The informed choice
ALWYN VILJOEN checks where the Mokka slots into the crossover competition.
OPEL’S month to month sales were up a whopping 122% in June, with notable performances from the trio of newcomers the ADAM, Corsa, and Mokka, which sold 169, 277, 191 units respectively.
Wheels drove two of those Mokkas, both the 1,4 manual and auto in Enjoy cladding; and can report there is a lot to like, alongside a few ja-well-no-fine points.
Stand out on the school run
Among the likes, top of the list is the exclusivity the Mokka offers.
Nobody buys a crossover to blend in. We pick them because they stand out, literally and figuratively, between the hatches and bulkier Sport Utility Vehicles.
With such buying criteria, the most popular vehicle in this pack quickly loses its new allure to the bulk buyers, setting trendsetters free to look elsewhere for lesser spotted lines. This is where the Mokka now sits pretty. With only 191 sold in June, it still lags a little below that of crossover rivals like the slightly cheaper Nissan Qashqai and more expensive Mazda CX 5, and it is well below the sales of SA’s most popular crossover, the Ford EcoSport, which sold to 740 new owners in June.
The second like is Opel’s Intellilink infotainment system with its seven inch touch screen that doubles as a screen for the optional rear view camera and can display photos via USB.
I have recently given up trying to pair a phone in the Maxus, and admit to always having to fiddle with Ford’s system, but to link up all your music and photos in the Mokka, just select phone pairing, scroll down to select the Mokka on your phone, press yes, and you’re connected.
Six speakers provide good sound and the radio comes standard with an auxillary port.
Really, really comfy seats
The third like is the use of space. The Mokka is built on the Corsa platform, which makes parking at the mall easy, but its upright stance creates a lot of room inside. The 356-litre boot can pack 105 litres more than the Juke’s 251 litres and leg room at the rear is ample. The front seats have adjustable lumbar support and squabs that extend for longer thighs. Opel states the Mokka’s front seats have been approved by doctors and therapists of the ARG, an organisation for the Action for Healthy Backs. I spent three hours straight in these seats and the old break on my tail-bone, which makes me super-sensitive to badly designed seats, did not even twinge.
Not for deep ruts
Among the ja-well-no-fines are the over-sell on the Mokka’s intrepidness in the wild. Opel boasts on its website the Mokka has “go anywhere ability”, so we took it there.
On reasonable gravel roads the high sidewalls on the 16 inch wheels do smooth out rough sections and won’t puncture at the first pothole. But the McPhersons up front and rear torsion bars are set up for soft cruising, not deep ruts, and we turned back before we got to the narrow farm tracks, not wanting to put scratches on those curved flanks. The Mokka is a city slicker that can handle dry and reasonably smooth gravel roads, not an axle-bender.
Cruise, don’t bruise
The 1,4 litre Turbo engine produces 103 kW and 200 Nm, which is more power for the price when compared to the Qashqai and EcoSport.
But with me and mine loaded, the Mokka weighs over two tons, and you’ll want to work that manual gear lever if you are the hurried type, for the auto is anything but sprightly, (I lost count after 15 seconds during the 0-100 dash, when the wife told us to drive responsibly). While no robot racer, clever management of the Mokka’s 200 Newtons does make for relaxed cruising. We got just over 9 l/100 km in the urban crawl, but then I will insist on deselecting the stop/start function. On the open road, I got this down to below 7l/100 km.
It’s all relative
Opel has strategically priced the Mokka to offer the most power for the price, making this the informed buyer’s choice. Among its competitors, Ford’s entry level 1,5 EcoSport sells for a whopping R74 600 less than the Mokka, which explains why almost 30 EcoSports were sold each working day last month, but with only 138 Nm at higher revs, the emphasis is on the eco, not the sport.
Nissan’s gorgeous new Qashqai starts at only R600 less than the Mokka, but between the lights its frugal 1,2 (85 kW/190 Nm) will struggle even more than the Mokka’s little 1,4 mill.
The 2,0 Mazda CX5 (121 kW/210 Nm) offers the best power to weight ratio among the cross overs, but also costs R31k more than the Mokka.
Opel offers a five-year or 120 000 km warranty, a five-year or 90 000 km service plan, with intervals every 12 months or 15 000 km.
1,4T Enjoy R288 500 1,4T Enjoy auto R298 500 1,4T Cosmo R325 500 1,4T Cosmo auto R335 500 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Those high wheels on the Opel Mokka crossover can get you places, but avoid deep ruts.