Vauxhall Mokka review

Category: Small SUV

The Mokka small SUV is generously equipped but there are more well-rounded rivals available

White Vauxhall Mokka front right driving
  • White Vauxhall Mokka front right driving
  • White Vauxhall Mokka rear cornering
  • Jonty Renk test driving Vauxhall Mokka
  • Vauxhall Mokka boot open
  • Vauxhall Mokka smart speedometer
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  • White Vauxhall Mokka alloy wheel detail
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  • Vauxhall Mokka interior front seats
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior dashboard
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior screens
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior back seats
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior detail
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior detail
  • White Vauxhall Mokka front right driving
  • White Vauxhall Mokka rear cornering
  • Jonty Renk test driving Vauxhall Mokka
  • Vauxhall Mokka boot open
  • Vauxhall Mokka smart speedometer
  • Vauxhall Mokka right driving
  • White Vauxhall Mokka front left driving
  • White Vauxhall Mokka right static
  • White Vauxhall Mokka alloy wheel detail
  • Vauxhall Mokka headlights detail
  • Vauxhall Mokka rear lights detail
  • White Vauxhall Mokka rear detail
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior front seats
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior dashboard
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior screens
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior back seats
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior detail
  • Vauxhall Mokka interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

We’d stop short of calling the Vauxhall Mokka a game-changer, but it has certainly helped change the car market by offering buyers on a budget a high-riding small SUV for a competitive price.

Under the skin, this second-generation model is closely related to the impressive Peugeot 2008 and comes with a similar line-up of engines.

You can have a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with one of three outputs – 99bhp, 128bhp and 134bhp – and either a manual or automatic gearbox.

So, does the Vauxhall Mokka have what it takes to compete against the best small SUV rivals – namely the keen-handling Ford Puma, the spacious Skoda Kamiq, the comfy VW T-Roc and a few others?

That’s what this review will tell you, as we rate it for performance and handling, practicality, running costs and more. We'll also tell you which trim and engine options we think are best.

Overview

The Vauxhall Mokka has lots of equipment and there's a range of frugal and efficient engines to choose from. There are more well-rounded choices in the small SUV class, though. The Skoda Kamiq, for example, is more spacious and comfortable, while the excellent Ford Puma is more exciting to drive and should be cheaper to run. If you do buy a Mokka, we think entry-level Griffin trim with the 1.2 Turbo 130 petrol engine is the best choice.

  • Impressive refinement
  • Well equipped
  • Grunty yet frugal petrol engines
  • Mediocre boot space
  • Clunky infotainment system
  • Not particularly sharp to drive
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Our Pick

OurPicksRRP £29,895
Vauxhall Mokka 1.2 Turbo GS 5dr Auto review
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

We've yet to try the Vauxhall Mokka's entry-level 99bhp 1.2-litre petrol (badged 1.2 Petrol 100PS), but the mid-spec 128bhp 1.2 Petrol 130PS feels perfectly suited to the model. There’s plenty of grunt at low revs and it can whisk you up to motorway speeds with little stress.

The most powerful version, the 1.2 Petrol 136PS, is only slightly faster than the automatic 128bhp version (0-60mph in 9.1sec as opposed to 9.2sec), but on paper, just about matches the Ford Puma 1.0 Ecoboost Hybrid 155PS. Even so, in the real world, the Puma feels much faster from a standstill and is more versatile when it comes to overtaking.

You can also do without an engine and have an all-electric Mokka – to read about that, see our Vauxhall Mokka Electric review.

Suspension and ride comfort

When driven on the kind of long, wavy undulations you find on motorways and A-roads, the Mokka, with its softly sprung suspension, is remarkably comfortable. Around town, it feels rather lumpen, with larger abrasions such as potholes and sunken drain covers rocking you around in your seat.

It stops short of being uncomfortable and certainly doesn’t thump or crash over divots as the Peugeot 2008 can do, but the Skoda Kamiq and the VW T-Roc are much more comfortable during city driving.

The standard-fit 18in alloy wheels that come with GS and Ultimate trim don’t help matters, and while we’ve yet to try the entry-level Griffin trim on 17in wheels, we suspect that version would have a softer edge over potholes and other road imperfections, making it the most comfortable of the bunch.

Vauxhall Mokka image
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White Vauxhall Mokka rear cornering

Handling

If you’re looking for a small SUV that'll plaster a smile across your face when the road gets tight and twisty, the Mokka is not the car for you. It's more prone to body lean than the Audi Q2 and the Puma, even at moderate speeds, and feels a little top-heavy when making quick changes of direction.

That said, it does feel better balanced (and is therefore more confidence-inspiring) through faster bends than the Citroën C3 Aircross. We also prefer the Mokka's steering to the 2008’s. It feels more naturally weighted and is more linear in its responses, making it easier to place the car accurately on country roads.

