New Opel Mokka review
Will Opel's most radical refresh in recent memory Mokka-difference or did they miss the mark?
Ignoring the terrible pun, yes, this is the new Opel Mokka and it really is just about the most radical change in design for Opel in recent years. I for one, am I fan of the new exterior design language. For the first time in the model's nine year history, it has presence. The high front hood and relatively vertical front grille, do make the car stand out in traffic.
The same can be said for the angular rear end and the thin LED taillights. In fact, you also get LED headlights as standard, which is better than you get in a VW T-Roc for example. The new Mokka doesn't just look more compact, it is. Opel chopped its length and height, but increased the width and it shows. The car feels very wide for what it is and that can be an issue on narrow B-roads, when I wasn't ever really sure where the right side of the car was. What I'm also not really sure about is the car's suspension. When driving through town, it's firm, bordering on uncomfortable. But while you may think that would make the car more exciting to drive, it doesn't. At any higher speed, the car felt more floaty than a blimp, which meant I couldn't trust it to navigate me through some corners safely. A small saving grace to the experience is the perfectly weighted steering wheel, that also had a surprising amount of feel through it.
But that was really the only positive for the steering wheel. It remains unchanged from older models and is still just as dated in both design and functionality. Opel has followed the recent trend of replacing automatic shifters with buttons and while the button may look and feel nice, the amount of wasted space around it, filled with only piano black plastic, makes me wonder why they even bothered. But overall the interior design gets a big thumbs-up from me. The splash of red accents really brightens it up a lot and it feels like you're sitting in a new car, unlike the rest of Opel's current lineup.
Now I think it's about time I mention the pièce de résistance of the new Mokka. Its digital dash. The screen is bright, the design is clean and the system is customizable. It's everything I want from a digital dash and I really commend Opel for the job they've done on it, good job Opel. The main infotainment screen is taken from Opel's sister company Citroen and while it's again clean and more than bright enough, it's confusing to navigate. This is helped somewhat by the physical shortcut buttons below and the fact you can use Android Auto or Apple Carplay. You'll have no trouble finding a comfortable position in the driver or passenger seats, but you may struggle in the back if you're over 180cm tall. The coupe-like roofline makes for poor rear visibility, but in Opel's defense the back-up camera is not bad. The Mokka lags behind the class leaders in cargo capacity, coming in at 350 liters with the seats up and 1105 with them down.
But what about the powertrain, you might be asking by this point? Well this particular test vehicle featured a 1.2 litre turbo petrol with 130 horsepower, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. When you're cruising along, the combination works very well, the engine has enough torque to get out of its way and the transmission does a stellar job of seamlessly blending the gears together. The first real problem rears its ugly head when you dare to attempt an overtake. The gearbox takes precisely one eternity to kick down and after finally waking up, you get assaulted by the noise from the engine, sitting almost at redline. The steering wheel paddles respond much quicker, but switching to manual mode on the gear selector is hard to do while driving. The car returned just under 7.0L/100km, which isn't at all bad for such a small engine. If petrol isn't to your liking, you can order a 110 horsepower diesel or free yourself from dinosaur power and choose the electric Mokka-e, which can travel up to 322km on a single charge.
It may just be me, being pleasantly surprised by Opel, for making an interesting, good looking car after a few years of refreshing the same models over and over, but I genuinely liked the car a lot. Yes the car has plenty of flaws, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives in this case. The good looks, the technology and just the overall feel of the car really shows what an incredible step the Opel Mokka has made.
Prices for the new Opel Mokka start from just under 19,000€ for the petrol and just over 33,500€ for the Mokka-e.