Vauxhall Mokka-e long-term test: report 1

Vauxhall’s smallest SUV is back and is now available as an electric car for the first time. We’re finding out what it’s like to live with...

Vauxhall Mokka-e Cornering LT

The car Vauxhall Mokka-e 50kWh Elite Nav Premium Run by Neil Winn, Hubs Editor

Why we’re running it To find out how easy it is to go electric and to see how well the Mokka-e stacks up against an ever increasing number of small electric SUV rivals

Needs to Be practical, deliver a relaxing driving experience and have a long enough range to be viable as an only car

Mileage 715 List price £34,580 (not including £2500 gov’t grant) Target Price £33,142 Options fitted Mamba Green Metallic paint (£650) Price as tested £35,230 Test range 151 miles Official range 201 miles

16 August 2021 – The Mokka-e arrives

It’s fair to say that I have a complicated relationship with electric vehicles (EVs). As a car reviewer, a great deal of my working week is spent behind the wheel of EVs, and in many respects – tit for tat – they’re often better than their conventionally powered counterparts.

And yet, despite electric cars being quiet, fast and comparatively cheap to run, I’ve always maintained that I would struggle to run one as my only car. The reasons? Well, first, like many Londoners, I live in a flat and therefore can’t charge at home. Second, I mostly work from home at the moment, so despite my office offering electric charging, I’m not there often enough to keep an EV topped up. And third? Well, that’s the big one. 

Vauxhall Mokka-e Cornering LT

You see, unlike the majority of my colleagues who have family in the South of England, all of my relatives are spread around Yorkshire, North Wales and Scotland; door to door it is roughly 425 miles to my parents house, for example. And while that's a relative breeze in a modern petrol or diesel car (even the 306bhp Cupra Formentor  I had previously managed the trip on a single tank of unleaded) in an electric car I've always felt I'd suffer serious range anxiety.

I am then, in my personal life, the type of person that manufacturers are going to struggle to convince to go electric. Or rather I was, but then earlier this year I found myself driving around the country in an EV for a What Car? feature where we rated every major charging network and I started to think that maybe the barriers weren’t as big as I’d assumed. Sure, some companies are hopeless, but there are quite a few good ones, too. And so, long story short, I’ve jumped in feet first.

Specifically, I’ve gone for a Vauxhall Mokka-e – a small electric SUV that's based on the same underpinnings as the Peugeot e-2008, meaning it pairs a 134bhp electric motor with a 50kWh battery.

Vauxhall Mokka-e Rear LT

When I sampled it alongside the petrol Mokka on its international launch, I found that the Mokka-e was the far more rounded machine. Not only did it feel more punchy on account of its instantaneous torque (a real boon that you get with all EVs) but it was also quieter at a cruise and exhibited a more grown up ride; I can only imagine that the latter is down to the engineering team spending more time perfecting what is effectively a ‘halo’ product for Vauxhall. 

It’s a striking looking thing, isn’t it? Thanks to Vauxhall’s new ‘Vizor’ front-end design and striking Mamba green metallic paint (£650) it has a lot more presence than the previous-generation Mokka. I’ve already had a couple of neighbours approach me to ask what it is, and surely that is a good thing? The electric small SUV market is a hugely congested sector at the moment and manufacturers need to produce striking products if they want to stand out from the crowd. 

It also helps that the Mokka-e is very well equipped in my chosen Elite Nav Premium spec. As standard you get 18in alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, LED headlights with high-beam assist, rain sensitive wipers, digital dials, and a striking 10in touchscreen infotainment system. That’s quite a bit more kit than comes with a similarly priced Volkswagen ID.3.

Mokka-e LT side profile

So, how am I finding living with a fully electric car when my only way of topping up the battery is the public network? Well, so far I’ve only been using the Mokka-e for running around town and in all honesty it feels tailor-made for this. The ride is smooth, there is more than enough power to dive into gaps in city traffic and visibility is impressive. 

And while I’ve already had two failed attempts at charging locally – both with Source London – I’m still thinking positively about the whole experience. After all, owning your first electric car is always going to involve a bit of a learning curve, so hopefully I can take you along for the ride and we can learn together. Well, that’s the plan at least.

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