Vauxhall Mokka - car review
A mill in Daventry was the destination for what turned out to be the shortest test drive I've taken to date.
Just 30 minutes, 15 minutes actual driving and 15 minutes bouncing around the cabin, working out uses for the 19 various-sized cubby holes that adorn the Mokka. It took longer to eat the obligatory bacon roll and pecan Danish served up at such events.
There were only two Mokkas available and 20 bums waiting to be seated behind the wheel, so finding a buddy and getting on the road quickly was vital.
But the brevity of the drive aside, this the latest addition to the Vauxhall fold is a decent little car at a decent price – at least for the range opener.
It seems there's no end to the ingenuity of car manufacturers in their quest to fulfil your every need.
When once your choice would be small, medium or big, now there's small and a bit, small and a bit less so on. Once manufacturers get themselves a decent platform on which to build, away they go slotting as many body variations as they can think of, filling in the supposed gaps in the line-up.
The Mokka from Vauxhall is one such range-filler.
If a Corsa doesn't cut it and an Astra isn't quite right, then a high-riding Mokka might just hit the mark.
It's compact, it's an SUV and it's aimed squarely at the retail market. There is a version for the fleet buyer – the Tech Line – but that's not really where the team from Luton see the Mokka competing.
Young families and adventurous types, yes please. The lack of any serious boot space and the addition of a built-in bike rack are tell-tale signs of the little Mokka's chosen field.
Four adults will travel comfortably, with ample headroom, both front and rear and pretty good legroom for those in the back. A third person on the rear bench would prove a pinch though.
My 15 minutes of Mokka was spent with the larger of the two petrol engines available, the 1.6-litre naturally aspirated version, as opposed to the other version available, a more powerful 1.4-litre turbo.
The 1.6-litre buzzes along without too much noise intrusion and the five-speed gearbox is slick enough to cope with more spirited driver input.
As with any car of the ilk, there is the inevitable body-roll, although overall the ride is very good. The steering offers plenty of feedback and the majority of road imperfections are absorbed with little fuss.
When petrol just won't do, there's a 1.7-litre diesel with oodles of torque available.
This will fit well with the All-Wheel-Drive that allows owners to get their surfboards closer to the shoreline without getting the car stuck.
How good the AWD system is remains to be seen, but it's safe to assume ride height alone will prevent any serious off-roading taking place despite the AWD's talents.
Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard across the range, helping to increase ride height and boost that vital "outside the coffee shop" curb appeal.
For the Mokka is, after all, a stylish shopping wagon for the twenty-something bored of the MINI and not ready for the show pony that is the Juke.
Interesting, but discreet does it justice.
The cabin is stylish and constructed with quality materials which should stand up to a reasonable amount of abuse. All-round visibility from the driver's seat is excellent, while the door openings are wide.
Prices open at a shade under £16,000 for the well-equipped Tech Line model and tops out at a reasonable £23,490 for the diesel AWD Exclusiv model.
Compact it may be, but Vauxhall has managed to squeeze in enough stuff to keep the gadget-addicted sated and blessed it with enough curbside appeal to keep exhibitionists amused.