Scroll down to read the review or watch my Mokka video review!
The compact crossover has had a meteoric rise to fame and in late 2012 Opel’s offering arrived smack bang in the middle of the crossover boom. The Opel Mokka is one of the more ruggedly styled among this new breed of lifestyle vehicle and the addition in 2015 of a new diesel engine means that the Mokka is definitely worth a look if you fancy something small, compact but tough-looking.
For a small car, it really does look like a proper off-roader with roof bars and lashings of plastic cladding. Whereas some so-called crossovers are more similar to a slightly elevated estate car, the Mokka feels significantly higher so you will certainly feel lofty from the driver’s seat.
Opels of late, like the new Corsa and Astra, have significantly improved interiors over their previous incarnations, but the Mokka’s interior layout is based on one of Opel’s older dash designs so it still has the button-heavy, cluttered-look to the centre console. In its favour it’s all well-made and durable, and the steering wheel mounted audio controls fitted as standard simplify things a great deal.
A compact crossover must be practical and the Mokka packs in a 362 litre boot with a flat loading sill and practical square shape. The space in the cabin is good and a low transmission tunnel doesn’t eat too much into rear legroom.
Rugged style aside, these compact crossovers are designed for on the road, not off it, though if you must have it Opel will sell you a Mokka with four wheel drive. Opel’s new 1.6-litre CDTi ‘whisper diesel’ replaces the old 1.7-litre CDTi. If you’re more of an urban driver, there are two petrol engines to choose from: a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre (115bhp) or a more powerful and efficient 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine with 140bhp.
The 1.6-litre diesel has 136bhp at its disposal, which is more than enough power for a small car like this. It makes the Mokka feel really nippy (0-100kmh is 9.9 seconds, not bad for a crossover!) and official figures say it will return up to 66mpg. It’s also well-suited to motorway trips. It is on the noisy side however, not quite living up to the whisper diesel moniker but that’s more obvious when stopping/starting around town and in low speed manoeuvres. It’s much more refined when you’re cruising out of town.
In terms of ride and handling, I had no complaints about comfort and it copes reasonably well with some of our more roughly-surfaced roads. The extra height means that there is a bit of roll in the corners if you take them too fast, but the car has good grip and the steering is good at communicating what the front wheels are doing, so you can still cover ground quite quickly and safely in the Mokka.
In terms of pricing, the entry price seems reasonable for the 1.6-litre Mokka at €20,995 for a basic ‘S’ model with air con and cruise control. But that’s an older engine with modest power and performance. Far more attractive is the likes of the 1.6CDTi in SC trim at €25,495, which adds alloy wheels, parking sensors and Bluetooth. The top of the range SE I was driving has a hefty list price of €28,245, though it has all the equipment you could ever need with additional navigation, heated seats and steering wheel, leather seat covers, rear privacy glass and Opel OnStar for 2016 models. Availability of the 1.4 turbo petrol opens up at SC grade, with a list price of €23,495.
The Opel Mokka has got the looks and attitude of a larger SUV, but the nimbleness and agility of a small car. It’s not the cheapest compact crossover out there but the diesel model tested here really does major on power, and combined with good driving dynamics, the Opel Mokka could be the fun little crossover you’ve been looking for.
Model tested: Opel Mokka SE 1.6CDTi
Price: €28,245 (Range starts at €20,995)
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
0-100km/h: 9.9 seconds
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
Tax band: A4 (€200 per year)