Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV review
"The new electric Vauxhall Mokka-e looks great and is designed to feel like a petrol car"
- Smart design
- Generous kit list
- Fast charging available
- Not much fun to drive
- Small boot
- Costly top models
If you were put off the previous Vauxhall Mokka X by its dowdy design and fossil fuel-burning engines, the Vauxhall Mokka-e couldn't be much more different. Almost everything but the badge has changed; the styling is a lot smarter, there’s the very latest interior technology and a well-proven electric powertrain from Stellantis, the group that now owns Vauxhall. With all these improvements, you should be able to cast the old model out of your mind.
The Mokka-e is wider and lower than the old car, instantly giving it a more athletic stance. It also boasts a new family face, called 'Vauxhall Vizor' that has since been introduced to the facelifted Vauxhall Crossland and the new Vauxhall Astra. Based on the Opel GT X Experimental concept from 2018, it has a smooth grille designed to house a myriad of sensors elegantly and make the car appear wider. Both conventionally fueled and electric versions get a blank grille, so a couple of ‘e’ badges and a lack of an exhaust pipe are the only giveaways that this is the EV. Not everyone wants to shout about going electric.
While the standard Vauxhall Mokka has to fend off rivals from nearly every manufacturer, the Mokka-e has far fewer competitors, for now. The Mokka-e is mechanically identical to the Peugeot e-2008, Citroen e-C4 and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, and undercuts cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro on price. Our favourite small SUVs, the Renault Captur and Ford Puma, don’t offer EV versions (although the former does come with a plug-in hybrid option). The Mokka-e’s size and style might also lead you to cross-shop it with small electric superminis like the MINI Electric and Renault ZOE.
The Mokka-e manages a 209-mile range, and the battery can be topped up to 80% in just half an hour if you plug it in to a 100kW public charger. We’d imagine most customers would use a 7kW home wallbox more often, which takes around seven and a half hours to fully recharge the Vauxhall’s battery - meaning cheap overnight charges should be easy.
The range is middling for the class - the Mazda MX-30 and Kia Soul EV offer 124 and 280 miles respectively - and its acceleration figures don’t stand out either. Hitting 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds is relatively brisk, just not as impressive as some electric rivals. This, however, is a deliberate tactic on Vauxhall’s part as engineers have set up the throttle response to feel less urgent and more like that of a petrol or diesel car. It means that the Mokka-e might be appealing if you don’t enjoy being pinned back in your seat every time you pull away from the traffic lights.
The interior is all-new, and is what you can expect from the next generation of Vauxhall models. A configurable digital instrument cluster is standard on all but the base model, and it’s joined by a touchscreen that can measure up to 10 inches across. Smartphone connectivity is present and correct, while material quality is good in most places - there are soft-touch plastics in areas you’re likely to touch. The Mokka-e is quite small inside, though, offering more interior and boot space than a supermini but less than many small SUV rivals.
The Vauxhall Mokka-e doesn’t have a single standout reason why you’d buy one over a Peugeot e-2008, Kia e-Niro or MG ZS EV. But it doesn’t have anything glaringly wrong with it, either, and that the powertrain feels like a petrol car will appeal to drivers who are buying their first EV. Sitting it right in the middle of the pack with few faults and an attractive design is probably a recipe for strong sales. After all, the same was true of the last Mokka and that was always a big seller.
Range, charging & running costs
Thanks to its shared platform with the Vauxhall Corsa-e and Peugeot e-208, the Mokka-e gets the same 50kWh battery. This gives it a range of up to 209 miles in ideal conditions, making it competitive with models like the Peugeot e-2008. We've tested the Mokka-e on a relatively warm day in the UK, where it was showing a range of around 200 miles on its trip computer. However, the Mokka-e doesn't quite boast the range of the 64kWh Kia e-Niro, which is capable of around 280 miles from a single charge. The Mokka-e's range figure was improved slightly (up from 201 miles) in late 2021, thanks to minor tweaks to improve efficiency.
An onboard 11kW charger and mode 3 cable allows the Mokka-e to be fully charged in just over 7.5 hours using a home wallbox, or, if you can find a public 100kW rapid charger it can be topped-up from 15 to 80% in around 30 minutes. While 100kW chargers are still fairly rare in the UK, the charging infrastructure is growing rapidly thanks to government funding and investment from private firms like Instavolt, Shell Recharge and BP Pulse.
The charging flap is to the rear of the passenger side c-pillar, rather like a conventional petrol fuel filler cap. It has a series of LED lights that light up to help illuminate the charging port and indicate progress. Flashing green shows charging is in progress, while a solid green light shows the battery is fully charged. A blue light shows charging has been scheduled for later, while red indicates a fault.
The Mokka-e is the best in the range for company-car drivers, as it'll cost very little in Benefit-in-Kind tax. In December 2021, the threshold for the £1,500 Plug-in Car Grant was reduced to £32,000, so only versions of the Mokka-e with a starting price under this amount qualify for the discount.
