Displaying items by tag: Vauxhall

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 04:49

New Vauxhall Combo-e Life 2021 review

Adding an electric powertrain to Vauxhall’s Combo Life MPV creates a fine family utility vehicle, if you don’t mind driving a van


Style sells in the car world and few would argue that the Vauxhall Combo-e Life is over-endowed in that department. If, however, you’re perfectly happy to be seen loading the kids, pets and assorted baggage into an electric MPV based on a van, this could prove to be a phenomenally practical and cheap-to-run option. It’s not a thrilling drive but the electric powertrain is smooth, quiet and more-than strong enough. The interior space is outstanding and the tough van-derived interior should stand up well to family use.

SUVs may have supplanted mainstream MPVs as the do-it-all family car of choice but the cheap, cheerful and relentlessly useful van-based MPV models from the lower end of the people carrier market have hung on more successfully. The new Vauxhall Combo-e Life is one such example. It’s based on the electric Combo-e version of the Vauxhall Combo compact van and has a 134bhp pure-electric powertrain with a 50kWh battery yielding a WLTP range of 174 miles. On the face of it, this EV option seems a good fit with the low-cost, low complexity remit of these vehicles.

Admittedly, after the plug-in car grant is deducted, it’s priced from £30,610 in 5-seater guise with the 7-seater £500 more and the long wheelbase XL model another £1,100 on top of that - around £6,000 more than an equivalent diesel powered Combo Life. If your usage patterns suit though, running costs could be tiny. 

The Combo-e Life will charge from flat to full in seven hours and 30 minutes from a standard 7kW home wallbox. At a 100kW fast charger you can get from 0 to 80 per cent in half an hour. Its zero-emissions status means free passage into congestion charge and low emissions zones. There’s even a company car tax rate of 1% that might even make up for the disparaging looks your glazed commercial vehicle may get in the golf club car park.

You certainly won’t have to take the driver out of the bag to get your golf clubs into a Combo-e Life. The five-seat models have a 597-litre boot extending up to 2,126 litres when you fold the rear seats down. These capacities are the same that you get in the petrol and diesel versions because this Vauxhall uses the Stellantis group’s purpose-designed EMP2 architecture that sites the batteries under the floor. In fact, this is the real strength of the van-based MPV and the Combo-e Life in particular: space.

The standard models come in at 4.4 meters long, the XL variants extending to 4.75. In 5-seat mode there’s abundant head and leg room for all passengers but three adults sitting across the rear will struggle for shoulder room. In the XL model’s third row there’s a surprising amount of space even for taller adults. There’s quite a step up to access the seats, though, and they don’t fold flat to the floor as the middle row ones do. With seven people inside there’s still a small about of boot space under the huge tailgate for a row of shopping bags or similar.

The interior is packed with storage options and can be bathed in light via the optional (£840) panoramic sunroof but, aside from a few chrome highlights, the materials are largely lifted from the van version. That means tough and durable rather than the soft touch plastics but the bits drivers interact with most, the standard 10-inch driver information display, the eight-inch central touchscreen, the steering wheel and the climate control buttons, are a cut above in terms of quality.

The driving position is perhaps a little narrow due to the thick door and the wide centre console in the Life model but the seat itself is comfortable. The Combo-e gives you a choice of Eco, Normal and Power driving modes that actually uncork progressively more power from the motor. In the Power setting there’s the full 136bhp for an 11.7s 0-60mph time but most will rein the powertrain back to Normal (107bhp) in the interests of maximising range. The mode selector also allows you to set the level of regenerative braking; crank it right up and you can drive with one pedal most of the time.


Our fully-charged test van was showing 165-miles to begin with and after 20 miles of mixed driving in Normal mode we had an indicated 130 miles left. The Combo-e Life is super quiet; there’s just a gentle whine from the electric motor low speeds and barely anything audible above the whisper of wind and road noise on the motorway.


The ride is smooth on good surfaces but can get a little jittery on rougher roads. It’s a competent but uninspiring vehicle to drive generally with the steering very light and becoming vague in corners when you have to apply more lock. For such a tall car, body roll is well contained thanks, in part, to that 350kg of battery ballast in the floor.