Noise and vibration

Road and suspension noise are well suppressed at speed, and while the 1.2-litre petrol engine makes a thrumming sound as you accelerate, it fades away at a cruise. There's a bit of wind noise around the windscreen pillars at motorway speeds, but it's not particularly intrusive.

We haven’t experienced the Mokka’s manual gearbox, but the eight-speed automatic gearbox that comes as standard with the 128bhp engine is perfectly acceptable. It changes up and down smoothly most of the time, and while it can be a little abrupt at parking speeds, the same is true of the autos found in the Audi Q2 and the VW T-Roc.

Driving overview

Strengths Punchy petrol engines; relatively quiet at a cruise; comfortable on the motorway

Weaknesses Not the sharpest handling; ride comfort could be better around town; automatic gearbox can be jerky

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

Like most small SUVs the Vauxhall Mokka isn’t a whole lot taller than a regular hatchback. However, the seats are mounted quite high up to give you more of a commanding view of the road, and the car has a tall bonnet that you can see from the driver’s seat, giving you the impression you’re driving a ‘proper’ SUV. 

You’ll find a good range of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel, for both reach and height, so you should be able to find a comfortable driving position, and you get adjustable lumbar support if you go for the top-spec Ultimate trim. That’s a bit of a shame when you consider that even the much cheaper entry-level Skoda Kamiq comes with manual lumbar adjustment.

The dashboard is well laid out and easy to get the hang of, with physical buttons and knobs for the climate control and media volume. We much prefer that to the way the Peugeot 2008 and some other rivals force you to use the touchscreen for the climate controls, which is far more distracting.

A 7.0in digital instrument display comes as standard, with a larger 12.0in display provided from GS trim and up. It's clear and easy to read, but can't show the same variety of information as the Kamiq's digital dials.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

The Mokka’s relatively high driving position helps to give you a decent view forwards and to the sides, and that's handy when navigating junctions. However, over-the-shoulder visibility is hampered by a rising window line and chunky rear pillars.

To make parking easier, rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are both standard with all trim levels. Front parking sensors, meanwhile, are reserved for the top-spec Ultimate trim.

Every Mokka comes with bright LED headlights and daytime running lights to aid night-time visibility. On top of that, Ultimate trim also gets LED front foglights and upgraded matrix adaptive LED headlights, which can shape their light output to avoid dazzling other road users while full beam is selected (an impressive feature that’s rare among small SUVs).

Jonty Renk test driving Vauxhall Mokka

Sat nav and infotainment

We’ve yet to try the 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system that comes as standard on the Mokka Griffin, but we have tried the larger 10.0in version that comes with GS trim and above.

Both include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, allowing you to bypass the Vauxhall software and use your phone’s interface instead. That's handy, because the built-in system is not the most intuitive to use, nor is it particularly responsive.

It does, however, have physical shortcut buttons plus a volume knob below the screen, making it less distracting than the touchscreen-only systems of some rivals, including the VW T-Roc.

Quality

However, if you take the time to poke and prod those materials, you’ll find they’re not as plush as the equivalents used in the Audi Q2 and the Peugeot 2008. Indeed, with the exception of leather inserts on the doors, almost every other surface is covered with hard and scratchy plastics. 

You also get some carbon-fibre looking elements but, again, in the Mokka they feel like hollow plastic, while the carbon-fibre trim you get in the 2008 is a soft-touch weave.

It’s also a shame that the buttons, switches and dials (which you touch rather a lot) feel cheap and unsubstantial.

Interior overview

Strengths Better driving position than Peugeot 2008; intelligently laid out dashboard

Weaknesses Infotainment not as slick as 2008’s; interior features too many cheap plastics

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

Even a six-footer will have plenty of head and leg room to get comfortable in the front of the Vauxhall Mokka. What’s more, the interior is wide enough that you won’t be rubbing shoulders with your front seat passenger. 

There’s plenty of storage space, too, including a generously sized glovebox and a couple of reasonably sized door bins. You also get a surprisingly large storage tray at the bottom of the dash that’s big enough to take a hefty wallet or a large smartphone.

Rear space

With its high window line, you do feel a little hemmed in sitting in the back of the Mokka. Unless you’re well over six feet tall, you'll have plenty of head room and enough leg room, but the middle seat is quite narrow and slightly raised, so this isn’t the best small SUV for carrying three passengers in the back.

Storage cubbies include a couple of small door bins and map pockets on the back of the seats (from GS trim and above) but there is no option of a rear centre armrest. If rear space is your priority, we'd point you towards the far more spacious Skoda Kamiq.

Vauxhall Mokka boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

As with the majority of cars in the small SUV class, the Mokka’s rear seat bench splits and folds in a traditional 60/40 configuration.

