Vauxhall Mokka review

Our Rating: 
2012 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Vauxhall Mokka is a good-looking crossover with plenty of standard kit

Spacious interior, decent equipment, low emissions
Noisy engines, high price, uncomfortable suspension

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It feels like decades since the crossover first landed on UK soil, with almost every manufacturer flogging at least one small SUV in their range. Vauxhall is no exception, with its compact Vauxhall Mokka consistently proving one of the brand’s most popular models.

It is aimed at cars like the fast-selling Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and newly-introduced Citroen C4 Cactus. It looks good, has a decent quality interior – and is even available with four-wheel drive. There’s a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as a choice of three different speciations – Exclusiv, Tech Line and SE.

Best crossovers on the market

At launch, the Mokka was let down by a range of old engines but things improved greatly with the arrival of a 1.4-litre turbo petrol unit. Vauxhall has recently added a new 1.6-litre CDTi whisper diesel to the range which replaces the old 1.7 diesel, while the original 1.6-litre petrol remains on still offered. 

All cars come generously equipped, but we’d be tempted to splash out on the mid-spec Tech Line, which builds on the Exclusiv but adds sat-nav. We’d opt for one of the standard front-wheel drive models too, because the 4x4 versions increase running costs without any real off-road benefit.

Our choice: Mokka Tech Line 1.6 CDTi ECOflex start/stop 2WD

Engines, performance and drive


There’s a good range of petrol and diesel engines, with a new 1.6-litre CDTi added in 2015. All the diesels offer plenty of torque, so overtaking on the motorway is easy, while the petrols are nice and quiet around town.

That said, we’d only recommend looking at the petrols if you will only be driving short distances (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.

Vauxhall Mokka whisper diesel rear action

The Mokka’s relaxed nature is most evident through corners. While the electrically assisted steering is quick and precise, there’s very little feedback. And where the Skoda Yeti grips hard, the Vauxhall starts to slide wide. That’s not our only criticism, because as with the Qashqai, the Mokka suffers from a lot of body roll.

On the plus side, the soft suspension set-up results in a supple ride, which combines with the refined engine and low levels of wind and road noise to make the car a decent long-distance cruiser.

Unfortunately, the Vauxhall is less accomplished around town. While its controls are light and progressive, the thick A-pillars create large blind spots at junctions and roundabouts, while the small rear window limits rearward visibility. At least standard front and rear parking sensors take some of the guesswork out of parking.

MPG, CO2 and running costs


The most economical Vauxhall Mokka is the 134bhp 1.6-litre CDTi ecoFLEX diesel. It beats the old 1.7-litre for fuel economy and CO2 emissions, posting figures of 68.9 and 109g/km – compared to 62.8mpg and 120g/km. Opting for four-wheel drive pushes this up to 124g/km, meaning you’ll pay slightly more road tax, while opting for the automatic is worse still – at 134g/km. 

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. 

The main concern for private buyers will be the weak residuals – our experts predict it will retain just 40.2 per cent of its value after three years.

Interior, design and technology


The Mokka’s eye-catching bodywork strikes a balance between the rugged looks of the Skoda Yeti and more grown-up Nissan Qashqai. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of tough-looking plastic body cladding and underbody skidplates, while the raised ride height completes the off-roader looks.

Elsewhere, you get a bold chrome front grille, large, swept-back headlamps and muscular, pumped-up wheelarches. All models get 18-inch alloy wheels, electrically-folding door mirrors and all-round parking sensors.

The Mokka aims to rival premium brands for quality and upmarket appeal inside. There are plenty of soft-touch plastics and the finish is excellent. And while the array of buttons used for the infotainment system appears confusing at first, it all quickly becomes second nature – although the satin-finish switches soon show up finger marks.

Neat touches include the chrome on the instrument surrounds and the gloss grey panel running across the attractively designed dash and into the door trims. There’s plenty of kit, too, with Exclusiv models getting a DAB radio, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and Bluetooth.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


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.

Vauxhall Mokka whisper diesel boot

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.

Reliability and Safety


Euro NCAP gave the crossover a five-star crash test rating, which included a 100 per cent safety assist score. Six airbags, stability control and adaptive brake lights are standard, while the cruise control system features a speed limiter function. For £750 you can add the Forward Camera Pack, comprising lane departure warning, a forward collision warning system and traffic sign recognition.

