The first thing to congratulate Vauxhall on is clever product positioning. Someone at Russelsheim realised that the firm’s cars will never stand out if they blindly conform to class norms.
In the Meriva, then, it made a compact MPV that bridged the B and C-segments both in terms of size and pricing. And in the Mokka, we’re seeing the same trick repeated. Strictly speaking, this car is neither in the Nissan Qashqai’s class nor in that of its little brother, the Juke. It’s somewhere in between.
It’s a double success in effect, because a distinctive product position means you don’t need to rely on 'smack in the face' styling in order to stand out. A Vauxhall wouldn’t wear an outlandish design comfortably, so a smart, contemporary, quietly rugged look will do for the Mokka, which is small mercy for anyone who doesn’t like the Juke’s muscular aesthetic.
The Mokka is about 50mm shorter than a Qashqai and 100mm shorter than a Peugeot 3008, but you’d take it for shorter still. The proportions fool you because the Mokka is also taller than both the Nissan and the Peugeot. It’s more of an upright, old-school kind of mini-SUV than the crossovers we have become used to.
Vauxhall's Mokka diverges from the norm under the skin, too. Most cars in the class are built on C-segment platforms, but beneath the Mokka you’ll find GM’s Global Small Vehicle Gamma II platform. It’s the one that was due to be used for the Adam and the next Corsa until the bean-counters and union reps intervened.
Engines are all four-cylinder units producing between 113 and 138bhp, while suspension is via MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. Four-wheel drive is offered on both the 138bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol model and the 128bhp 1.7-litre turbodiesel.