Vauxhall's facelifted Mokka X more all-rounder than X factor
PUBLISHED: 14:48 21 January 2017
Vauxhall's Mokka X may be a facelifted model but it launches a new range of SUVs and crossovers. says motoring editor Andy Russell.
Two things struck me while driving Vauxhall’s new Mokka X.
The first was how many you see – the UK is the biggest market in Europe for the original Mokka with more than 120,000 sold since 2012 – and the second was that the new model doesn’t look that different.
Maybe I had been expecting a new X factor for this sport utility vehicle but the X tag introduces Vauxhall’s new crossover range with Mokka X being joined this year by Crossland X and Grandland X.
So what’s new?
The exterior facelift covers bumpers, lights and easily-changed panels, like the grille, to give it Vauxhall’s latest design cues.
Inside, there’s a new dashboard, inspired by the latest Astra, which is smarter and simpler with, thankfully, fewer fiddly buttons and many functions controlled via the new-generation infotainment system’s touch screen.
Engines are also upgraded with a new 152PS 1.4-litre turbo petrol and LED adaptive forward lighting and LED tail lights are also available.
How does it drive?
Comfort has clearly been the brief with supple suspension ironing out irregular road surfaces and cushioning occupants from the bump-thump of potholes and raised roadwork ridges.
The downside is the Mokka X isn’t particularly rewarding to drive compared to many rivals in this highly-competitive market. It’s competent through corners but soft suspension creates noticeable body roll and light steering, while ideal when parking, lacks feel and feedback.
Space and comfort
Given the size of the Mokka, there’s enough legroom and loads of headroom in the back for average adults, but four tall passengers might have to compromise, and fitting three adults in the back is cosy.
The 356-litre boot is smaller than many rivals but it’s well shaped, with flat sides, so it’s all useable space. With no spare wheel, there’s good underfloor storage too.
The high boot floor is flush with the sill so you can slide large loads in and out but maximising the load bay is not as straightforward as many rivals where you just pull a lever and the seats backs drop flat. The Mokka X feels old fashioned in having to flip the seat cushions upright to fold the backs flat – it’s even more fiddly if the front seats are slid right back.
At the wheel
The tidier, straightforward fascia is a big improvement but, while the driver’s seat and steering wheel have a lot of adjustment, I found the cushion too long and high at the front. And I was surprised to still see a handbrake, rather than an electronic parking brake, as part of the dashboard declutter.
Touch points on top of the doors and fascia are padded plastics but they’re not so appealing lower down.
Under the bonnet
The headline is the new 152PS 1.4 turbo petrol, only with all-wheel drive and automatic transmission, but the recently-introduced 1.6-litre ‘Whisper Diesel’ in 110 and 136PS guises will be the pick for fleets and many retail customers.
The more powerful turbo diesel I tried lives up to the name – refined, quiet and surprisingly brisk especially in the mid range. Fuel economy is excellent, certainly in the front-wheel drive model, with 55-60mpg overall and 68mpg on a gentle run, helped by the engine picking up cleanly from low revs for smooth, relaxing progress.
The facelift has improved this already smart-looking SUV but it doesn’t have the driving appeal of some rivals. The Mokka X is very much middle of the road, a capable all-rounder, and that’s why it has wide-ranging appeal.
Price: Vauxhall Mokka X Design Nav 1.6 CDTi 136PS £19,915 (range from £17,640)
Engine: 1,598cc, 136PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-60mph 9.3 seconds; top speed 118mph
MPG: Urban 58.9; extra urban 70.6; combined 65.7
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate:
Insurance group: 14E (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,275mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,038mm; H 1,658mm