Vauxhall is only offering the Combo Life’s mid-spec SE trim level with the Combo-e Life and with that you get 16” alloy wheels and body colouring for the bumpers and side protection mouldings to improve the look of the vehicle - but it’s still clearly a van. Also standard is the 8” touchscreen for the infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are parking sensors and a camera at the rear to help avoid parking knocks, while cruise control and speed limit sign recognition are also included.

In terms of rivals in the compact electric van-based MPV niche, for now it’s really just the Vauxhall Combo-e Life’s Stellantis Group cousins, the Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroen e-Berlingo. That gives customers plenty of ways to buy ostensibly the same vehicle but in all cases they’ll be getting a huge payload of practicality with the potential for very low costs, if they can square the style circle.


Published in Opel/Vauxhall

There is a reason why a 1993 Opel Calibra cost 300,000 German marks. It is a special specimen that came out of the workshop of the famous Günter Artz, a German car dealer, also known for, to put it mildly, the extravagant projects he made.

The Opel Calibra was produced from 1989 to 1997, and was an example of a car that, combining aerodynamics with a striking design (it had a record drag coefficient and then an outstanding appearance), gained a reputation as a cult coupe among enthusiasts.

But one of them, very special, under the sheet metal was actually the famous Opel Lotus Omega, which we recently wrote about.

The unique car was created by Günter Artz, a German car dealer who initially used Volkswagen models as a basis, after which he started using Opel. The goal, Artz says, was to pack performance and speed against all rules and amplify the impression of surprise.

Probably Artz's most famous car is the Golf 928. On the chassis of the damaged Porsche 928, he built a huge 240 hp Golf, which was 21 centimeters wider and 30 centimeters longer than VW's standard model.

In the test, it reached a top speed of 232 km / h, and its price was 150,000 marks, which is more than the original Porsche 928 with 300 hp. Given that, it is no wonder that only two copies of Artz's Golf were made.

However, enthusiasts believe that Artz's "Magnum Opus" was a yellow Lotus Calibra. With an output of 377 hp and a top speed of over 280 km / h, it was a perfect "camouflage", writes Auto Klub.

In addition to under the hood, Lotus' "ingredients" were also used inside the cab. The dashboard, steering wheel and leather seats come from Omega A, and the Lotus signature adorned the dials.

At the time Lotus was part of General Motors, powerful engines such as the 3.6-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder in the Omega or the 5.7-liter V8 in the Corvette C4 ZR-1 were being developed.

Artz initially focused on increasing performance. For the project, he assembled a Lotec version of the six-cylinder with 470 hp, but after bad experiences, a standard engine of 377 hp was installed.

The project was finally named Lotus Calibra - weighing 1.7 tons, shockingly powerful and surprisingly comfortable. Like the Golf 928, the Lotus Calibra was larger than the production version - about 16 centimeters longer and even 12 centimeters wider. In addition, larger alloy wheels wrapped in wider tires were used.

Production cost a real small fortune. The standard Opel Calibra was worth 45,000 marks at the time, and the windows alone, specially made in Italy, cost 13,000, and 17,000 marks had to be paid to Kamei for custom-made bumpers.

The final price of the Lotus Caliber was 300,000 marks, and only a few copies were produced.

The car was approved for use on a public road only in 1993, and the project fell silent after Opel terminated the dealership agreement, so it was shut down in 1995. A year later, Artz gave up the car business.

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under
Monday, 15 February 2021 05:37

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life review

Electric people carrier’s appeal limited by battery size

One of the most recent additions to the ranks of electric cars is the battery powered Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life, a zero-emission range to compliment the pre-existing diesel-only Vivaro Life range.

Plug-in cars enjoyed an enormous sales growth during 2020, largely at the expensive of diesel models, making a comparison of the relative virtues of these otherwise similar models particularly pertinent.

Just as the diesel Vivaro Life is a passenger-carrying MPV version of the latest Vivaro panel van, so it is with the electrified models, albeit with different battery capacities for the commercial Vivaro-e as covered throughout this review.

