Vauxhall Mokka TechLine 1.4 Turbo 4x4 - First Drive

Vauxhall enters the baby SUV market - and the battle is hotting up

Engine: 1.4-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual
Power: 140 PS between 4,900 and 6,000 rpm
Torque: 200 Nm at 4,900 rpm
Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 43.5 mpg
CO2 emissions: 149 g/km
Top speed: 121 mph
Acceleration (0-62 mph): 9.8 seconds
Price: from £18,200

Vauxhall, in case you hadn’t noticed, is changing. Long a supplier of solid fleet favourites such as the Insignia and Astra, General Motors’ British operation has decided it needs to offer models with a bit more dash if it’s going to survive and thrive. Like other mainstream car makers, Vauxhall is being squeezed between the premium manufacturers on the one hand and the budget brands on the other – the latest is Renault-owned Dacia, which arrives in the UK in January.

So first, Vauxhall introduced the Ampera, an innovative electric car with a “range-extender” petrol engine based on the US-market Chevrolet Volt. Then came the Adam, a small city car designed to compete with the Mini and Fiat 500, which offers more in the way of personalisation options than just about anything else on the market, and now the first photos have been released of the Cascada, a large, handsome convertible that’s expected to arrive next year.

Another unusual Vauxhall model badge we’ll have to get used to is Mokka – that’s the name of the company’s new baby SUV, a car designed in Europe but made by GM’s Korean arm. Like the other new cars, it won’t sell in the sort of numbers that the Astra or the Corsa do, but it will get the company into another niche and do its bit to make Vauxhall more interesting.

Western brands have used Korean-built SUVs to round out their ranges before. Renault had the Koleos, which it imported into the UK from Renault Samsung Motors for a few years, and Vauxhall’s own Antara is based on the Chevrolet Captiva from GM Korea. The single most notable thing about the Mokka compared with those two is that it feels a lot more “European” in terms of its cabin design and trim quality. My test car had an unusual, slightly hard-to-look-at two-tone blue-brown dash to go with its deep brown paintwork and interior; that didn’t do it any favours, but the overall impression still was of a decent, well executed, well-made design. And in my book at least, the Mokka picks up a lot of points for having a DAB digital radio as standard; Vauxhall has done more than most manufacturers to get DAB into cars.

The Mokka also provides plenty of space for passengers and luggage, and the turbocharged 1.4 petrol engine is quite smooth and provides plenty of torque – that’s good, because SUVs often struggle with small petrol engines. Other options include a larger but less powerful non-turbo petrol 1.6, and a 1.7-litre diesel. Like the Adam, the Mokka is getting some UK-specific chassis tweaks. I drove an early right-hand drive car which I understood to be UK spec and felt OK on my relatively short test run but some reports say a few early cars didn’t get the mods – best to check.

Overall, the Mokka is a worthwhile addition to the Vauxhall range. It has few direct competitors – the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai ix35 are all larger, the Daihatsu Terios is no longer on sale in the UK and Suzuki’s traditionally popular small 4x4s are starting to get a bit long in the tooth. Ford, though has a rival to the Mokka in the form of the EcoSport. That has its origins in Latin America rather than Korea, and it will arrive in Europe before too long. Then the real fight will begin.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies