka review
The Vauxhall Mokka is a spacous but compact crossover with chunky off-roader looks
The Vauxhall Mokka crossover is the company's answer to the Skoda Yeti, Nissan Juke and Kia Sportage crossovers, offering the chunky looks and practicality of an SUV with the low running costs of a hatchback. The Vauxhall Mokka is about halfway between the Yeti and the Juke in size, and the raised ride height, big plastic bumpers and high bonnet give it a 4x4 look - even though it's actually quite a small car. The entry-level model uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, but we recommend moving up the range to the efficient 1.7-litre diesel - though there is also a 1.4-litre turbo petrol for those who only drive short distances. Three specifications are available for the Vauxhall Mokka: Exclusiv, Tech Line and SE. The Tech Line model is very well equipped, with sat-nav and reversion sensors as standard, so it appeals to company car buyers looking to cut down on the optional extras they need. You can also get the Mokka in four-wheel drive, although it's hardly an off-roader. The biggest problem with the Vauxhall Mokka is its price - it's more expensive than its main rivals and it's just not as good to drive.
Our choice: Mokka Tech Line 1.7 CDTi ECOflex start/stop 2WD
The Vauxhall Mokka crossover takes some of its styling from the Corsa and Astra hatchbacks, the same headlight design and a familiar family resemblance throughout. However the Mokka's big, chunky plastic bumpers and cladding around the wheelarches, as well as the roof rails and front and rear skid plates, make it stand out from the crowd much more than the hatchbacks. It's a bit of a halfway house between the Skoda Yeti and the Nissan Juke. It sits between them in size, but also in style; it's not as funky as the Juke, but some will prefer it to the less flashy Yeti. The Vauxhall Mokka interior is very similar to that of the Astra, as the equipment inside is pretty much the same, but it does feel well made. There's good visibility from the high seating position and big door mirrors, and all cars come with parking sensors, air-conditioning, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, cruise control, audio controls on the steering wheel, Bluetooth and a digital radio. Top-spec SE cars also get luxuries like heated sports seats, Xenon headlights, a heated steering wheel and privacy glass.
The biggest-selling engine in the Mokka range is expected to be the 1.7-litre diesel engine with 128bhp, and that's the one we'd go for, too. The engine has plenty of torque, so overtaking on the motorway is easy and it's fairly economical, but it can be quite noisy and it doesn't match the excellent diesels available in the Skoda Yeti. The petrol engines are only really worth looking at if you will only be driving short distances (as we don't recommend diesel engines for people who do this). The 1.6-litre engine is really underpowered and struggles up hills, and the more powerful 1.4-litre turbo is too noisy when pushed. Early versions of the Vauxhall Mokka were slated for poor ride and handling, but thanks to an update recently each engine variant now gets its own bespoke suspension set up and, although it's still firm, improved damping means it no longer thumps over potholes. The steering is decently weighted now too, which makes the Mokka much better to drive than it was, but the Skoda Yeti and VW Tiguan still beat it when it comes to comfort.
The Vauxhall Mokka got the full five stars from the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, getting an excellent 95 per cent for adult occupant protection and 100 per cent in the safety assist category. All Vauxhall Mokka models get ESP, seatbelt reminders, Isofix child seat fittings and a full suite of airbags fitted as standard. Vauxhall didn't do too well in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, however, with the company finishing 26th out of 32 in the manufacturer's rankings. The Mokka didn't appear on the survey, but all of the engines are in use in other models and should prove to be fairly trouble-free. The interior feels well made and should stand up to family life, but some aspects - like the seat material - feel like they could wear out with heavy use. You get a 100,000-mile warranty with all new Vauxhalls, so there will be some peace of mind there (but only for the first owner).
Although the Vauxhall Mokka is based on the same platform as the Corsa hatchback, it does offer a lot more interior space. The Mokka is comparable in size to the Nissan Qashqai, and there's plenty of room to seat five adults inside without complaints about headroom. There's plenty of interior storage space, and the boot is one of the biggest in its class. Its 356-litre boot beats the Nissan Juke and MINI Countryman, which have just 251 and 350 litres respectively. Larger rivals like the Yeti and Qashqai offer 416 and 410 litres, though, despite being comparatively priced. You can expand the boot to 1,372 litres by folding the rear seats down, while the wide and low opening makes loading luggage simpler. Flipping the seat bases over is easy too, thanks to some handy nylon tabs. Plus, there’s an integrated bike carrier that pops out of the rear bumper - a nice touch. Traction and stability control are fitted as standard to the Mokka, plus Hill Start Assist, which prevents the car from rolling backwards on a slope and Hill Descent Control, which allows it to drive down steep slopes at a controlled speed. You can get the car in four-wheel drive, but it's not worth considering if you need a proper off-roader.
The best engine to go for in the Vauxhall Mokka is the 1.7-litre diesel, which gets 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 120g/km when fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. Opting for four-wheel drive pushes this up to 129g/km, which doesn't affect how much you'll pay in road tax but does push it up one benefit-in-kind bracket for company car buyers. Go for the automatic gearbox and the figures drop to 53.3mpg and 139g/km, as only the manual models come with a fuel-saving stop-start system. The petrol models will cost a lot more to run, with the 1.4-litre petrol returning 44.1mpg and emitting 149g/km. Avoid the 1.6-litre petrol in base models as it gets just 43.5mpg and 153g/km - and it can only be fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox that feels dated compared to the new six-speed ones. Servicing shouldn't be too much of a problem, though, as it gets a 100,000-mile warranty as standard.