Direct rivals aren’t numerous at this stage, but they include the Citroen e-SpaceTourer and Peugeot e-Traveller, which, aside from styling differences at the front and a small number of detail changes, are identical to the Vauxhall. Interestingly, Toyota will not offer its equivalent version of the Proace Verso, even though it will sell an electric Proace van.

If you want something based on a totally different design, but still electric, your sole alternative (for now, at least), is the Mercedes-Benz EQV – a BEV version of the V-Class with a flurry of minor styling modifications.

What is the Vivaro-e Life’s driving range

In a word, disappointing. Primarily this is because its battery pack, which is conveniently hidden under the floor and has zero impact on interior space, has a capacity of 50kWh. That’s fine in a more compact hatchback such as the electric Vauxhall Corsa-e, but in something the size of the Vivaro it restricts the distance it can travel between recharges badly.

Officially the range is 144 miles, but in the sub-zero temperatures we’ve tested the Vivaro-e Life in so far, it would only charge up to a displayed 128 miles, with a real-world range on a mixture of roads of 100.

That could be sufficient if it's being primarily for urban journeys as a taxi, but as a family bus it’s disappointing.

Frustratingly, Vauxhall doesn’t offer the electric Life with the same 75kWh that’s available in the Vivaro-e van. In the commercial application the range jumps to a more sensible – if not exactly startling – 205 miles, just shy of the Mercedes EQV at 213 miles.

As ever recharge times depend on your connection, with a flat-to-full replenishment using a dedicated domestic wallbox taking 7.5 hours. On test, we found a ‘very low’ to full zap-up using a 50kW public charger could be done in around an hour.

Simple Vivaro-e Life line-up

With two trim levels – Edition and Elite – the electric Vivaro Life mirrors its diesel-engined twin, but beyond that the choice is even more straightforward.

Only one length of body is available (the longer one), there’s one 136hp electric motor option and it comes with a single-speed automatic transmission.

Entry-level Edition versions are easy to spot thanks to their largely unpainted bumpers and exterior mouldings, plus steel wheels with a plastic centre cap.

With a twin front passenger bench and three-person benches in rows two and three, the Edition is a nine-seater and not remotely plush inside. It’s aimed much more at private hire operators, businesses that shuttle employees around and families needing a large car on a budget, Air-con, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity are included, but little else is as part of this sparse package.

Spending an extra £12,000 brings you a wealth of niceties rather befitting the Elite name. Among the long list of standard fare is a glazed roof panel, three-zone climate control, eight seats with a conventional, single-person, front passenger seat, leather upholstery, keyless entry, electrically sliding side doors and 17-inch alloy wheels to name but a few.

Should you wish to up the luxury ante a little more the middle-row bench seat can be replaced by a pair of captain’s chairs, complete with armrests and complemented by a fold-up table installed between them.

Comfier than diesel Vivaro Lifes

One of our chief critiques of the diesel counterpart was how unsettled the ride quality is when there are no passengers in the back.

Thanks to the weight of the batteries in the electric version, this is far less of an annoyance and in the most part isn’t an issue at all.

Not that you remotely buy a van-derived car such as the Vivaro-e Life for driving thrills, the weight of the batteries being so low within the vehicle’s structure also has a positive impact on how well it drives.

Nevertheless, it remains a car that’s easier to enjoy as a passenger rather than the driver, but none of the flaws of its diesel twin have been ironed out in the conversion to being an electric model as we describe later in the review.

Ordinarily, electric cars cost significantly more than their conventionally engined counterparts, but here the differential is around £3,000 – a very small figure to recoup in fuel savings.


Published in Opel/Vauxhall
Tuesday, 09 February 2021 07:12

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback review

"The latest Vauxhall Insignia is sharper to look at and drive, while offering lots of equipment for the price"


The Vauxhall Insignia targets the very best family cars on sale and in many ways it betters them. This alone should make it a hit for Vauxhall but it still faces lots of competition – and not just from its own class.

A facelift in early 2021 gave the Insignia a midlife refresh and saw the ‘Grand Sport’ part of the name dropped. The model line-up was simplified and a tweaked range of engines and upgraded technology was introduced in an attempt to keep the Insignia competitive with rivals like the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508 and Skoda Superb.

