Vauxhall Mokka-e: Going green
The all-new Vauxhall Mokka is a stylish, modern small SUV with the option of a zero emission electric drivetrain. It's a taste of the future today, says William Scholes
IN one of the most dramatic transformations since Bob Dylan went electric, Vauxhall has rebooted its Mokka SUV into a distinctly modern, thoroughly developed and highly credible small SUV, writes William Scholes.
It's a strong package, with smart looks, bang up-to-date tech and, as well as a range of internal combustion engines, it has done a Dylan and gained a future-proofed electric version.
This is all so different from the original Mokka. When it arrived in 2012 it felt like it hadn't been finished properly, and that it was a Trojan horse pushed into showrooms to persuade punters that walking from A to B was preferable to travelling by car. Which it possibly was, if the Mokka was the car.
Vauxhall did get the Mokka sorted, eventually, and it went on to become a sales success.
Old Mokka was, whatever its dynamic and refinement failings, a chunkily handsome little thing, but New Mokka is in a different league in the looks department.
It stands out even in a class of car which is distinguished by a bunch of stylish offerings, including the Ford Kuga, Renault Captur and the 2008 from Vauxhall's stablemate Peugeot.
The headlights, grille and bold Vauxhall badge are placed behind a strip of glass - Vauxhall calls this a 'vizor' - and it helps give the car a sharp, modern look.
Two-tone colour schemes are offered and the Mokka is one of those vehicles that suits a bold shade, such as the 'Mamba Green' of the car in our pictures.
But the Mokka isn't just revolutionary on the inside. There are dramatic changes going on under the bonnet too, as you can now choose to have your Mokka served with an electric drivetrain.
The Mokka-e, as it is dubbed, uses the same 50kWh battery and 134bhp/192lb ft motor found in other electric Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroen DS models.
In Mokka-e guise, it's good for up to 201 miles according to the official figures. Experience tells me that this may well be a rather aspirational figure.
Still, it is more than sufficient to put the Mokka-e comfortably into contention as an alternative to a petrol or diesel car for most people, most of the time.
Installing a home charger, so you can top up the battery overnight, is essential to make the most of the car's potential, particularly as Northern Ireland's public network is kindly described as patchy.
An on-board 11kW charger helps things along, too. A 7kW wallbox-type domestic charger will take between seven and eight hours to fully charge a flat battery.
Hook up to a 22kW public charger, and a full charge should take five hours. Track down one of Northern Ireland's 50kW rapid chargers, and in theory an 80 per cent charge should take 45 minutes.
The car also supports 100kW DC charging, but good luck finding one of those...
Meanwhile, Vauxhall says the lithium-ion battery is backed by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.
The new Mokka isn't just revolutionary on the inside. There are dramatic changes going on under the bonnet too, as you can now choose to have your Mokka served with an electric drivetrain
The Mokka-e gets three driving modes, each with different driving and energy consumption characteristics.
Eco mode limits power to 60 per cent, or around 82bhp, and torque to 132lb ft, in a bid to maximise range.
Normal mode gives you access to 109bhp and 162lb ft, which Vauxhall reckons is ideal for daily driving duties.
You need to flick the Mokka-e into sport mode to get access to the drivetrain's full 134bhp and 192lb ft. Lean on this too hard and range will inevitably suffer.
An app allows you to schedule delayed charging, though this can be set up from inside the car as well.
New Mokka is actually 12cm shorter than Ye Olde Mokka, but is more spacious and significantly lighter, by around 120kg.
The boot volume is 350 litres no matter what powertrain you opt for - the Mokka has been designed from the ground-up to be electric, so the batteries and motor are accommodated without eating into passenger or loadspace.
The most eye-catching feature of a well thought through interior is the digital dashboard, which Vauxhall calls a 'pure panel'.
It consists of two widescreen digital displays, with the one in front of the driver measuring up to 12 inches in size. It is a model of clarity and ease of use.
There's a general lack of clutter and switches on the dashboard, another way the new Mokka is far removed from the original.
Thankfully, the heating system is still controlled via knobs, which are more intuitive to operate than the touchscreens found elsewhere.
Non-e Mokka models get a choice of engines including Peugeot's sweet three-cylinder turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol, offered in 99bhp/151lb ft and 128bhp/170lb ft guises.
For those who must, a 109bhp/184lb ft 1.5-litre diesel is also available.
There's a choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic on the piston-engined cars; swapping gears isn't an issue on the single-speed electric version.
The new Mokka is a fine package, and such a vast improvement on its predecessor that Vauxhall must have seriously debated whether to give it a different name altogether
Trim levels follow Vauxhall's traditional structure, running from SE to Ultimate Nav through - deep breath - SRi, SRi Nav Premium, Elite Nav and Elite Nav Premium. A swish Launch Edition caps the range for a limited time.
Entry-level SE models get 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch colour touchscreen and automatic emergency braking.
Next up is SRi trim which adds 18-inch wheels, black contrast details and cruise control, while SRi Nav Premium brings satellite navigation and a 10-inch touchscreen.
Elite Nav models gain rear parking sensors and a 180-degree parking camera, and moving up Elite Nav Premium brings a 12-inch driver instrument cluster.
Finally, Ultimate Nav adds keyless entry, wireless mobile phone charging, 18-inch alloy wheels and LED matrix headlights.
The Mokka-e is available in SE Nav Premium, SRi Nav Premium and Elite Nav Premium grades.
Petrol and diesel Mokka models start from £20,740, with the bells-and-whistle Launch Edition priced from £28,650.
The Mokka-e SE Nav Premium starts from £30,540, including the government's £2,500 plug-in car grant, and the Launch Edition from £32,495.
The SRi models are expected to be the most popular. An SRi Nav Premium with the 128bhp petrol engine and automatic gearbox costs from £27,455; the Mokka-e equivalent, which has broadly the same power and also sports a no-hands transmission, costs £32,435 after the grant.
That £5k premium sounds hefty but should an EV fit into your lifestyle, expectations and usage patterns, then the running costs compared to the piston car will narrow the gap.
There's also a smoothness and ease to an electric car driving experience which, frankly, feels premium and worth the extra outlay.
The new Mokka is a fine package, and such a vast improvement on its predecessor that Vauxhall must have seriously debated whether to give it a different name altogether.
Offering the car with a seamlessly integrated electric drivetrain as well as a bunch of frugal petrol and diesel engines feels like a smart move.
Vauxhall has taken the same approach with the Corsa, and in doing so has stolen a march on traditional rivals like Ford and Volkswagen.
If the future is electric, then the Mokka-e is a car of the future you can buy today.