VAUXHALL is currently passing through an impressive phase in its manufacturing cycle with a range of good cars in most sectors and models with some very interesting and unusual names rather than confusing numbers that certain manufacturers prefer writes Bryan Longworth.
A recent Vauxhall I tested was called the Adam with the one before that being the Maloo and now I have just been driving the Mokka which according to a Google search can mean various things including coffee beans but whichever meaning you go for I consider it is a natty name for the Korean built SUV and I much prefer names to numbers.
Vauxhall state that Mokka which can be bought in either two or four wheel drive marks their entrance into the growing compact SUV segment and that it is aimed at rivals such as the Skoda Yeti, Nissan Juke and Qashqai so it is clear what sort of vehicle it is.
I would say that the Juke is the most comparable rival of the three mentioned by Vauxhall for Mokka has similar distinctive curvy styling which creates plenty of impact on the streets with the Qashqai as the next most obvious rival.
It is available with two petrol engines and a diesel and my test car the Mokka SE 1.7 CDTI had the diesel engine plus four wheel drive and a mass of standard equipment including xenon headlights heated seats and steering wheel and steering wheel with it being the top spec SE model and cost £23,490 - prices start at £16,995.
For the record this model has a top speed of 120mph zero to 62mph time of 10 seconds a combined fuel consumption of 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 134g/km which should impress potential customers.
On the road Mokka is an enjoyable car to drive with nicely balanced steering and a slick six speed manual gearbox plus excellent handling qualities that will endear the car to motorists in the compact SUV segment especially those wanting four wheel drive.
There is a reasonably sized load area at the rear but despite all the standard kit there is no spare wheel and just a punture repair kit which I do not like after seeing a colleague unsuccessfully trying to repair a puncture with one.
There is a very comfortable cabin and user friendly switchgear and instruments that also include a digital speedometer as well as the conventional speedo which is a feature that more manufacturers are now adopting although I would have preferred white numerals rather than red which are easier to see especially in bright sunlight.
The diesel engine is not the quietest oil burner I have driven especially when pulling hard through the gears but it is very economical and the fuel needle fell very slowly after several trips which involved quite fast driving that is not the most economical way of conserving fuel.
There is a roomy rear seat with plenty of leg room but I am not a leather seat lover much preferring fabric seats and I also felt the manual hand brake could have been more user friendly.
Overall I was quite impressed by the very well equipped tough looking Mokka which has entered the market sector established by Qashqai rather late but nevertheless it should prove to be a formidable competitor to all its rivals.
Model: Vauxhall Mokka SE 1.7 CDTi
Engine: 1.7-litre diesel
Transmission: Six speed manual
Top speed: 120mph
Acceleratrion: 0 to 62mph 10 seconds
Fuel consumption: 55.4mpg
CO2 emissions: 134g/km