Saturday 18 November 2017

Opel Mokka: 'A comfortable, well-behaved car that deserves a place at the top'

Opel's comfortable car holds technology trump card in the compact crossover segment

The new look Mokka. Its seats, which have won awards, should take the fatigue out of long journeys
The new look Mokka. Its seats, which have won awards, should take the fatigue out of long journeys

Martin Brennan

X marks a new departure for Opel. In future the 'X' badge will be carried on all SUV and crossover models in the family.

These high-roader designs are increasing in popularity and while the newly revamped Mokka is the first to get the 'X' treatment - it is the company's only crossover - there are more to come. A model based on the new Peugeot 3008 is expected next year and a larger one in 2019, probably based on an American crossover platform.

The new Mokka goes on sale next month with a starting price of €21,495 for the S version. Few if any will go here with more and more drivers opting for the PCP-led highly specified end of the market. Prices in the more upmarket SC and Elite trim range between €24,000 and €31,000.

The new model looks more modern with the exterior getting a wider grille, new bumpers and new wings which incorporate the new LED daytime running lights with some novel features such as headlights that adapt automatically to avoid dazzling other road users, a town light, country light, curve and cornering function, a manoeuvring light and a stop-mode light. All very good for safe driving and Opel says the visual comfort of all this is that we will see things in their true colours at night. A daylight test drive could not confirm this but we look forward to the opportunity to see the benefits.

Inside there is a complete new dash with 7" or 8" touchscreens and sharper read-out dials with white light. Opel's new generation of infotainment systems is included and includes OnStar which, depending on the specification chosen, adds in-car WiFi and remote accident and breakdown rescue, remote fault diagnosis, theft tracking and remote unlocking/locking.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also available to link your phone to the screen and there is SatNav with the facility to get OnStar to send you a destination guidance.

Inside the Opel Mokka
Inside the Opel Mokka

The interior up front gets the most attention but the Mokka seats deserve a mention for comfort. They have got a special award for their design which should take the fatigue and stress out of long journeys.

There is a good range of engines with the bestseller expected to be the 1.4T 140 bhp petrol with 6-speed transmission and 138g/km of C02 at €24,295 with the 1.6CDTi 6-speed diesel with 106g/km of C02 at €26,295 also selling well. The all-wheel drive versions add €1,500 to the price of both models with the automatic versions adding €3,000 to the front wheel drive versions.

Over 1,000 Mokka models were sold last year. The plan for next year is to improve significantly on that figure. The outgoing model was up among the top sellers in the segment where Nissan Juke, Skoda Yeti, Renault Captur, Fiat 500X, Suzuki Vitara, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3 compete. Opel's trump card here is the high level of technology such as OnStar.

The 136 bhp diesel unit tested is quiet and smooth with good torque and a smooth manual gear change. Over bumpy roads, the drive was reasonably smooth but tyre noise did intrude at high speeds.

There is good ground clearance and on a not too challenging off-road segment of the test drive, the all-wheel-drive technology, which adds a low 65kgs of weight, kicked in seamlessly as it shifted torque between front and rear wheels thanks to a vast bank of sensors constantly checking on wheel spin and engine revs. There is a growing demand for 4X4 drive as prices get more reasonable.

Overall it's a comfortable, well-behaved car that deserves a place at the top of the compact crossover segment.

Also on the cards from Opel is a new Insignia in March followed by a new Zafira and a new Meriva late next year.

Sunday Independent

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