Eagle-eyed Opel misses the mark
Up against its rivals the Nissan Juke and the Skoda Yeti, the Mokka lacks design pizazz and refinement, writes IAN BEATTY
In an attempt to capture a piece of the ever-growing supemini crossover segment (think superminis on steroids) Opel has launched its all-new Mokka, taking on more established rivals like the Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti.
Up against such bulked up superminis, the Mokka holds its own in the styling stakes. It bears the uniform Opel signature front grille and eagle-eye headlights. And to give it some rugged looks it also features protective cladding on the lower parts of the car, although like its counterparts, it will hardly ever venture further off-road than a relatively high footpath.
The interior is instantly recognisable from other models in Opel’s portfolio, principally the Astra and Insignia. The dash is like a smaller version of one of the former cars, albeit constructed from solid plastics, with a multitude of buttons, arguably too many. The Yeti’s interior is far more refined, while the Juke’s funky cabin suffers from too much hard plastic surfacing. Both the Mokka and Yeti offer more interior space than the Juke.
When the Mokka arrives in Ireland this December it will be available across three trim levels, S, SC and SE. There will be three engines on offer, two petrol and one diesel. The €19,995 entry-level 1.6-litre petrol unit won’t be the core seller, offering 115hp and a diminutive 155Nm of torque. The superior 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol unit offers a far healthier 140hp and 200Nm of torque. It’s an engine that’s tried and trusted within a number of Opel models, although it is solely available with an all-wheel drive arrangement in the Mokka.
The sole diesel version – and by far the pick of the crop – is the 1.7 litre CDTi diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission in front-wheel drive format. Even then, while it offers respectable performance with 130bhp and 300Nm of torque available, getting the most out of it can be an arduous affair, with a long hard press of the accelerator pedal required to increase pace.
At speed it will maintain fuel-saving low revs, however the noise that invades the cabin is harsh and agricultural.
The Mokka may be aimed at European buyers but it can trace its roots back to the US-based Chevrolet Trax, and closely related to the US-based Buick Encore. Opel’s European engineers have been given the freedom to modify the suspension mounts, damper and spring rates and replace bushes to offer an enhanced drive. That said, it fails to offer the composed ride of the Yeti, or instil fun into the driving experience in a way the Juke does.
And that’s where the Mokka falls flat. It doesn’t have the design pizzaz of the Juke, or the composure and conservative appeal of the Yeti.
In their quest to get a slice of the action, Opel has overlooked some vital characteristics in the engine and chassis departments.
Our Rating: 5/10
Smart looks, but let down by a harsh-sounding engine and anaesthetised chassis.
Engine 1,686cc four-cylinder diesel putting out 130hp at 4,000rpm and 300Nm at 2,000-2,500rpm with a six-speed manual transmission
Performance 0-100km/h 10.5 seconds, max speed 187 km/h
Economy Urban 5.4l/100km (52.3mpg) extra-urban 4.0l/100km (70.6mpg) combined 4.5l/100km (62.8mpg)
Emissions (Motor Tax) 120g/km (€ 225)
Specifications SC Model – standard features include 18 alloy wheels and front and rear parking sensors
Rivals Nissan Juke Sport 1.5 Diesel 110hp €22,095 (motor tax €225); Skoda Yeti Ambition 2.0 Diesel 110hp €25,275 (motor tax €225); Mitsubishi ASX Intense 1.8 Diesel 150hp €25,972 (motor tax €330)