Best family cars
Cars like the Insignia and the Mondeo have fallen out of favour in recent years, with buyers instead opting for more upmarket models like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. This has led sales of more mainstream large family cars to dwindle, with brands like Nissan, Renault and Citroen discontinuing their models in this segment altogether. Instead manufacturers have turned to crossovers and SUVs, with models like the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, SEAT Ateca and Skoda Karoq hoovering up customers.

Despite these changing trends, the latest Insignia is an accomplished car. It’s lighter than its predecessor and costs far less to buy than some rivals. For such a practical car, it’s certainly keenly priced and Vauxhall offers it with a decent choice of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. However, the lack of a hybrid powertrain in the Insignia line-up is noticeable, with rivals such as the Mondeo, Passat, 508 and Superb all boasting a hybrid or plug-in hybrid engine option. While Vauxhall has yet to officially confirm, it’s thought the petrol/electric powertrain from the Grandland X PHEV will make it into the Insignia in the future.

You can also count a full roster of safety kit and handy Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity among the car's attributes.

Diesel engines have traditionally been popular in cars of this size and the entry-level 120bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder is very capable, officially managing over 60mpg when matched with a manual gearbox. Performance is also decent, with 0-62mph taking 10.7 seconds. The more powerful 172bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is available from the SRi Nav trim level upwards, making it considerably more expensive to buy. It's also capable of over 60mpg, and offers better performance, taking 8.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph.

Vauxhall’s 2.0-litre engine is best suited to drivers who don’t have high annual mileages. Both engines are fitted with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and the 197bhp version is only available from the SRi VX-Line Nav trim upwards, making it a costly proposition at nearly £35,000. Above this is the 227bhp engine, which is exclusive to the flagship GSi model. It gets an advanced four-wheel drive system and a long equipment list but pushes the starting price to over £40,000. Both versions of the petrol Insignia manage 0-62mph in around seven seconds, with claimed fuel economy of 30-37mpg.

Approaching the Insignia, it’s immediately apparent that this is a big car. It’s only 4cm shorter than the latest BMW 5 Series from the class above, and is a similar width as well. It’s also a very low car; Vauxhall has dropped the driving position by three centimetres compared to the outgoing Insignia.

The low-slung design gives it a direct sense of connection with the road, which is matched by the overall driving experience. The steering is nicely weighted and communicates what’s going at the wheels, the suspension firmness is well-judged and you get a strong sense that the lessons learned from the latest, sharp-handling Vauxhall Astra have been passed on to the larger Insignia. Among front-wheel-drive rivals, though, the latest Skoda Superb feels a little sharper to drive, while the rear-drive BMW 3 Series remains the handling champ.

The Insignia’s significant stature means interior space is excellent in general, with huge amounts of legroom – front and back – and a well-shaped boot. Rear headroom is a little tight thanks to that low profile, however, and while the Insignia may come close to matching the cavernous Skoda Superb for interior space, the Superb’s greater height means its back seats are more comfortable for taller adults.

Vauxhall now offers five trim levels with the Insignia, but even entry-level SE Nav cars come with LED headlights and high-beam assist, all-round parking sensors, cruise control, a leather steering wheel and a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, complete with sat nav, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and DAB radio. Moving up through the range adds extras like a larger touchscreen, a Bose premium stereo system, a rear spoiler, automatic wipers and upgraded interior trim details; top-spec Ultimate Nav and sporty GSi Nav cars come with Intellilux LED Pixel headlights and leather seats.

The pre-facelift version of the Insignia achieved the full five stars in Euro NCAP’s independent safety assessments, helped by the standard fitment of lane-keeping assistance and an autonomous emergency braking system that works at urban speeds.

Vauxhall Insignia hatchback - MPG, running costs & CO2

Strong fuel economy, reasonable company-car rates and a vast dealer network make the Vauxhall Insignia cheap to run and easy to live with

Cars are products that – in general terms – are hugely improved with every update. The Vauxhall Insignia is an excellent example of this upward trend. It’s lighter than the previous generation and its engines are more efficient, which means it’ll be cheap to run. It’s also, somehow, far less expensive to buy than the old Insignia, and undercuts rivals like the Passat and Superb by a considerable margin.

