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In-depth reviews

Vauxhall Mokka review – a stylish and good-value small SUV

"The Vauxhall Mokka has a sharp design and low running costs, but it's not especially practical for an SUV"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Price
£21,555 - £34,030

Pros

  • Striking design
  • Efficient engines
  • Much improved interior

Cons

  • Cramped rear seats
  • No sliding rear bench
  • Lack of driver involvement

Verdict – is the Vauxhall Mokka a good car?

The latest Vauxhall Mokka is a step forward over the previous model, with an attractive and fresh exterior design that leads the way for the rest of the Vauxhall range. Its improved interior makes it a nicer place to be than the old car, although the rear seats are rather cramped. All in all, although the Mokka isn’t a class-leader in terms of practicality, it is an attractive small SUV with a higher driving position than the Vauxhall Astra. Any version of the Mokka is economical, and it’s even offered as a fully-electric car for those after even lower running costs.

Vauxhall Mokka models, specs and alternatives

The Vauxhall Mokka and Mokka X have been important cars for the brand, helping it jump on the SUV bandwagon, with more than 200,000 buyers in the UK alone. But, the old car wasn't great to drive, and its ageing engines weren't especially refined or efficient.

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With entirely new underpinnings, engines and the option of an all-electric powertrain for the first time, the latest Mokka is a very different proposition. It's impossible to confuse the two, thanks to a sharp design, and the arresting 'Vauxhall Vizor' front end, which is how you can expect all future Vauxhall models to look. A single black band makes up the grille, flanked by narrow LED headlights for an ultra-modern look. The crossover market is fiercely fought, but the Mokka stands out next to the Ford Puma, Renault Captur, Skoda KamiqNissan Juke and the Kia Niro, which is our reigning 2023 Carbuyer Car of the Year.

It might be around 120mm shorter this time but the Mokka's wheels have been pushed right out to the corners, so the gap between them is a few millimetres longer. It's also wider and lower for a more ground-hugging appearance, without sacrificing the fashionable SUV aesthetic.

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The interior is completely different too, ditching analogue gauges in favour of a digital approach. A central touchscreen and digital gauges flow together for a high-tech look that should appeal to savvy buyers, and measure 10-inches and 12-inches respectively from GS trim.

The Mokka has lots of appeal as a family car, but while its 350-litre boot is a reasonable size, its rear seats are slightly cramped. It has a pretty straightforward engine range, with a choice between petrol or electric power – the diesel engine is no longer available to order. Compared to the Nissan Juke, which is available with a sole petrol engine. 

There are two six-speed manual versions of Vauxhall’s 1.2-litre petrol engine, with either 99bhp or 134bhp, while a third offers 128bhp and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's a smooth, efficient engine, and we think the more powerful manual is the pick for most drivers. When it was still available, the 1.5-litre diesel cost more upfront, and it was best suited to motorway drivers, while the pure-electric Mokka Electric that we've reviewed separately has its own list of merits.

Trim levels have already changed a few times since launch, but now start with Griffin and move up to GS and Ultimate, but we suspect many buyers will stick with Griffin because it’s around £6k cheaper, starting from just over £21,500. The Ultimate trim is expensive and most Mokka buyers won't expect features like Alcantara upholstery in a small SUV. Griffin gets a solid kit list and contrasting black roof, while the mid-trim GS adds larger digital screens and Ultimate brings features such as adaptive headlights and even a massaging driver’s seat.

Spring 2023 saw the arrival of a Mokka Black special edition, available to order online. The Black Edition is only available with the higher-powered manual and automatic versions of the petrol Mokka, and not the Mokka Electric. These models are based on GS trim and get darker exterior tweaks, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 12-inch digital dash and 10-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, panoramic reversing camera with rear parking sensors, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

Vauxhall hasn't skimped on the safety kit, loading the Mokka with standard autonomous emergency braking that's active between 3mph and 53mph. Top trims also gain features like blind-spot monitoring and LED Matrix headlights that adapt to the road and traffic conditions.

Overall, the Vauxhall Mokka is a big improvement on its predecessor; it’s more stylish, better to drive and is available as a fully electric car. It's also pretty good value, especially if you stick to the lower trims, which are well-equipped.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 Turbo 100 Griffin 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,555

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.2 Turbo Hybrid 136 Griffin 5dr e-DCT6
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £25,320

Fastest

  • Name
    1.2 Turbo Hybrid 136 Griffin 5dr e-DCT6
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £25,320

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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