From £15,849
The Vauxhall Mokka is the marque's first foray into the mini SUV market. An early drive shows it has real promise

Our Verdict

The Vauxhall Mokka, the Griffin's first crossover

Vauxhall undercuts established crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai with a supermini-sized SUV of its own

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  • First Drive

    Vauxhall Mokka

    Vauxhall has high hopes for its sub-compact SUV, and those in the market for such a vehicle won't be disappointed
Steve Cropley Autocar
25 May 2012
Vauxhall Mokka 1.4T 4x4

What is it?

You're looking at GM's most important car this year, the new B-segment Vauxhall Mokka, due to hit British showrooms just before Christmas and set to sell widely across Europe. Small soft-roaders are booming like nothing else; they already take 2.5 per cent of European sales and are fast heading for three per cent. GM is sick of standing by, watching the success of the relatively few class contenders taking the rewards, chief among them the Skoda Yeti and the class-leading Nissan Juke. 

Vauxhall bosses can hardly wait to get the Mokka, now in the throes of final testing, on the market. They think it has terrific prospects: it is larger than Juke and not so much smaller than Nissan's even more successful Qashqai in the class above. With its big pool of customers and wide dealer spread, Vauxhall reckons it has a good chance of attracting both hot-to-trot B-segment customers and quite a few downsizers as well.

Though much of its detail engineering has been done in Europe, the basic car was created in Korea and will be built there using new GM world-car architecture, soon to be picked up soon by Chevrolet and Buick. Three engines will be offered in Mokka at launch in the UK: a 1.4 petrol turbo four (138bhp), a 1.6 normally aspirated petrol four (114bhp) and a 1.7 turbodiesel (129bhp).

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The Mokka will be available in front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive forms, with the lower-spec models having five-speed manual gearboxes while higher-spec versions and 4x4s have six-speeders. Several automatic models will be available but with 2WD only. Mokka has a "smart" 4x4 system that maintains 100 per cent drive at the front wheels until the system detects slip, fast starts or tight cornering. Then it directs up to 50 per cent of torque rearwards. The entire 4x4 system adds only 65kg to overall weight.

What's it like?

We drove a near-production 1.4 turbo 4WD prototype on sinuous and occasionally rutted roads near Frankfurt and were distinctly impressed. Vauxhall's head of chassis engineering, Gerry Baker, says one of his chief objectives was to make the Mokka flat-riding and comfortably car-like on normal roads where it will do 99 per cent of its driving.

That's what we found. Not only did the suspension feel supple and keep the car very flat, but it was also quieter over bumps than other small SUVs. Throw in alert steering, strong mid-range urge from the 1.4 turbo engine – whose note when revved is distinctly sporty – and you have a car likely to challenge the Juke and the rest.

Styling is modern, family orientated but conventional. It's nothing like as funky as the Juke, though plenty will like it for that. The interior – which had 19 cubbyholes for bits and pieces – is comfortingly Vauxhall-like. Familiar switches are grouped in a U-shaped panel ahead of the typically Vauxhall gearlever (complete with characteristic reverse trigger). There's a pleasant opulence that reminds you of the plush Insignia executive saloon.

Rear space, as claimed, will hold three adults rather tightly, even if the disappointingly low seating limits forward vision.

Should I buy one?

Not sure yet. These were prototypes. But we see no reason not to, given that Vauxhall is certain to price its baby SUV head on with the competition.

The Mokka won't be a style statement like the Juke, or even the Yeti, but it looks like being an easy car to live with, at least in the 1.4 turbo guise we tried. A shorter drive showed the entry-level 1.6 to be rather lifeless and a bit bouncy by comparison – but these were still prototypes.

Vauxhall bigwigs are expecting big things of the Mokka, and nothing we've seen so far leads us to disagree.

Vauxhall Mokka 1.4T 4x4

Price: £16,500 (est); 0-62mph: na; Top speed: na; Economy: na; CO2: na; Kerb weight: na; Engine: 4 cyls, 1364cc, turbo, petrol; Installation: Front, transverse, 4WD; Power: 138bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 148lb ft at 1850-4900rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate


25 May 2012

Mokka won't be a style statement like the Juke, or even the Yeti

Ah, the Yeti. That's a perfectly good reason not to buy the Mokka right there.


25 May 2012

Honestly, I liked the Chevy-brother's design a lot better than the Vauxhall but will its driving dynamics be able to match Vauxhall's? The sure thing is that I prefer both over the Nissans and the Skoda.

25 May 2012

Could be a contender to replace the A3 next year especially if room for two dogs in back. Juke is out because of that. Yeti could be a possibility too.

25 May 2012

For me the styling is a bit generic but that is what I am going to guess will attract most of this cars potential audience.  Where as the Juke is challenging, the Yeti is rugged and almost utilitarian, this is quite conventional - which will appeal more to the masses.

I hope this will be a sales hit for Vauxhall / Opel because on the whole it seems to be a good product and as a company they need a boost at the moment.

On a side note, I much prefer the Opel nose on this to the renderings I have seen with the awful chrome Vauxhall lump stuck on.  Vauxhall should really re-think their grill.


25 May 2012

TegTypeR wrote:

...On a side note, I much prefer the Opel nose on this to the renderings I have seen with the awful chrome Vauxhall lump stuck on.  Vauxhall should really re-think their grill.

teg - the Vauxhall grille is identical, bar the actual roundel being a Griffin, not a lightning bolt. The aesthetics of an all-black grille with a chrome insignia may open a whole other debate... The Long 'V' grille disappeared a while back. Smile 

3 October 2012

I do concur with previous comments, the "Grill" does suit that of the Opel design rather than that of the Griffin! If this were to change to represent flight along with Opels bolt, the attraction may gather the shifting cross country (4x4) traveler. 

25 May 2012

I can't see why anyone would buy this ugly heap over a Yeti, or even a Juke.

25 May 2012

The reason the juke and yeti do well is because they have a usp. The juke looks challenging and is a statement. The yeti is a practical no nonsense car that actually has a touch of class to its looks. 

The mokka has neither of these. It's all a little bland, generic even. I'm sure that will appeal to plenty, but not to me.

25 May 2012

........which rules out the Juke on some important counts - namely the priority of style over function at the back where the boot space is insufficient for a larger dog, which must be a need for many of its potential customers, whereas this Mokka looks far better. The Juke is also disappointingly cramped and grim when sitting in the rear, in my view.

I Like the Yeti very much, but this looks as though it might be a very worthy competitor for those who don't want a mini-LandRover look-a-like.

Good luck to Vauxhall with this.

25 May 2012

I agree it is tight in the back of the Juke, but Nissan will no doubt point out that if you want more space, buy the cashcow. It isn't a priority for a lot of people, but I appreciate that for some it is


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