Vauxhall Mokka-e long-term test

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

Vauxhall Mokka-e long-term test tiled image

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 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 2472 List price £34,580 Target Price £30,347 Price as tested £35,230 Test range 151 miles Official range 201 miles Dealer price now £27,851 Trade-in price now £24,757 Running costs (excluding depreciation) Electricity £71.41 

18 January 2022 – So near, and yet so far?

Can you run an electric vehicle (EV) like the Vauxhall Mokka-e as your only car when you don’t have the ability to charge at home, and often have to travel fairly long distances to see family and friends? That was the question I posed at the start of my journey with the Mokka-e, and one that I’m now confident to answer. 

In short, yes, it is possible, but it requires a lifestyle change and plenty of patience. Let’s start with charging locally. 

Vauxhall Mokka-e in the city

Despite living in an affluent London suburb where there has been a high uptake in electric car ownership over the past couple of years, it's surprisingly difficult to find reliable and affordable on-street charging.

You either have to hold a parking permit – which I don’t – so you can access ​​the local lamppost chargers, or you have to pay sky-high charging rates to providers like Source London that charge by the minute, not the kW. 

It can also be challenging to find an on-street charger that's accessible. The lampposts in my area are more often than not blocked by combustion-engined cars, and the Source London chargers are usually occupied by black cabs due to their favourable rates for taxis. When you do finally gain access to a charger, you have to download a glitchy smartphone app or use a QR code to upload your payment details.

Neil Winn charging a green Vauxhall Mokka Electric

Fortunately, whenever there was a space free in the What Car? office car park, I was able to hook my Mokka-e up to the charging point there, which saved me a considerable amount in running costs.

On the whole, I’ve found charging while on longer trips much easier due to an ever-improving motorway charging network. However, this also requires you to think ahead.

Despite a decent (but far from class-leading) official range of 201 miles, the Mokka-e struggled to cover more than 140 miles in real-world conditions before needing a top-up, even over the warmer summer months. That didn’t stop me heading up to the Cotswolds for a weekend away, but it did mean that visiting family in Yorkshire and Scotland required military levels of planning.

Vauxhall Mokka-e side

It’s worth highlighting at this point, however, that those frustrations are not exclusive to the Mokka-e. So let’s put them to one side and focus on the positives, because Vauxhall’s latest electric car has wormed its way into my affections over the past few months. 

For a start, it makes for a genuinely impressive city car. It might not be that much taller than a regular hatchback, but its seats are mounted quite high up, giving you decent visibility to the front and sides. And while over-the-shoulder visibility is hampered somewhat by a rising window line and chunky pillars, the standard fit rear parking sensors and rear-view camera make parking a relative breeze. 

It’s also an absolute doddle to guide around town thanks to its light steering and progressive accelerator response. As I mentioned in an earlier update, my wife, who is still a fairly inexperienced driver, saw her confidence soar while driving the Mokka-e, with its easily accessible performance making it, in her words, “effortless to drive”.

Vauxhall Mokka-e 2021 front seats

We were both very impressed with the car’s refinement too. Over most road surfaces, the Mokka-e rides in a smooth, calm manner that makes the Volkswagen ID.3 feel a touch too firm, and there's very little road or wind noise at higher speeds. All of this means that, range aside, the Mokka-e is a great motorway cruiser. 

In terms of practicality, it falls some way behind the ID.3. There's significantly less rear head and legroom, and its boot will only take four carry-on suitcases versus five for the ID.3. However, in the real world, we found it perfectly useable. The boot is big enough for the weekly shop or a weekend away, and our friends didn’t grumble when jumping in the back seats for a quick trip to the pub.

So, despite the fact that my personal circumstances would make me think twice about having another pure-electric car right now, the Mokka-e has been thoroughly enjoyable to live with.

Vauxhall Mokka-e

With its sharp looks, cushy ride and impressive levels of standard kit, you could even say it has exceeded my expectations. If it had just a little bit more range (say 250-300 miles) and the charging network was more reliable, I’d be tempted to choose one over a conventionally powered small SUV. High praise indeed.

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