As its old General Motors-era models have been replaced by new PSA-related cars, Vauxhall has had little choice but to accept pretty wide-reaching change to its various cars over the past few years.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.
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.
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.