ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: Vauxhall Mokka
Following revisions to the Vauxhall Mokka for UK customers, KEITH WARD has a look at the new range and what else in the Vauxhall pipeline.
ON initial press trials abroad, early Korean-built left-hand-drive versions of the Mokka proved not to be everyone’s cup of tea, Vauxhall concede.
For UK customers on Britain’s pot-holed roads, the company say they have now tailored the steering to be sharper and lighter and the suspension to be more supple.
Within the limits of a restricted road route around Manchester, the modified Mokka seemed to drive and ride acceptably enough.
A compact, high-stance, five-door SUV, it falls in length between the big-selling Nissan Qashqai and its ugly duckling sibling, the Juke. Its stablemate, the Antara crossover, nearly a foot longer than the Mokka and updated last year, continues alongside it.
A 16-strong Mokka range perms two petrol and one diesel engine with either front wheel drive or intelligent AWD, gearboxes five or six-speed manual with start-stop or a six-speed automatic. There are four levels of trim. Prices start at £15,995 (1.6 115PS petrol 2WD 5-speed Tech Line ) rising to £23,490 (1.7 130PS diesel 6-speed SE manual 4X4).
Our 1.6 litre petrol test car at just under £16,000 sported the Techline trim, aimed at company car drivers, with a low P11D price. It generously includes sat-nav with seven-inch colour screen, six-speaker stereo audio giving 20 watts per channel, DMB digital radio, USB connection with iPod control, mobile phone system with Bluetooth, two-way adjustable steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, electric windows and heated, folding door mirrors.
Practical interest to the 4WD-minded includes traction control, descent control, hill start assist, switchable ESP electronic stability programme, ground clearance of 157 mm and an alloy-effect protective rear skid plate. Also roof rails and 60/40 split rear seats which tip and fold neatly into an extended flat floor exceeding 1.5 metres in length, although relatively narrow. A clever option is a Flexride triple bike rack which slides out from the rear bumper and is tiltable when loaded to give access to the boot.
Just over half of all Mokka customers are expected to opt for front-wheel-drive and 42 per cent to choose the 1.7 CDTi engine, say Vauxhall.
Marketing director Peter Hope talks of a “transformation” of what he admits people think of as a “veteran” brand, despite that sponsorship of the England football team.
The company is launched on a 10-year plan to present 12 new models and 13 new engines on a theme of “exciting, clever and great value”. And after years of uncertainty it is buoyed by revived parent company GM’s guaranteed future, to at least 2023, for the UK’s Ellesmere Port plant, including a contract to build for Europe the next Astra.
Next into UK showrooms after the Mokka will be, in March, the Adam city car, 200 mm shorter in wheelbase than a Corsa, to take on the Fiat 500 and target 8,000 annual sales. It features youth-appeal trim levels dubbed Jam, Slam and Glam. Then in April the Cascada, a formidable Insignia-based, two-door convertible. Followed in September 2013 by a “major facelift” for the Insignia, to pre-empt Ford’s new Mondeo early in 2014.
Vauxhall”s UK sales target for the Mokka in 2013 is 14,500.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
Model: Mokka 1.6 Techline 115PS
Engine: Petrol; 1,598 cc; 5-speed manual; stop-start; front wheel drive
Power: 115 PS @ 6,000 rpm; max torque 155 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Performance: 108 mph; 0-62 in 12.3 secs
MPG: On test 36.4; official combined 43.5 mpg; tank 53 litres
CO2: 153 g/km; tax band G; annual tax disc £170
Insurance: Group 5E
Warranty: Vauxhall Lifetime 100,000 mile Warranty
PRICE: £15,995; with extras as driven £17,310