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).
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.