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Vauxhall Mokka SUV (2012-2016) - Engines, drive & performance

The Vauxhall Mokka is decent to drive and has some reasonable engines, although the gearboxes aren’t that impressive.

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3.2 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.2 out of 5

As it’s based on the same underpinnings as the Vauxhall Corsa supermini, the Vauxhall Mokka is fairly decent to drive. The steering is direct and well weighted, there's good grip in corners and – despite the standard 17-inch alloy wheels – the ride quality is also fairly good, though nowhere near as smooth as that of a Citroen C4 Cactus.

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Despite this, the Mokka isn't the most engaging car in the class to drive, with rivals like the MINI Countryman proving to be more entertaining from behind the wheel. The gearboxes – a notchy manual and a slow-to-shift automatic – also spoil the otherwise-competent driving experience.

On the plus side, the Mokka offers admirable all-round visibility, with a combination of large windows and big rear-view mirrors making it easier to navigate in tight spots than some competitors such as the Nissan Juke. That extra bit of ground clearance also enables the Mokka to tackle a bit of light off-roading, especially when the optional four-wheel-drive system is fitted.

Vauxhall Mokka petrol engines

Buyers who prefer petrol engines will be pleased to know the Mokka offers a choice of two: a 1.4 and a 1.6-litre, with the former featuring a turbocharger that boosts power without sacrificing the fuel efficiency you expect from a smaller engine.

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Those who want their Vauxhall Mokka with a bit of punch should definitely consider the turbocharged 1.4-litre. Not only is it the most powerful engine in the range, but it's also paired with a sportier suspension setup, which makes the Mokka handle better in corners. However, the trade-off for that stiffer suspension is that it gives the Mokka a bouncier ride than versions with the regular setup.

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It's also worth pointing out that while the 1.6-litre engine is only available with a five-speed manual transmission, the 1.4-litre is available with a choice of six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.

The 1.4-litre is also the only petrol engine that can be paired with the optional four-wheel-drive system (although you must choose the manual gearbox if you want this).

Diesel engines

Only one diesel engine is available in the Mokka range – a 1.6-litre. Despite this, it's also the most efficient choice and the one we recommend if you regularly do long journeys or rack up lots of motorway miles. It's one of Vauxhall's range of 'Whisper' diesel engines and it lives up to its name, settling down quietly once you're up to speed. It's also powerful enough for swift and safe overtaking.

Those who want the lowest possible running costs should also seriously consider this engine, as it’s the most efficient and cost-effective model in the range, with the most efficient versions able to return 68mpg and only costing £20 a year to tax.

Like the 1.4-litre petrol, the 1.6-litre diesel is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, with the latter only offered on front-wheel-drive models. And ticking the automatic or four-wheel-drive option boxes bumps up the annual road tax bill to £110 and £130 respectively, so we’d only suggest these two options if you really need them.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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