First Drive

First Drive: Vauxhall Mokka

The story:
The second generation of Vauxhall’s Mokka crossover introduces bold new styling and petrol, diesel or electric powertrains.
Category:Supermini SUV
Key rival:Nissan Juke
Vauxhall Mokka 1.2 auto Launch Edition
On sale:Now (deliveries April)

Sometimes an all-new version of an existing car is so different you wonder why the manufacturer didn’t also change the name. This is exactly the case with Vauxhall’s new Mokka supermini-SUV.

The all-new Mokka is based on the platform that parent company PSA Peugeot Citroen – now Stellantis – uses for all its superminis and supermini SUVs, and is the second Vauxhall to carry the new front-end styling which the brand calls Vizor. The first to carry the look was the facelifted Crossland which sits in the same sector as the Mokka, but is around £1700 cheaper despite being fractionally larger.

The new styling looks classy, sharp and neat on the new Mokka, even if it does tend to hide the Vauxhall Griffin badge at the front – particularly if you opt for the matt-black option.

The Mokka is available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines and as a full EV.

There are two 1.2-litre petrols, with either 100hp or 130hp, although only the higher-powered version has the option of the eight-speed auto tested here. The diesel is a 110hp 1.5-litre engine coupled to a six-speed manual. CO2 figures start from 114g/km for the diesel and 125g/km for the petrols. At this level the petrol would sit in the 29% company car tax band and the diesel in the 26% band for 2021/22.

Powering the full-electric Mokka-e, is a 130hp motor linked to a 50kWh battery which has a WLTP official range of 201 miles.

Trim levels run from SE, through best-selling SRi then SRi Premium, Elite, Elite Premium and on to Ultimate. There’s also an initial run of well-appointed Launch Edition cars. All versions from SRi Premium up include sat-nav. Prices range from £20,735 to £29,685 for the petrols and diesel while the EV is £34,970 after the Plug-in Car Grant.

Inside, you’ll find a twin-screen dashboard, with one for the main instruments and a second for the infotainment system.

Both are clear and bright, but the software is slow to respond and the menu system isn’t as intuitive as those in many rivals. Want to mute the sat-nav? That’ll be a five-step procedure from the main nav screen, and six if you’re elsewhere. Fortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

That sluggish approach to systems runs to other areas of the car; the start button needs a three-second hold before the car wakes up, and the gearshift paddles in the auto don’t like being rushed.

The 130hp petrol Mokka is sprightly enough, but it’s noisy when worked a bit harder, partly due to fake, piped-in exhaust noise. There’s a fair amount of vibration that also makes its way through to the driver via the steering wheel, but drive gently and that’s less of an issue.

The bigger issue is jiggly suspension that never allows the car to settle. If the car offered more fun, this poor comfort would be forgiven, but it doesn’t.

Interestingly, the heavier EV version feels far more settled in this respect and would be the pick of the Mokka range for company car drivers.

paul barker

The verdict

A stylish and well-honed option, but it’s the EV that really appeals, offering something that isn’t available elsewhere.