Vauxhall doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability and quality, but in recent years its cars have clawed their way up the results tables in our Driver Power satisfaction surveys. The dinky Adam city car finished a very respectable 23rd in our 2014 results, and the Mokka wasn’t far behind in 29th.  Unfortunately, the company finished 29th out of 33 manufacturers overall – so there’s still some way to go.

Disqus - noscript

Some of us don't expect our suv to perform like a ferarri
Having had a test drive, i could not disagree more with your review.
Can we have someone other than a boy racer reviewing this car. my score 4.5 overall

Another in the deluge of SUVs
I think Mokka looks nice and should be more practical in terms of passenger and luggage space. Better than the radically styled Juke. Engine line-up does not seem impressive. Neither powerful, not particularly clean. But most of these tried and trusted engines may just be adequate to haul this car around.

My husband and I have been looking for a while for cars and this took us completly by surprise. We test drove the 1.6 petrol and hubby loved it, very spacious and yet still designed not to be a hairdressers car. We both wanted something we would both like to drive yet that was not a tank.
People are rating the diesel but are they taking into account that all diesel cars, now have to do at least 20,000 miles a year as the new convertors inbuilt in them need to burn off the rubbish in the diesel after set temp. (by the way the cost of replacement for this convertor if you do not cover the miles as they do break and block is around est £1800 ouch!)
Also Mokka does not come with a spare tyre - you are best to buy one on the day as its a third of the price, of course they do supply you with the flat foam but that is it. Best to look into.
Another thing to watch out for is if you would like to buy the cameras for the frount and rear of the car you would also have to buy the inbuilt GPS as they need the screen for the cameras to work.
Other then that we loved the car and could not disagree with the review.

Diesel particulate filters.
Dual mass fly-wheels.

And you people are still recommending diesels??

Why, oh why are all these "mini SUV's" so appallingly ugly? Were the stylists hungover on the day they produced this and the horrid Nissan Joke??

And it's Eurojunk!

I don't believe anyone who buys these cars cares about driving. engines, steering or ride comfort or anything else except possibly the price of diesel, the tax disc price and possibly the price of a service...why waste your time? Best you can say is if you like the look of it then but it.

what's with all the negativity in a few of the comments? I drove one of these yesterday and was more than surprised. Handles well, comfortable. I cant understand come of the comments 'Eurojunk' etc. how does that help anyone. People come on here to get a review and perhaps some feedback from people who have driven or own said vehicles. Why even bother commenting if it adds nothing to the review.

I enjoyed the drive in the car - the 1.7D I drove is much, much quieter that the VW 1.9tdi that I own. The wheels are enormous 18" (thinking of replacing these in your overall running costs), the steering gave good feedback which I enjoyed. This appears to me like a really good value car with lots of space and toys for the driver. I would like to own one! (warranty seems great too!)

Vauxhall Mokka is much nicer than Nissan Juke or Chevrolet Trax.

It looks as ugly in the flesh as it does in the pictures. Not for me at all.

what do you mean? It's made in Korea so If it's eurojunk because its sold in Eurpoe then that is a real foolish remark

It's not where a car is made but to the standard it's made to. My Toyota is made in France. Doesn't make it a French car, thank goodness.


I bought the Chevrolet Trax 1.7 diesel LT. This was my first SUV and whilst Vauxhall and Chevrolet are both manufactured by General Motors, I believe the Chevrolet is a better looker with its more robust looks. I also had the special white paint finish.
So potential buyers don't go for the the other makes - they are far to common, try the Chevvy - you will not be disappointed.
Arthur Fox - Lincoln

Absolutely FIRST CLASS! Wife's car & she loves it. I drive a 2012 BMW 320 M Sport Convertible, but often leave that at home & take the Mokka. Superb little 4x4. Very well equipped & fantastic fuel economy. Average around town is 58 to 63 mpg. I would highly recommend this car. FAR, FAR superior to the wife's previous MINI Countryman All 4. Everything about the Mokka blasts the Countryman out of sight, especially as that was giving around 32 to 38 mpg. - Both Diesels - We would NEVER buy another Mini (Had 3 from new) Poor build quality & extremely expensive. Might have BMW name, but poor in comparison. Only problem with Mokka has been warped front discs. Happened 5 months from new, then a further 5 months, but ok as done on Warranty.

Last updated: 25 Feb, 2015