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Frumpy crossover turns into something of a style icon. Does it have substance, too?

As its old General Motors-era models have been replaced by new PSA-related cars, Vauxhall has had little choice but to accept pretty wide-reaching change to its various cars over the past few years. And with our road test subject this week, it is positively embracing it.

The second-generation Mokka may still be a compact crossover hatchback, but it’s such a different prospect from the car it replaces that you wonder if Mokka owners will even recognise it. In case they don’t, Vauxhall has handily written the model name in large capital letters, Porsche style, across the bootlid.

Mokka is the second model to get a new ‘corporate face’, known as the Vauxhall Vizor. It looks better here than it does on the Crossland, making for a particularly neat, reductionist front end

The old Mokka – a high-roofed, big-boned sort of car in what is known to some as the B-SUV niche – was a surprise sales hit in Europe, clearing more than half a million combined sales for the Opel and Vauxhall brands well before its fourth birthday. Over its total life, more than 200,000 found homes in the UK. But will those same buyers respond to a car that’s been so altered and reinvented? One that’s smaller, lower roofed and lighter than its bulky-looking predecessor – and far bolder looking and more style driven.

We’re certainly not used to Vauxhalls having quite this much visual ‘wow’ factor – and it can’t hurt the sales prospects of a car that may well have to conquest as many customers as it ultimately retains. Vauxhall has also turned up its habitual standard on styling volume for the interior, as we’ll explain in due course.

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It is clearly aiming to make a statement: flexing some atrophied design muscle, and inviting people to consider a Vauxhall who might never have before.

Read on, then, to find out how much more than meets the eye there is to discover here.

The Vauxhall Mokka line-up at a glance

The Mokka comes with a choice of petrol, diesel and battery-electric, with a bit of a gulf on price between the upper-level petrol and the EV, although lower running costs may offset some of that.

There are seven trim levels, the uppermost of which – Launch Edition – won’t be a permanent fixture. Versions with factory navigation are denoted by a ‘Nav’ suffix. Those without it still get touchscreen infotainment with phone mirroring.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Vauxhall Mokka

First drives