The Vauxhall Mokka represents an extremely promising first stab at the compact crossover market, writes Andy Enright. With a choice of three engines, auto and manual transmissions and front or four wheel drive chassis, the Mokka looks to have plenty of bases covered.
We've yet to get behind the wheel of the Mokka but Vauxhall has released some key details which we thought we'd share with you. It's clearly been designed for the urban environment but that's not to say the ability to be driven off-road has been totally neglected. To this end, Vauxhall wisely offers both front and four-wheel drive chassis options, with the all-wheel drive mechanicals being fully adaptive. When the vehicle's being driven on smooth, dry surfaces, all drive is sent to the front wheels for optimum efficiency but when the road surface is slippery, as much as 50 per cent of the drive is automatically diverted to the rear axle. There's not even that much of a weight penalty for choosing the four wheel drive version as the mechanicals add a mere 65kg, which isn't going to put too big a ding in emissions and economy figures.
Buyers get to choose between three engines – two petrols and a solitary diesel powerplant. The petrol range opens with a 115PS, 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated unit while for those who hanker after a bit more overtaking power, there's a 140PS 1.4-litre Turbo with 200Nm of torque. The diesel's certainly worth a look as it's good for 130PS. The 1.7 CDTI turbodiesel also manages 300Nm of torque. The 1.7 CDTI can be ordered with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 1.4 Turbo is respectably quick, registering 60mph from rest in 9.6 seconds, which is half a second quicker than the all-wheel drive diesel and exactly the same time as the front-wheel drive oil burner.
There's a lot of promise about the Vauxhall Mokka. It looks good, it's well equipped and it offers buyers a number of well thought out options. Some may be disappointed that entry-level pricing wasn't a bit lower and although the design is handsome, it's not what you'd call head turning. Still, it looks to be one of those car shapes that will age very well while more radical competitors date rapidly.
Vauxhall has had the benefit of coming late to this compact crossover segment and has watched the market mature a little, shaking out some credible rivals along the way. Although the company has taken its time, I have a feeling the Mokka might well be one of their more heartening new car stories.