Vauxhall’s given its compact-SUV a new name, revised looks and a new interior. We’ve driven it to see what it’s like
What do we have here?
Vauxhall’s Mokka has been refreshed for 2017, four years after it was originally launched. It gets a new look, new technology and a new engine, plus a new name, the Mokka X.
It’s the first Vauxhall to gain the ‘X’ name, something that will be introduced to other Vauxhall SUV and crossover vehicles.
There are new headlights, featuring Vauxhall’s double-wing LED daytime running lights, a revised grille design and new bumpers, giving the car are more refined, sophisticated appearance. At the back, the changes are less significant with a redesign of the taillight graphics and a new bumper.
The dashboard has been replaced with a lower set, more luxurious version, while a 7.0in or 8.0in infotainment touchscreen is now integrated.
The Mokka X comes with a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines. The petrol engines consist of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, developing 113bhp and two 1.4-litre turbocharged engines with either 138bhp or 150bhp. The two diesel engines come from the same 1.6 CDTi engine, offered with 108bhp or 134bhp.
Available with either five and six-speed manual gearboxes plus a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive isn’t available on the entry-level petrol or diesel engines but is across the rest of the range.
There are four trim levels to choose from; Active, Design Nav, Elite and Elite Nav.
We’re testing the 1.6 CDTi 136PS diesel engine in Elite trim with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. It comes with optional metallic paint and 18in 10-spoke alloy wheels giving it an asking price of £25,130.
Elite trim as standard gets 18in alloy wheels, dual-zone electronic climate control, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, high beam assist, heated front sports seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and R4.0 IntelliLink system which features; smartphone projection; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; 7.0in colour touchscreen, DAB radio and Bluetooth audio streaming.
How does it drive?
For what is quite a narrow and upright car, the Mokka X handles pretty well. There is some lean through corners but nothing untoward and any roll remains well contained.
The ride is on the firmer side, yet you wouldn’t describe it as uncomfortable, although speed humps are a little harsh. Having smaller alloy wheels would undoubtedly provide a more cosseting ride.
The steering is quite heavy in feel but generally consistent and accurate. In damp conditions, however, the Mokka X suffers from understeer, especially when accelerating.
Performance, however, is really impressive. The 134bhp and 236lb ft of torque combine to get the Mokka X from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds but in the real world, it feels quicker than that. From between 1750-2000rpm, there’s a huge surge of torque that propels you forward. It’ll keep pushing consistently until just over 4500rpm, where a gear change is required.
The gearbox itself isn’t the best, feeling notchy, a little sloppy and has a long throw. It’s best when used in a relaxed manner.
The Mokka X is nicely refined. The diesel engine is quiet with only the smallest of diesel rattle making its way into the cabin, and mostly when idling. Any wind noise is only noticeable around motorway speeds but there is some suspension and road noise.
What's it like inside?
Vauxhall has done a great job on the inside. It feels roomy and looks classy. The top of the dash and doors gets soft touch plastics and leather with contrasting stitching. The black gloss inserts look great and the controls are chrome lined with a rubber grip.
At the centre of the dash is a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system which is clear, easy to use and has good graphics.
There is a question over fit and finish as some of the shut lines are inconsistent.
It’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel with a good view out of the front. The steering wheel adjusts well for reach and rake and the driver’s seat gets lever controlled height and backrest adjustment, plus electric tilt and lumbar support. The driver also gets a single folding armrest. Over-the-shoulder visibility is hindered by the rising rear window line and large c-pillar.
Headroom is excellent and there’s plenty of shoulder room. The door armrest though feels a little too far forward.
You get two central cupholders, a cubby ahead of the gear lever with a fold down cover and a small coverable storage area between the seats. However, the door bins are quite shallow and the glovebox is small.
In the back, head, leg and knee room are all good and there’s a low transmission tunnel helping a third person. The door bins are again shallow but wide.
The boot has a good size opening with a square and flat floor. Underfloor storage is huge and also stores the tyre inflation kit. The rear hatch door is a little heavy and there are no bag hooks, however.
The official economy figure for this model on a combined cycle is 65.7mpg while it emits 114g/km of CO2.
Over our 17-mile test route consisted of a dual-carriage way, country roads and town traffic, we returned 56mpg which is very impressive.
Those CO2 figures rate to an annual road tax of £30 and a company car tax banding of 22% BIK.
This model falls into insurance group 15E making it quite affordable.
The Mokka X gets a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
The Mokka X is refined and has a comfortable and roomy interior. The new design is clean and classy on the inside and out. This engine is quick and economical, too.
It is expensive to buy in this guise and the ride might be too firm for some.
It’s worth taking a look at a Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade before you buy for compact-SUV alternatives, while a Kia Niro offers hybrid tech for the same money.