Vauxhall Mokka 1.7 CDTI SE 4x410 | 10 | 2012Scotcars rating

    Just how tasty is the new Vauxhall Mokka as it bids to grab sales from lifestyle rivals?


    If you thought something was brewing within Vauxhall, then you’re right. They’re enjoying a bit of a revival with innovative cars like the part-electric Ampera, the eagerly-awaited entry-level Adam, and convertible Cascada. Retail sales are up by more than 20% and Vauxhall is currently the biggest brand in Scotland, outselling rivals like Ford by more than 2:1. So the company – part of the giant GM – is expressing confidence in its 110th year of continuous manufacturing. In the past some of their cars have been dismissed as boring, but that’s changing and they’re going through a theme of not just producing a more interesting range, they’ve also embarked on a programme of giving them more colourful names.

    The latest to arrive in the showrooms is the Mokka, a compact SUV which aims to challenge some established names in that growing sector of the market (watch our video of the new Vauxhall Mokka). But how did they come up with the name and what exactly does it mean? Vauxhall bosses were stumped when the question was posed at the launch and they came up with a variety of explanations, most of which related to coffee – a reference to the strongly flavoured dark brown coffee, mocha, which came originally from Arabia.

    What that has to do with this latest baby isn’t clear, but the name apart, the Mokka is an impressive machine which will certainly have an impact on its rivals. Its bigger brother the Antara crossover is popular, if not a big seller, even after its update last year.

    On the Road

    It’s aimed at people with an active lifestyle who want to get out into the country to enjoy themselves and need something which will get them, and their equipment, there whatever the conditions. It comes with a range of carrying options and the most impressive – already available on others in the Vauxhall range – is the FlexFix bike carrier which slides into the rear bumper when it’s not needed: even when loaded with bikes can fold down to allow the back door to open.

    The Mokka comes as either conventional front-wheel-drive or adaptive four-wheel-drive with a choice of two petrol or one diesel engine: but the quality of the ride is down to a new intelligent chassis. Part of the testing of that, specifically for the UK market, was carried out at the Millbrook centre in Bedfordshire. Although I didn’t get to test it in off-road conditions, I’m told the all-wheel-drive system — which will be almost half the sales — is impressive.

    Certainly on the open road, and particularly in the wet, it sharpens the car’s handling characteristics especially at higher speeds on cornering. It is activated automatically within a fraction of a second as soon as it detects any wheel slip. Under normal conditions, it keeps power to the front wheels for greater economy.

    Comfort and Safety

    The range starts at £15,995 with the Tech Line which is aimed at company car buyers, but the majority of customers will be private owners, more than half of whom will go for the diesel option. It looks good with valuable ground clearance for off-roading and a robust, businesslike stance when on the tarmac. Hill Start and Hill Descent, which keeps the vehicle at between 3mph and 12mph, is standard as part of the Electronic Stability package along with state of the art electric power steering for better response and lower fuel consumption.

    There’s plenty of room inside with no fewer than 19 storage spaces. But what’s most impressive is the clean, businesslike appearance of the working area all viewed from the raised position of the leather seats which are standard in the SE version of the test car.

    Should I Buy One?

    A good looking, hard-working car, at a good price.

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    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £23,490 / £23,490
    Engine / Power: 1686cc / 130PS
    How fast?: 0-60mph 10.4secs / Max 114mph
    How big/heavy?: L4278mm W1777mm H1646mm / Weight 1354kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 57.6mpg combined / 129g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a/ Band D £100
    Alternatives: Skoda Yeti; Nissan Juke; Mitsubishi ASX; Nissan Qashqai

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