Vauxhall Insignia MPG & CO2
Company-car tax is likely to be the make-or-break point for the Insignia, as the vast majority of sales will go to fleet buyers; the news here is excellent.

Because tax obligations for company users are determined by the car’s price combined with its CO2 emissions, the Insignia’s low list price works in its favour. The Insignia engine with the lowest CO2 emissions – the 120bhp three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-litre diesel - is capable of 61.4mpg while emitting 122-144g/km, making it a decent choice for company-car drivers thanks to a mid-range BiK rating. Every facelifted diesel Insignia is now RDE2 compliant, meaning they are exempt from the additional 4% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) surcharge.

The Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb are available with standard petrol and diesel engines that occupy similar BiK brackets, with their respective plug-in hybrid models sitting in lower BiK bandings. However, both of these rivals' list prices are significantly higher than the Insignia’s, with the PHEV versions costing a third or more to buy at least.

Insignia buyers get a choice of two petrol engines and both are equipped with a nine-speed automatic gearbox. The 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol officially returns 33.1-37.7mpg, while the 227bhp version, which is reserved for the range-topping four-wheel drive GSi model, is almost as efficient, managing between 30.3mpg up to 35.3mpg. Emissions for the petrol engines range from 167g/km to 200g/km, placing them in the upper BiK bandings for company-car drivers.

An entry-level 143bhp 1.4-litre petrol is expected to join the line-up later this year and be capable of around 45mpg. A hybrid model is also expected to arrive, which is likely to borrow the 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor used in the Grandland X PHEV.

The diesel engine pairing offers far greater efficiency, with the entry-level 1.5-litre three-cylinder capable of 61.4mpg when equipped with a manual gearbox. Go for the automatic box, and economy falls to 56.5mpg. Emissions range from 121-145g/km for the manual, rising to 130-150g/km for the auto depending on the wheels and specification chosen.

According to Vauxhall, opting for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine delivers identical fuel economy, with the manual capable of 61.4mpg, which falls to 56.5mpg when you opt for an auto. Emissions range from 121g/km for the most basic version with a manual gearbox, rising to 149g/km for a higher trim model with an automatic.

One word of warning: if the facelifted Insignia is like its predecessor, expect secondhand values to be somewhat unimpressive – although this won’t be of concern to company-car customers.

Every version of the Insignia will cost £150 a year in road tax, but if you go for the top of the range sporty GSi model, you’ll find yourself over the £40,000 barrier and liable for an additional £325 a year in VED.

Insurance group
The 1.5-litre entry-level diesel Insignia with 120bhp starts in group 17, while the 2.0-litre 172bhp version sits six places higher in group 23. The 197bhp petrol, meanwhile, starts from group 27, with the range-topping 227bhp GSi model placed in group 30.

Vauxhall’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty is average and nowhere near as generous as the five-year guarantees offered by Hyundai and Toyota, nor the seven-year policy provided by Kia.

The Insignia requires servicing every 20,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first, and Vauxhall’s fixed-price servicing packages and maintenance jobs should make taking care of the Insignia an easy and reasonably affordable process. Vauxhall Care costs around £20 per month, including three services, three years of roadside assistance and the first MOT.

Source: carbuyer.co.uk

Published in Opel/Vauxhall
Sunday, 07 February 2021 07:00

Vauxhall Mokka e (2021) review: green and keen


Not content with just offering combustion engine variants, Vauxhall has released the electric Mokka e version, too.

Still just as stark to look at and with PSA electric tech underneath, it’s already off to a decent start. As for the combustion engine variant, you can read about that one here.

This doesn’t look like a Mokka…
Right? But we promise it is. What a design leap ahead of the Mokka’s desperately dull predecessor.

