The Vauxhall Mokka is offered with an unremarkable but perfectly adequate range of engines. Buyers can pick from a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol, a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol or a 1.7-litre diesel. All are capable of accelerating the Mokka from 0-60mph in less than 12 seconds, so most will rarely be frustrated with the degree of performance on offer.
Choose the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol or 1.7-litre diesel and the Mokka is flexible and capable. It may be a supermini underneath, but the four-wheel drive 1.4-litre turbocharged Mokka in particular is in a strong position here. The petrol-powered rivals available for similar money are mainly heavier cars with less powerful normally aspirated engines, and they don’t offer four driven wheels.
And just as you’d hope for with credentials like that, the Mokka turns out to be a small car with much of the flexibility and refinement you’d expect of a much bigger one. The Vauxhall’s turbocharged petrol engine provides decent response and plenty of accessible torque, as does the diesel.
The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol is quiet and well mannered below 3500rpm and drives the car onwards smartly, authoritatively and without fuss. Harder work is taken to with some reluctance. Wind the revcounter past 4000rpm and you’ll know about it. The motor’s straining, resonant buzz at high revs isn’t all that pleasant, and beyond a certain point it just isn’t worth tolerating.
Ultra-conservative ECU settings don’t help 1.4-litre turbo versions of the Mokka off the line. They limit throttle and engine speed when the clutch is engaged (to protect a slightly vulnerable four-wheel drive system, we must assume) and make the car feel a little like it’s overcoming a treacly quagmire every time you want to make a quick getaway.