If you want a car with more carrying flexibility, there are better options out there, such as the Mini Countryman with its rear bench that folds in a more practical 40/20/40 split, the VW T-Roc with its standard-fit ski hatch, and the smaller VW T-Cross, which has a sliding rear bench. 

Front passenger seat height adjustment is standard on every Mokka, but there's no option of adjustable lumbar support for the passenger on any of the trims.

Boot space

Boot space in the Mokka is pretty unremarkable by class standards. There’s enough space for a weekly shop or a short family holiday, but the Ford Puma, the Renault Captur, the Seat Arona and especially the Skoda Kamiq offer more space. 

It’s rather handy that most models come with a height-adjustable boot floor – strangely, only mid-spec GS misses out. With it fitted, it allows you to separate the boot into two compartments, which is handy if you want to stop loose or particularly fragile items from rolling around in the boot. At its highest setting, it leaves only a small lip at the boot entrance.

If you need extra space, you can drop the rear seats and, providing you have the boot floor in its highest setting, there isn’t much of a step up to the seatbacks, making it easy to load long items.

Practicality overview

Strengths Most models have a height-adjustable boot floor; plenty of storage space up front

Weaknesses Ford Puma and Skoda Kamiq have bigger boots; rear seats don't do anything particularly clever

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

If you plan to buy outright, the entry-level Vauxhall Mokka looks like good value, undercutting all its rivals including the Ford Puma, Peugeot 2008 and Skoda Kamiq. The thing is, there’s a big jump up to mid-spec GS trim and the Mokka quickly starts to look expensive next to those same rivals. 

Better news is that the Mokka is predicted to hold on to its value better than the 2008 and Kamiq and only slightly faster than the Puma. That helps to keep PCP finance rates competitive, especially if you check out our new Vauxhall deals.

With relatively low official CO2 emissions, the Mokka makes a lot of financial sense for company car drivers paying benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. In our Real MPG tests the 1.2 Petrol 130 managed an average of 41.8mpg. Of course, if you want to keep your BIK payments really low, the Vauxhall Mokka Electric will be the one to go for.

Equipment, options and extras

The entry-level Mokka trim – called Griffin – has all the everyday basics covered and more. Indeed, it comes with 17in alloy wheels, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, cruise control, air conditioning, touchscreen infotainment and parking aids. It’s the one we’d go for. 

Meanwhile, mid-spec GS adds some more niceties into the mix, including larger 18in wheels, climate control, built-in sat-nav and the larger infotainment system. 

If you want your Mokka to come with all the toys, top-spec Ultimate trim is the one to go for. Along with the front parking sensors and the electric driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support and massage, you also get adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and keyless entry and start.

Vauxhall Mokka smart speedometer

Reliability

The second-generation Mokka was too new to have featured in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey but Vauxhall as a manufacturer didn’t fare particularly well at all, finishing 30th out of the 32 brands included.

Every new Vauxhall comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty. That’s average for the class, but not as generous as Hyundai, which covers you for five years or Kia which gives you up to seven years.

Safety and security

When it was tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP the Mokka scored four out of five stars. That’s quite disappointing, but it’s hard to compare the Mokka’s score with rival small SUVs because they were tested in different years and under different testing regimes.

Regardless, every Mokka comes with plenty of safety equipment as standard, including the all-important automatic emergency braking (AEB), which gets pedestrian detection as standard, and lane-keeping assistance.

Opting for the top-spec Ultimate trim gets you more safety equipment, with that trim adding blind-spot monitoring and a lane-positioning assistant (if you go for the automatic).

Costs overview

Strengths Reasonably well equipped

Weaknesses Vauxhall didn’t perform very well in our reliability survey


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FAQs

  • At 4151mm in length, the Mokka does indeed fall into our small SUV category. It’s also the smallest SUV that Vauxhall makes. The larger Vauxhall Grandland is in our family SUV category.

  • Yes, it's pretty good, although there are better all-rounders in the small SUV class, namely the Skoda Kamiq and VW T-Roc. That said, the entry-level Mokka has plenty of appeal, giving you lots of standard equipment for less cost than its rivals.

  • The first-generation Mokka managed to be popular despite not being great in any area, probably because of the available discounts. This second generation version looks sharper, gets the same discounts and is actually good. You can find those discounts by searching our New Car Deals pages.

  • Yes. Thanks to smooth engines and softly sprung suspension, the Mokka is easy to drive around every day. It's not particularly sporty, but it has sufficient levels of grip and balance on faster roads that you can easily drive it safely.

At a glance
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Target Price from £20,434
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From £15,995
RRP price range £21,555 - £42,045
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)5
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, electric
MPG range across all versions 46.3 - 57.6
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £59 / £2,033
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £118 / £4,066
Available colours