More frappuccino than espresso
The perky triple fizzes and gargles, delivering its power in an easily usable way It looks very of-the-moment. There are some lovely details, and the engine punches above its weight. But as an overall package… By Jake Groves
First impressions mean a great deal. My Mokka gleaned many ooohs and aaaaahs when it arrived, with its impactful face and red trimmings.
Second impressions were good too. The interior, while plasticky in places, has a good (ie low) seating position and a no-nonsense approach to putting the most important controls within reach and ensuring information is easily readable. The physical climate dials are simple to use, the instruments are simple to read (even if they look tremendously dull) and there are quick-access buttons for tech like the (largely unused) steering assist for the adaptive cruise and the start/stop (which I usually switched off). Even the infotainment, which I expected to be a nuisance, ended up being less of a fiddle once I was used to it.
The engine is really perky – fizzing and gargling under the bonnet, delivering its power in an easily usable way, with a characterful engine note to match.
But there are plenty of gripes. At low speeds the auto ’box frequently made me feel like a learner at T-junctions waiting for the right gear to kick in. The door sills are too high and the tailgate button is in a stupid place. And the ride, particularly over the rear axle, irritated at low speeds with endless jolts and jittering – as if the Mokka’s had too much caffeine. It settles on motorway cruises.
The biggest grumble, however, is interior space. My colleague Tom Wiltshire found it claustrophobic when he borrowed it for a few days, and I’m inclined to agree. While the ‘shallow glasshouse’ (as designers call it) looks cool from the outside, it makes the inside feel gloomy and tight. As I found on a trip to Northern Ireland, fully loaded with people and stuff, the boot is one of the smallest in the baby-crossover segment. As for rear space… I may as well have run a Corsa. For a car aimed at families, it’s cramped.
As I grab a coffee and reflect on my time with the Mokka, I have an epiphany. It’s like those cream- and syrup-laced buckets of calories with barely any coffee in them that are so popular at big coffee chains – the opposite of the wake-up call a double espresso can be. A bit showy, but very on-trend.
If that’s what Vauxhall was aiming for with the Mokka, then it’s a huge success. @_jakegroves
Count the cost
Cost new £27,755 Part-exchange £23,550 Cost per mile 17.7p Cost per mile including depreciation 51.1p