It’s Thursday so it must be time for a new small-SUV. On a more serious note, car makers have gone mad for little off-roaders in recent years because, well, that’s what buyers want.
Only last month Vauxhall itself launched a new version of its Crossland small SUV a car that’s only 6cm larger than the car it’s launching today the all-new Mokka. And that’s before you realise that Vauxhall is still selling the Crossland’s predecessor the Crossland X because it still has stock to get rid of.
With three supermini-sized SUVs where does the Mokka fit into the Vauxhall line-up? As the smallest yet most expensive of the three, the front-drive Mokka has a trump card to play; its looks.
Forget the old, slightly dumpy, Mokka which was dropped in 2019, the latest model is sharp and stylish. As is almost obligatory these days, multiple colours are available along with optional contrasting roof colour or bonnet colour. There’s even colours for the alloy wheels on some trim levels.
The boldest part of the new look Mokka is the front grille which is black no matter which body-colour you choose and gives the small-SUV a sportier look. And if you really want to your Mokka to look tough it’s possible to have a black Vauxhall badge, rather than standard silver-metallic, however at that point the badge almost disappears.
The stylish design is carried over to the interior with a twin, wrap-around screen setup for the driver’s instruments and the infotainment system. These elements to the dashboard have coloured surrounds with high-quality glossy plastics in the centre of the dash and down to the gearlever surround. Although in the automatic versions, the lever is more of a near-flush toggle switch.
The control screens are bright and easy to read. And while there are buttons for vital controls such as the climate control and drive modes, the menu system is taken directly from the parts bin of parent company Stellantis (which also owns Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and a host of other car brands). This means it’s slow to respond and confusing to operate. For instance, muting the satnav is a five-step process. Fortunately, Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard.
Sticking with the cabin, the front seats are excellent with a good long base and supporting sides to keep you comfy.
Space for rear seat passengers is okay. Rear legroom is really only enough for kids, but there’s plenty of headroom despite the illusion of a swooping roofline.
Move to the boot and there’s 350 litres of space which is plenty for a car in this class and it doesn’t decrease if you pick the fully-electric Mokka rather than one of the petrols or diesels. What is odd about the boot is the button to release the boot is not mounted on the boot lid, but just above the numberplate. So unless your car is spotless, you’ll get your hand muddy twice each time you open the boot – once when you release the boot, then again to lift it open.
Power for the Mokka comes from a choice of two petrols, a diesel and an electric motor.
There are two 1.2-litre petrols on offer with either 100bhp or 130bhp, although only the higher-powered version has the option of the eight-speed auto. The diesel is a 110bhp 1.5-litre engine coupled to a six-speed manual.
Powering the fully-electric Mokka, badged Mokka-e, is a 130hp motor linked to a 50kWh battery (46kWh usable battery capacity) which has a WLTP official range of 201 miles.
For the petrols and diesel the trim levels run from SE, through best-selling SRi then SRi Premium, Elite, Elite Premium and on to Ultimate. There’s also an initial limited run of super-spec Launch Edition cars. All versions from SRi Premium up include satnav. Prices range from £20,735 to £29,685 for the petrols and diesel while the EV tops out at £34,970 after the Plug-in Car Grant.
Out on the road, the petrol Mokka with the 130hp 1.2 is makes the car quick enough for everyday use, however it’s noisy when worked a bit harder, partly due to fake, piped-in exhaust noise, and there’s a fair amount of vibration that also makes its way through to the driver via the steering wheel. Drive more gently and that’s less of an issue. The other, and more annoying, interruption to a more relaxing drive is a jiggly ride which means that on typical UK roads the car never seems to settle.
If the car offered more fun in terms of driver feedback and sportiness, this lack of comfort would be forgiven.
Interestingly, the heavier EV version feels far more settled in this respect and is also much better on refinement, as most EVs are.
Despite being the heaviest Mokka, it’s also the most spritely with a 0-60mph time of 8.7 seconds – even if the top speed is only 93mph.
Vauxhall goes to great lengths to point out that in a lot of conditions the 201 mile range is unlikely to be achieved and simply being driven in the cold will see the range drop closer to 150 miles. And that’s before you use the heater or drive a bit quicker.
In our test we had the aircon running at a comfortable 21degC while the outside temperature was 10degC in mixed driving the Mokka returned 2.9 miles per kWh which would give a range of 133 miles.
Even with this real-world range, it’s still the Mokka you’d pick – budget allowing. There are a few other fully-electric small SUVs, most notably the Hyundai Kona and Kia Soul, but the Mokka-e is a welcome addition giving buyers that bit more choice.
Model tested: Mokka-e Launch Edition
Motor: electric motor with 50kWh battery
0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
Max speed: 93mph
Range: 201 miles