Test Drive by Graham Breeze
“X” really does mark the spot for Vauxhall with the arrival of the Mokka X as the first model to introduce the segment marker symbol for all future SUV and Crossover vehicles from the company.
The Mokka X arrival builds on the popularity of the Mokka model, with a fresh new interior and updated exterior design, a new powertrain and featuring Vauxhall OnStar and Apple CarPlay.
You have to hand it to bosses at Vauxhall for taking the decision to improve the Mokka because the model has already surpassed sales expectations since launch and remains one of the top 10 cars sold in the UK.
It would have been an easy option to relax and bask in the glory of success in the competitive SUV B-Sector but Vauxhall is looking to strengthen its position with the arrival of new X branding.
Now Mokka gets a bold new look with a wider and solid looking stance and sculptured lines all-round, combined with a dashboard stolen from the Astra, a revised instrument panel and cutting-edge connectivity levels.
Vauxhall would argue that the changes were essential to stay ahead of the game with Ford Kuga, Renault Captur and Nissan Qashqai all presenting formidable opposition in the sector.
The new Mokka X introduces a new powertrain to the segment, adding the 1.4-litre Direct Injection Turbo (152PS) petrol unit to the range, in addition to the much-lauded 1.6-litre ‘Whisper Diesel’ engine introduced last year.
The 1.4-litre Turbo is available with manual or six-speed automatic transmission, as well as adaptive all-wheel drive and start/stop. The petrol engine can achieve up to 47.1mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 140g/km.
On test though was the extremely impressive 1.6CDTi 110PS, ecoFlex with a top speed of 112mph, 0-60mph in 11.5seconds, amazing combined fuel figures of 72.9mpg and CO2 levels of just 103g/km.
This Mokka X test car came with attractive 17 inch alloys, alloy-effect protective front skid plate, side protection mouldings and silver-effect roof rails to make it stand out in any company
In the cabin the centre stack has been redeveloped completely around the eight-inch touchscreen of the new generation infotainment systems with all functions accessible at a touch.
There’s a leather covered steering wheel which is adjustable for both reach and rake, a front centre armrest, 60/40 split flip and fold rear seats, climate control, cruise control, high beam assist, rain-sensitive wipers, electrically controlled heated door mirrors and remote central locking.
Safety is taken very seriously at Vauxhall and the Mokka gets electronic stability control, anti-lock braking, traction control, hill-start assist, tyre pressure monitoring, all-round airbags and a remote control alarm system.
Vauxhall majors on keeping its customers connected and the Mokka gets the company’s OnStar system which keeps you in touch turning the car into a 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi hotspot unless of course you are on some obscure hillside in Mid Wales where even a phone signal is a luxury - let alone the internet.
But when OnStar works it is a great facility and when paired with smartphone projection and Bluetooth is a valuable safety tool to have in the locker.
With an electromagnetic multi-plate clutch, the all-wheel drive technology is clever and efficient. The front-wheel drive only or all-wheel drive settings adapt automatically based on the road conditions, benefitting fuel consumption.
There are more interesting drives to be had in the SUV sector. I found the Mokka’s handling is a bit wishy-washy for my taste when pushed on tight mountain roads but in town there were few problems and the car proved particularly easy to park with help from the sensors.
With an on-the -road price tag of £19,565 the Mokka X is likely to prove a big seller for Vauxhall during 2017. You’ll be hard pressed to find any opposition with the same credentials at that price.