Extended test: 2021 Vauxhall Mokka SRi Nav Premium review

Extended test: Vauxhall Mokka SRi Nav Premium review 2021

Is the heavily revamped Mokka as good as it looks?

More Info

Model Vauxhall Mokka SRi Nav Premium 1.2 130PS Turbo Auto
Price From £27,455 OTR
Price with options £27,775 OTR
Colour White Jade
Cost options fitted Brilliant Paint: White Jade (£320)
Engine 1,199cc, 3-cylinder, petrol
Power output 128bhp at 5,500rpm
Torque 169 lb ft at 1,750rpm
Weight 1,740kg (gross)
Towing capacity 1,200kg (braked)
Luggage capacity 350 / 1,105 litres (seats up/ down)
Top speed 124mph
0-62mph 7.5sec
Fuel consumption (WLTP combined cycle) 47.1mpg – 47.9mpg
CO2 emissions (WLTP) 137g/km
VED (road tax) £220 for first year; £150 thereafter
BIK tax payable (2020/21) 30%; £1,685 (20%) or £3,370 (40%)
Insurance group 18E

Test Details

Test period May — November 2021
Starting mileage 1,097 miles

June 10: Introducing the Vauxhall Mokka

Extended test: 2021 Vauxhall Mokka SRi Nav Premium review

You’ll probably recognise the new Vauxhall Mokka. Stellantis, Vauxhall’s new(ish) parent company, has seemingly ploughed its entire advertising budget into ensuring that it’s the new car we hear about and see the most: there are billboards, radio ads, glossy pages in magazines and a confusing TV advert featuring some nightmarish pigeon/ human monstrosities that kept popping up when I was trying to watch old episodes of Love Island the other day.

And to be honest, its prominence is understandable: the Mokka — previously called the Mokka X — used to be an ill-proportioned (albeit best-selling) lump of a car, whose snout always reminded me somewhat of a pitbull’s from a certain angle. Now, however, it is a handsome, proud and assertively stylish compact crossover — more sightly, I’d say, than any of its competitors, including the similarly-styled Peugeot 2008 on which it is based. A few people at the pub across from my parking spot have even posited that it has a certain Evoque vibe to it. Just don’t tell Land Rover that, for goodness sake.

The new Mokka is based on the GT X Experimental concept from 2018, and, aside from some of the more outré elements like Meriva-esque suicide doors and lack of B-pillars, the production model adheres to the concept an impressive amount — highlights include quirkily designed wheels pushed out to the edge of the silhouette, the new-era “Vauxhall Vizor” front fascia and a swoosh of colour that begins just in front of the A-pillar and ends at the rear of the car. You can even specify the black bonnet from the concept, if you wish, though that option doesn’t yet seem to be available on Vauxhall- (rather then Opel) badged versions of the car.

The Vauxhall GT X concept

There are four colours to choose from in this bells-and-whistles SRi Nav Premium spec — quartz grey, which comes free, then Jade White (jade is usually green, isn’t it?), Diamond Black (diamonds are usually colourless, aren’t they?) and Power Red, all of which will cost you an extra £320.

The Jade White in which our test car is painted looks great, and definitely adds to the Evoque look those pub patrons were on about, though my favourite colour is the new and verdant Mamba Green. However, for now at least, that colour seems to only be available in the more spartan SE spec.

Overall, it’s top marks to Vauxhall’s design team for what I’d say has been a successful and dramatic change in Vauxhall’s aesthetic ethos, but part of me does wonder how well the car will age, and whether or not I’ll tire of the abundance of red accenting as my time with the Mokka goes on.

Having said that, there’s a 2017 Citroën C3 with a white-and-red colour scheme parked around the corner from me, and I think that’s ageing very well, despite its fussy design.

Extended test: 2021 Vauxhall Mokka SRi Nav Premium review

The Mokka comes in three flavours: petrol, diesel and electric. Living in central London, I don’t have access to a home charger, and racing every plug-in car in the local area to the only street charger on my road isn’t super high on my to-do list. And although, being Euro 6 compliant, the diesel Mokka doesn’t have to pay charges in London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), diesels are — to put it mildly — dwindling in popularity. Trusty old petrol it is, then. However, if you do want to find out more about the electric Mokka, you can do so in Driving.co.uk editor Will Dron’s review of the car.

Living in central London means I have little use for a car day-to-day — the city’s overlords, through an expansion of bike lanes and a series of charges that will make your wallet wince (although this car, as a modern petrol, is ULEZ-approved) have succeeded in making driving in London an abjectly dehumanising experience, and it’s far quicker, easier and cheaper to use the tube or other public transport (you will never catch me on a bicycle) to see friends or travel to work — the latter of which I haven’t done in more than a year anyway.

However, I have a few friends on the outskirts of London and in surrounding areas, while my family live a three or four hour drive away in Cheshire. Also, now that we’re allowed to mingle throughout the nation, I’ve got plans to see friends further afield, as well as plans for a trip up to Scotland, as long as Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t stick a thistle through those.

My mum is also moving house next month, which will give me opportunity to test the Mokka’s efficiency as a practical vehicle — on paper, the boot size is between 350 litres (rear seats up) and 1,105 litres (rear seats down), which puts the Mokka at the stingier end of its segment.

So I’ll be using the car mostly to potter around north London, with trips every month or so up the M1. That means that I’ll be paying particular attention not only to its performance as a city car, but also as a motorway cruiser. A good starting point is that Vauxhall’s designers have reduced drag at motorway speeds by 16%, which improves fuel efficiency and reduces wind noise.

Extended test: 2021 Vauxhall Mokka SRi Nav Premium review

My initial drives, which have included a visit back up north to see family and friends, have been mostly positive experiences — the cabin of the Vauxhall is a nice place to be, the infotainment system is fairly easy to use, and the relative lack of wind noise, good fuel efficiency and adaptive cruise control mean that I’ve been mightily impressed with the Vauxhall as a long-distance option. However, I’ll focus more specifically on what the Mokka is like to drive in a later installation of this review.

There have been a few early drawbacks. Firstly, and most annoyingly, is that it’s not obvious how to open the boot without using the button on the key fob, which is infuriating if you’ve got armfuls of stuff to put in there. There must be a way — I’m sure you’ll let me know in the comments below — but why is it so hidden?

Furthermore, one of my housemates took one look at the rear seats and decided they’d be flying up to Scotland in July, but to be honest I wouldn’t expect any compact SUV’s rear seats to comfortably house a nearly-6ft person for a seven hour trip — and he’d get annoying after that amount of time anyway, so Vauxhall has done me a favour, really. To be honest, I think space back there is satisfactory, if not generous. But I’m not the one who has to sit there.

Mileage today 1,720 miles
Distance since start 623 miles
Average consumption 43.4mpg

As always with our extended tests, you can ask questions at any time via my Twitter account or in the comments below.