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Mokka's got real style, just needs more substance

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The Mokka

It may sound like the girly drink favoured by city types on their way to power breakfasts, but it's far more impressive than that.

This compact crossover SUV from Opel is a genuine, bone fide 4X4 – capable of mixing it up with the big boys.

The top-of-the-range 1.4 litre turbo is packing 140bhp with massive torque proving that this little baby is a mean as it looks.

And what a handsome little bus this is.

Roll her out alongside its two closest rivals and it's all one-way traffic.

The Nissan Juke (or Puke as Mr Mallon likes to call it) and the 'Abominable' looking Skoda Yeti are mere brutes in this beauty pageant.

Its rugged stance and wedge-like styling gives it an air of invincibility while the aluminium skid plates both front and rear reinforces that all-wheel drive confidence.

From the front, snazzy headlamp units featuring the now trademark Star Trek-shaped LEDs are complimented by chrome foglamp surrounds, which in turn, highlight the familiar blade lines running down both flanks.

Chunky

Thick rubber mouldings starting from just under a slimmer grille encase the whole body which is mirrored on top by similarly chunky roof rails – giving the whole car a go-anywhere, do-anything Tonka toy feel to it.

Inside the Mokka is as luxurious as a top-end Insignia with the latest gadgets and gizmos.

In fact, the dash is pretty much a shrunken version of big daddy's with a familiar layout dominated by the centre console.

Build quality and finish is excellent and is what we've come to expect from Opel who have really lifted their game in recent years.

She's loaded with plenty of goodies too including cruise control, Hill Start Assist, Descent Control System, digital radio and air con.

Opt for the SC model and you get Bluetooth, parking sensors, dual zone climate control, leather steering wheel, central arm rest and 18 inch alloys.

Another feather in its cap is the cabin space which in the compact segment can be a little bit tight. Not here. With 897mm in height there is ample room for five adults including a couple of six footers in the back.

Luggage space is more than adequate too with 1,371 litres in the rear and thanks to 60/40 split seats, awkward loads shouldn't be an issue.

It's a pity the same couldn't be said for the drive and handling which unfortunately fail to live up to the stunning facade.

The steering is nervous and jittery which is made all the worse by a total lack of feedback from the road. The suspension too was punching well below its weight and even the smallest of potholes rattle the fillings in your back teeth.

That said, most Irish punters won't want to go off road and the roughest terrain it'll see will be the supermarket carpark and the on-demand all-wheel drive is perfect for snow and ice.

She's not too bad on the juice either returning around 44mpg while road tax is €390.

Opel should beef it up and call it Bovril.

Prices for the Mokka start at €19,990.


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