The Mokka is the first car under the Opel/Vauxhall banner to debut a new design language spearheaded by Mark Adams and his team, with the new ‘Vizor’ nose being the starkest visual differentiator. You can spec two-tone colours, with the roof and bonnet available in black and a colour called Mamba Green is available, too – Vauxhall is clearly giving a quiet nod to the Opel Manta GTE here.

Add that to many more angular lines, sharp creases and a floating roofline that’s been par for the course for modern Vauxhalls for years and it all sums up to bringing the new Mokka crossover out of the bland crossover no man’s land.

Inside, it’s much more sensible than its Peugeot cousin, but still a big step forward. Digital instruments – as part of Vauxhall’s new ‘Pure Panel’ nod clean design and some scope for a little colourful personalisation are all on offer here. There’s good adjustment in the seat – though the digital instruments might impede where is best place to put the steering wheel so you see all of the information – and, if you go for a higher trim, the seats have plenty of bolstering to keep you snug.

However, the rear seats are best placed for kids only – lanky adults will be jabbing their knees into the back of the seat even if they have plenty of headroom, and the 350-litre boot is around 100 litres smaller than a Ford Puma or Nissan Juke.

Any electric-specific details?
Vauxhall says the Mokka e can support up to 100kW charging capacity, claiming a near empty to 80 per cent charge is done when zapping in energy at that highest capacity. A 50kW rapid charge to a similar state takes a claimed 45 minutes, a 22kW one will take around five hours and a 7kW one is done in around seven and a half hours. Vauxhall claims up to 201 miles of range; during our test we averaged about 3.4 miles per kWh.

Bespoke Mokka e details are few and far between – as Vauxhall treads the same path as Peugeot in terms of making an electrified powertrain seem normal – so all you’ll notice is a power meter instead of a rev counter on the digital dials, a ‘B’ button next to the shifter for additional brake regeneration and an ‘e’ button underneath the central touchscreen to see energy flow and control when the car charges. Pressing said ‘B’ on the shifter allows harsher, if not quite one-pedal, driving – a boon for driving around town but merely par for the course in terms of EVs right now.

How does the new electric Mokka drive, then?
To say ‘just like an e-2008’ wouldn’t be telling the entire story. Let’s start with the electric powertrain: Stellantis’ (although technically Groupe PSA’s) platform houses a 50kWh battery, with a single 134bhp/192lb ft synchronous electric motor driving the front wheels.

All of that is familiar, with a smooth (if not Ludicrous) surge of torque when you hoof it, gentle regeneration when coasting and a feint whine from the electric motor to go along with your progress. Vauxhall has tweaked how much power is outputted by the motor via the drive modes: in Eco, the throttle mapping is much softer and the motor generates just 80bhp and 133lb ft; Normal ups that to 107bhp and 162lb ft; prodding Sport unleashes all of the shove via a sharper throttle.

As for handling, I’d argue the Mokka e is slightly more comfortable than a combustion engine one – most likely due to the BEV powertrain’s additional weight. It’s impressively well damped and simply not as jittery as our tests with an e-2008 (or even a Puma or Nissan Juke, for that matter), compressing potholes in the road into feeling half their size when driving over them and, given the lack of engine noise, it’s a remarkably hushed experience at the wheel.

Opel/Vauxhall engineers have also clearly tweaked the e-CMP platform and the Mokka’s extensive use of PSA-based controls to their own specifications. The steering isn’t arcade racing game light – like it is in the e-2008 – with a respectable weighting up of the wheel when turning more than a quarter lock and amicable body control. And PSA’s notoriously spongey brake pedal is nowhere to be seen – the Mokka e’s is progressive and bites early. A tidy handler all-round.

Vauxhall Mokka e: verdict
A design revolution outside and an attractive proposition now, too. Granted, it’s not the most practical of small crossovers but, if you’re after a stylish electric runabout for you and your small family, you can now look beyond just Peugeot’s e-2008.

Source: carmagazine.co.uk

Published in Opel/Vauxhall
Saturday, 06 February 2021 05:50

Vauxhall Mokka (2021) review: the ultimate glow-up



Your eyes don’t deceive you: this really is the new Vauxhall Mokka. We, frankly, didn’t quite believe Opel/Vauxhall design boss Mark Adams when he said that the GTX Experimental concept was a preview to this all-new crossover, built from the ground up using PSA platforms and technology.