Meanwhile, the three-year/60,000-mile warranty is similar to rival models, although the battery pack is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles. Vauxhall offers a three-year servicing package - but that may only cover two services as the Mokka-e needs an initial inspection after 8,000 miles or a year, and then needs servicing every 16,000 miles or two years thereafter. Another Mokka-e perk seems to be complimentary roadside assistance for eight years, which could add up to quite a saving.
Electric motor, drive & performance
Unlike some electric cars and hybrids that have several motors, the Mokka-e's layout is very simple. There's a single electric motor under the bonnet, driving the front wheels via just one forward gear. To set off, you simply choose drive or reverse, like in an automatic car or even a golf buggy for that matter. Unlike most EVs, you don’t get the feeling that all the power is there instantly, as Vauxhall has tried to make the car feel more like a standard petrol or diesel car in terms of its power delivery. Still, the 8.7-second 0-62mph time is quicker than any other petrol or diesel Mokka. Top speed is limited to 93mph - at which speed (were it legal) the battery would drain rather quickly.
There are three driving modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. Vauxhall describes Normal as 'balanced', with a compromise between performance and efficiency. Eco is for those situations when you need maximum range, so 'energy consuming' features are turned off and the torque of the motor and top speed are limited. Sport goes in the opposite direction, making the motor more responsive and liberating all of its available grunt.
We'd set it to Normal and leave the button alone; while the chassis doesn't really encourage you to utilise the extra power in Sport mode, Eco mode removes too much power, leaving the car feeling somewhat stunted with just 81bhp on tap. This is only really desirable around town or if you’re concerned about getting home or to a charger.
Like with the slightly reined-in acceleration, Vauxhall isn’t intent on making the Mokka the best-driving electric car. The setup is stable and predictable, but not particularly good at quick direction changes and slightly lacking in fun. The MINI Electric certainly has more agility, while the Mazda MX-30 is also more rewarding to drive.
Interior & comfort
Some electric models tend to be less comfortable than their petrol counterparts because a large battery requires stiffer suspension to cope with the extra weight. The Mokka-e is comfortable around town on 17-inch wheels, though, and only gets upset by really rough roads at higher speeds.
The old Mokka X had a rather dowdy interior, but it's all change for the latest generation Mokka. Gone are the dated instrument gauges, replaced by a digital dashboard measuring between seven and 12 inches depending on the trim level. It forms a horizontal swathe of information, joined by a touchscreen to its left, for a widescreen look that Vauxhall calls 'Pure Panel'. It's similar to the MBUX setup found in recent Mercedes models, albeit slightly more angled towards the driver.
DAB radio and Bluetooth are standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so no matter what phone you have, it should be possible to connect it with no issues. From SRi trim upwards, rear passengers will also be able to charge their portable devices, thanks to two rear USB ports.
The Mokka-e is available in SE Premium, SRi Premium, Elite Premium and Ultimate trims, with the latter replacing the lavish Launch Edition spec. SE might be less glitzy than the top-spec trims but it's fairly well equipped, thanks to 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen, LED lights, cruise control and automatic wipers.
SRi gets a more aggressive look, thanks to a black grille and badge, 18-inch wheels and a black roof. It also has a larger 10-inch touchscreen and 12-inch digital gauges, along with convenience features like adaptive cruise control. Elite Premium is less sporting, reverting back to 17-inch wheels, but with all the tech and convenience features of SRi. Meanwhile, there's also Ultimate, which only costs around £500 more than Elite Premium, and adds features like 18-inch alloy wheels, LED Matrix headlights, LED rear lights, privacy glass and a black roof.
Practicality & boot space
The boot measures 310 litres in volume, with 11 litres of space under the boot floor. That's the same as a petrol Vauxhall Corsa and 40 litres less than the standard Mokka. It’s a noticeable 70 litres less than you'd find in a family hatch like the Volkswagen Golf, so this is an SUV by name, not necessarily for how much it can haul. Fold down the rear seats and there's 1,060 litres available.
The mechanically identical DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, Citroen e-C4 and Peugeot e-2008 are all more practical; the Peugeot has more than 120 litres of extra boot space over the Mokka-e. Meanwhile, the Kia e-Niro has a boxier shape, and boot space is a more practical 382 litres. The Mokka-e's boot is, at least, far bigger than you'll find in a Honda e or MINI Electric.
Reliability and safety
While a combustion engine is full of moving parts, oil and fuel at incredibly high pressures and temperatures, all attached to a clutch and gearbox, an electric car has far fewer moving parts. In fact, the electric motor only drives a single forward gear, so the amount of wear and tear should be far less. There are advantages for the brakes and tyres too, because the dynamo effect of using the motor as a generator while slowing down decreases wear on consumables.
Over the last couple of years, Vauxhall had languished in second-bottom place in our Driver Power survey, but the marque has since become part of the Stellantis family of brands. It seems new ownership has brought about some improvements, with the brand coming 24th out of 29 manufacturers in 2021.
Every Mokka comes with an impressive roster of safety kit, including standard autonomous emergency braking designed to mitigate or prevent collisions at speeds between 3mph and 53mph. This can detect both vehicles and pedestrians. The Mokka-e should also be ideal for families, thanks to features such as ISOFIX rear child-seat mounting points and child-proof locks for the rear doors.