British Griffin mates with the French Lion to give us a stylish new compact family SUV

Forget the old Vauxhall Mokka, that was a rebadged Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore which were built at the old Daewoo factory in South Korea. It was a competent enough car, but a bit mumsy. In 2019 Vauxhall, or rather its parent company, Opel (having previously divorced from America’s General Motors) was bought by PSA (the Peugeot/Citroen group). The new Mokka is the result of this new arrangement. 

This new Mokka then is based on the Peugeot’s ‘Common Modular Platform’ which is to say it’s now closely related to the Peugeot 2008. There are two immediate benefits to this – firstly it gets a choice of powertrain including a 1.5 diesel, a full-electric setup and the 1.2-litre 130bhp three-cylinder version tested here. With 230NM of torque the Mokka manages acceleration to 60mph from rest in 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 124mph. Combined fuel consumption is quoted at over 47mpg and emissions are 137g/km. 

The second payback is the looks. Square-jawed, sharp-suited, crisp styling which includes the ‘visor’ – a stand-out feature that sweeps across the fascia and houses the headlights. The blacked out strip is a signature feature that will appear on more Vauxhalls/Opels going forward and put me in mind of the Ceylon’s from Battlestar Galactica, although it really needs a glowing red light pulsating across it! The only issue with the black strip is that it’s very difficult to keep clean, and you want it clean, because it looks that good. 

The sleek – for a compact family SUV – styling doesn’t detract from practicality either. The boot is a reasonable size for this segment with a handy underfloor area, while rear passenger space is perfectly adequate for regular-sized adults, although if you’re on the taller side, it’s a little tight and only tolerable for shorter journeys, especially if the front passengers are also tall. 

Up front it benefits from the infotainment and instrument interface derived from Peugeot set-ups, which is easy to use and nicely laid out, with similar configurability for the instrumentation, although it doesn’t feature the 3D holographic displays of its more flamboyant French cousins. Curiously the instrumentation is not hooded and openly flat on the dashboard making it very easy to view for passengers. 

Not that you’ll be frightening them with your speed as this is obviously not a fast car, but let’s not do it a disservice in terms of its ability to both perform and entertain. Running around doing chores you’ll not be noticing much lack of acceleration, nor are motorway jaunts too laborious. Indeed there is a level of engagement at the helm that didn’t exist in the previous Mokka’s repertoire which was merely more dutiful in going about its work. Talking of duty, the generally cosseting ride is another bonus for those on board. 

Some of that French flair has definitely made it into the Vauxhall and combined with the greatly improved style appeal, practicality, modern touches, and prices from £21,000 (around £28k for this Mokka Elite Nav Premium Auto tested) suddenly you find yourself fancying a bit of Coffee Arabica – Mokka that is!

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