Woah, what a change!
Definitely. Gone is the fuddy-duddy and dumpy looks of the Mokka’s predecessor, replaced with an all new and thoroughly modern look from Mark Adams and Co. The all-new Mokka is the start of a new design language from Vauxhall, with the new ‘Vizor’ front panel on the exterior, chunky wheelarches and sharp lines.

Inside, there’s a design revolution, too – going beyond even the new Corsa in terms of modernisation. It’s all part of Mark’s ‘Pure Panel’ mantra – keeping fuss to a minimum, and designing a dashboard that looks like it flows the digital instruments and central touchscreen in one. Other details include a super-minimalist shifter for the automatic gearbox versions, a lot like VW Group’s efforts with the latest Golf and A3.

Our SRi Nav Premium test car had supportive seats, with thick side bolstering and a kitch pattern on them. There’s ample adjustment in the driver’s seat, with allowance for drivers (like me) to whump it to the floor like a touring car driver. Material quality is good, with chunky indicator stalks and familiar PSA switchgear dotted around. The central touchscreen uses the much maligned PSA software, but arguably seemed to run faster here than previous experiences. Still, the digital instruments (seven inches on lower-end trims, 10 on higher) are clean and easy to digest, and come with varying layouts to suit you.

The only fly in the interior ointment is the rear space – tall adults might suffer sitting behind an equally tall driver in terms of legroom, but will have plenty of headroom. Boot space is rated at 350 litres, which is fine and adjusted with a movable boot floor, but the Mokka doesn’t excel here when up against myriad crossover rivals.

What engines can you get?
Vauxhall offers two 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engines (99bhp and 127bhp – the latter available with an eight-speed auto) and a 1.5-litre diesel. Along with the combustion engine versions, Vauxhall offers the Mokka e, an EV with a 50kWh battery and 134bhp. We tested the 127bhp petrol with an eight-speed auto.

It’s arguably all familiar territory to those who have tried the latest Corsa, or Peugeot’s 208/2008 or Citroen’s C3 and C3 Aircross. The engine has a properly characterful gargly three-cylinder engine note and can get out of its own way, too.

When mated to the eight-speed auto, shifts are smooth in auto and can be controlled by pressing the ‘M’ button on the shifter – the new Mokka comes with wheel-mounted shift paddles. They’re a tad plasticky in feel but they manage not to surprise the auto ‘box when a shift is requested, so there’s little to no lurching when you want a different gear.

What about the Mokka’s handling?
If you’ve not read our Mokka e review already, I’d say that model is fractionally more comfortable in terms of ride quality. There’s an additional softness to the way it rides over lumps and ruts that is missing with the combustion engine Mokka variants. Still, damping is impressive no matter what variant you go for – while it may jitter over lumps a tad more than the Mokka e, the Mokka in general is still a better compromise than the ‘sporty’ Puma and downright irritating Juke.

As for overall handling, it’s a sweet blend. Opel/Vauxhall’s engineers have clearly been busy tweaking their own geometry for the steering, adding in welcome weight to the usual PSA’s excessively light steering. It’s the Mokka’s supremely light kerbweight here that does it some favours for keen drivers, with excellent body control and grip available if the moment takes you. Even with the automatic, flicking the drive mode into Sport mode and getting aggressive with your steering inputs… the Mokka is right there with you, ready for action.

Vauxhall Mokka: verdict
Comparing this new Mokka to its predecessor would be a low bar, in reality; the drab looks, dated interior and stodgy drive of the old one is nowhere to be seen here. No, while this new Mokka isn’t perfect – particularly in terms of practicality – we can comfortably say it’s now a small crossover worth looking at. I’d chalk that up as a result for Vauxhall.

Source: carmagazine.co.uk

Published in Opel/Vauxhall

The latest news from the world of the auto industry

Volkswagen has recalled nearly 80,000 electric vehicles due to a software glitch that causes the screens to remain off. This applies to the US, whose National Highway Traffic Safe...