Vauxhall Mokka long-term test: report 1

The Vauxhall Mokka is a big seller within the crowded small SUV market, but does it deserve its sales success? We're living with one to find out...

Stood with Vauxhall Mokka

The Car Vauxhall Mokka 1.2 136 GS 6-Speed Manual Run by Jonty Renk, senior videographer

Why it’s here To prove that small, petrol-powered SUVs can still hold value for buyers wanting to keep costs low

Needs to Be comfortable for five people and transport luggage with ease, be comfortable on long distances and function as a mobile office when needed

Mileage 226 List price £28,085 Target Price £26,461 Price as tested £28,085 Official economy 51.4mpg Test economy 40.3mpg


12 July 2023 – Meet my Mokka

I don't like coffee, but I do enjoy hot chocolate. So, if I wanted to get into the world of caffeine, I'd probably start out with a mocha.

And similarly, while I like the imposing style and road presence of SUVs, I don’t like the running costs that often come with them. So, maybe the second-generation Vauxhall Mokka – which combines chunky styling and an elevated driving position with the promise of impressive frugality – is ideal for me.

Vauxhall Mokka driving

It’s certainly proving a popular choice among car buyers. So far this year, the Mokka has been the 10th best-selling car in the UK, with almost 15,000 examples leaving showrooms. With such a huge number finding homes, surely that many buyers can’t be wrong about something?

Or could they? The first-generation Mokka was also a huge seller for Vauxhall, but that car – dating from long before the Luton-based car maker became part of the Stellantis empire alongside Citroën, Peugeot and numerous other brands – was decidedly mediocre in most areas and downright disappointing in others. Thankfully, I’m assured by my road-test colleagues that the second-generation car I’ve gone for is much better.

It certainly looks far more sophisticated. The latest Mokka was the first Vauxhall to wear the brand’s current family face, with a front grille that stretches the full width of the car, the headlights being set within it. And while style is obviously subjective, I think it results in a car that’s far more visually appealing than a lot of other small SUVs, such as the Ford PumaPeugeot 2008 and Skoda Kamiq.

Vauxhall Mokka reversing camera

No, looks aren’t everything, but given that all of these cars have similar dimensions and are priced around the same level, the Mokka’s style was enough to seal the deal for me.

When buying a new Mokka, you get the choice of three trim levels if you want a traditional combustion engine, or two if you opt for the fully electric Vauxhall Mokka Electric. I went for the former, and mid-level GS trim, which comes with a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system (versus 7.0in on the entry-level Design model) 18in alloy wheels (16in on Design) and adds a rear ‘panoramic’ parking camera system to help avoid any embarrassing parking scrapes. That’s handy, because over-the-shoulder visibility in the Mokka isn’t the best.

True, upgrading to the range-topping Ultimate model would have brought adaptive cruise control, adaptive LED headlights and some nice Alcantara seat trim, but forgoing those items and going for the GS keeps the Mokka’s price on the right side of £30,000.

Vauxhall Mokka gear stick

My Mokka’s 134bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine is the most powerful in the line-up, so I’m hoping it will see off long motorway journeys with little fuss. And since I’ve always preferred having three pedals, choosing the six-speed manual gearbox over the automatic option was a no-brainer. That the manual is also £1645 cheaper was merely the icing on that particular cake.

As a senior videographer for the What Car? YouTube channel, I’ll be pushing the limits of the Mokka’s 350-litre boot to fit all my equipment on board, and travelling up and down the country to various shooting locations on a variety of roads. Those include tight London streets, like the one I live on – another reason why I went for a small SUV rather than something larger.

So, how am I getting on with the car? Well, it’s early days, but I’ve been struck by how sporty the Mokka feels from behind the wheel. This is partly because of the way you’re cocooned by the relatively high door and centre console. Plus, its racy character is emphasised by faux-carbonfibre detailing, which could easily look and feel flimsy, but is actually solid to the touch and pleasingly premium to look at.

Driving the Vauxhall Mokka

As for the rear seats, those have been fine for ferrying the odd mate around town. However, my Mokka is about to face a bigger challenge, because I’m planning a road trip to the South of France with four adults and everything they want to take with them – and nobody wants to pack light. To find out how the Mokka copes, stay tuned for my next report.

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