Vauxhall Mokka SE 1.4 16v Turbo Start/Stop 5dr
Chunky looks give the Mokka a purposeful stance
- Bold looks are appealing
- Hard wearing cabin
- Easy to park in town
- Efficient and flexible turbocharged engines
- Exterior looks a little awkward on smaller wheel option
- Driving dynamics could be better
- Lots of rivals could harm appeal
- Some cheap plastics inside
It's not first to the party but Vauxhall has finally stepped into the baby SUV ring with its curiously named Mokka. Sharing much with Chevrolet's similar Trax, the Mokka promises to add a lifestyle angle to the high-rise compact hatch genre.
Similar in size to a modest hatchback, the Mokka fits comfortably into the compact template and is considerably smaller than any traditional SUV. It has all the typical SUV styling cues however, with chunky proportions in line with its off-road pretentions. It does have the capability of going off-road however: although two wheel drive versions are available all-wheel drive variants are also offered.
The engine range consists of a handful of petrol and diesel units, already seen elsewhere in the wider General Motors Europe line up. Three gearboxes - auto and manual - are dependent on engine choice. Although the Mokka has a higher ride height than a standard hatchback, the suspension is designed to prioritise on-road performance.
With a strong focus on practicality, the Mokka has been designed as a family vehicle. With seating for five, the Mokka also offers all the comfort and safety kit you'd expect to find in an equivalent family hatchback.
This bodes well for the ownership experience, which should see the Mokka outstripping a similarly priced family hatch when it comes to practical duties. Forget the car's potential off-roading skills even if it can be had with all-wheel drive, as the battle for hearts and minds is between the increasingly inflexible conventional five-door cars and the burgeoning class of high-rise faux 4x4s.
Our verdict on the Vauxhall Mokka SE 1.4 16v Turbo Start/Stop 5dr
There's a lot to like about Vauxhall's Mokka; the car's looks add weight to its maker's lifestyle claims, while there's little doubt that the elevated driving position ensures better than average visibility and easy cabin access and egress. Power options are modest and it's playing catch up to more established players in some key areas but the Mokka is a fine effort.
With the 1.4-litre turbo fitted the Mokka should be relatively economical to run as long as the driver exercises restraint. The diesel version offers the best financial returns although with a higher price tag as a result.
Space and practicality
The Mokka really makes the most of its compact footprint, packing in good interior space front and rear. There are some useful storage areas too, with a large bin between the front seats. The boot is well-shaped and at a good height also.
Controls and display
Despite being a value machine rather than premium the Mokka offers quite an attractive cabin. The instrument display and surrounding controls are modern and attractive. The main controls require little effort to operate and prove intuitive from the start.
All Mokka passengers can be seated in comfort, with only the rear centre space being slightly compromised by the shape of the seat. Noise levels are kept in check reasonably well, although inevitably there is a little more noise in the diesel version. The ride comfort is better on the smaller wheels, though.
A standard fit alarm and immobiliser should keep the Mokka secure, while the custom fit audio system integrated into the car reduces the opportunity for removal. A well-fitted load cover will keep the boot's contents safe with a hidden compartment under the floor.
The Mokka's crossover status means it has the dynamics of a car rather than an SUV which bodes well for avoiding accidents in the first place, helped by ESP as standard across the range. Should the worst happen it is equipped with six airbags as a minimum and a strong safety cell.
With the perky 1.4-litre turbocharged engine up front the Mokka is a pleasing car to pilot. The steering is accurate but light, the six-speed manual gearbox shifts easily and the engine behaves like a bigger naturally aspirated engine rather than a turbocharged one, with a smooth and linear nature. Refinement is acceptable at higher speeds, and when pressed the Mokka is stable and benign rather than exciting.
Family car appeal
As a family vehicle the Mokka has all the right ingredients, with a spacious cabin and flexible loadspace. Children will enjoy the better view out that the high ride height affords and won't be too closely squeezed together. The cabin trim looks sufficiently sturdy too and with the option of leather seats it should cope with whatever little ones can throw at it.
First car appeal
The Mokka would make a perfectly acceptable first car as it is very undemanding and offers better than average visibility. It is a little more expensive than the usual first-car choices but barring that it presents no issues for an inexperienced driver.
Quality and image
Vauxhall's wide range of cars and longstanding reputation in the market has ensured considerable levels of goodwill from buyers. The Mokka is the firm's first attempt at cracking the baby SUV market, and while it faces some tough opposition the car trades on its brand image and wide dealer network coverage.
The Mokka is a compact car but the high ride height makes it easy to get in to both the front and rear seats, bar a slightly higher sill to negotiate when getting into the rear. The boot is the same with a large hatch aperture.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The Mokka's cabin boasts switchgear and instruments that will be familiar to most Vauxhall owners. It all works well, although more effort differentiating it from a regular Corsa or Astra would have been appreciated.
Colours and trim
The Mokka has the typical chunky looks of a baby SUV with substantial protection mouldings around the sills and big bumpers to match. As a result brighter colours look better as they balance the grey below, and the optional larger wheels are best chosen as it can look a little weedy on the standard items. Inside there are a mix of shades that help to lighten the cabin while the cabin illumination looks a little different and boosts the quality appearance.
The high driving position, good visibility and light steering make short work of parking. An audible parking sensor system is also available, and with a modest overall length the Mokka is easy to squeeze into small spaces.
Space saver fitted beneath the boot floor.
Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (140bhp); 1.6-litre (115bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.7-litre (130bhp). Five-speed or six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are available. Trim levels: Exclusiv, Tech Line, SE, .
Skoda Yeti Effective crossover, good on and off road
Nissan Juke Divisive styling but good value and a smooth drive
Chevrolet Trax Mokka twin brother does a similar job for similar money
Suzuki Grand Vitara More of a proper off-roader than a crossover