The new Mokka is the second model to join Opel's all-electric assault, and makes a solid case for itself with smart looks, a classy cabin and a decent electric powertrain. Enough to lift it to the top of the crossover class?
In the Metal:
Well, that's refreshing. I mean the styling is, but also the colour. The new Opel Mokka would have had to have tried awfully hard to be as shy and retiring as its predecessor in styling terms, but topping off the looks of this new Mokka-e in SRi trim is a zesty blast of what Opel calls 'Mamba Green'. You can practically taste lime in your mouth as you go for the door handle. Frankly, they should ONLY offer the new Mokka in this colour.
Of course, it's doubly appropriate as this is the none-more-green Mokka-e - Opel's second all-electric passenger car model, following on from the decent Corsa-e. Because the Mokka-e is based on the same platform that you'll find under the rest of its 'Stellantis' (what we used to call PSA Group) stablemates, it uses the same electric motor and 50kWh battery as the Corsa-e, the Peugeot e-208 and the e-2008. Indeed, that e-2008 is, for now at any rate, the Mokka-e's closest rival.
While you would say that the Corsa is the sensible, stolid, conservative answer to the Peugeot 208's more vivid styling, separating the new Mokka and the sharp-looking 2008 is going to be a tougher job. It's the debut model for the new 'Opel Vizor' (yes, that's how it is officially spelled) front styling, which uses the Opel lightning badge as a centrepiece from which the rest of the design folds out. It's a chunky, handsome thing, the Mokka - far more distinctive than the bland old Mokka X - and cuts a far sharper dash than the Corsa, or its close relative, the also-updated Crossland (more of which later...).
Inside, there's also an all-new interior and, again, while that of the Corsa you could accuse of looking a little plain, even dowdy, there's none of that here. The Mokka's cabin gets what Opel calls its new 'Pure Panel' - a pair of conjoined screens, with the infotainment screen in the centre (eight inches as standard, ten inches optionally) and a big 12-inch screen in front of the driver for the instruments. Those instruments can be adjusted and altered according to tastes or needs, although they do look a little more plain (perhaps minimalist would be a kinder word) compared to those of some rivals. The rest of the cabin looks neat, stylish and feels very well made. Indeed, I'd call it Opel's most successful bit of cabin design since the original 2009 Insignia. It's lifted by some very nice seats (approved by the AGR, the German bad back association on this SRi-spec car) and there's decent, if perhaps not cavernous, space in the back. The boot is also a little truncated, with the need to package the battery pack cutting it to 310 litres, compared to a standard Mokka's 350 litres. While we're cribbing, we're also not sure about that C-pillar design, with its chrome swoosh. Opel first used it on the old Adam city car and, frankly, it's just never looked right to us. The rest of the rear styling, with neat lamps and the Mokka name spread out over the boot, looks good though.
You'll be expecting the Mokka-e to drive exactly like a Peugeot e-2008. And it kind of does, but there are nuances, and there's just a faint chance that the Mokka is actually the better of the two cars to drive...
First off, this is only a first drive - Opel Ireland brought in an early-build, left-hand-drive example from Germany for us to try out and, on top of having only a brief session with the car, it was also occasionally snowing, quite hard, on our test drive, so a full set of driving impressions will have to wait until April, when the first right-hand-drive Irish cars arrive.
However, we can tell you that much of what the Mokka does is good. Very good, even. For a start, in spite of having a wheelbase that's only fractionally longer than that of the Corsa-e, it does seem to control the mass of its battery pack rather better. There's less lurching in fast corners, that's for sure. Secondly, it has sweeter steering than the Peugeot e-2008. While the Peugeot's smaller steering wheel makes it feel punchier and pointier in the corners, the Mokka's larger, rounder wheel adds a more natural feel. It's a small difference, but it is there, and it makes the Mokka feel a little less nervous on country roads. The ride quality is fine - slightly firm but nicely damped - and the only major dynamic demerit that we could detect is that the brake pedal feels a little spongy, and that there's not much of a 'one-pedal' regenerative braking feel. You can switch from Eco to Normal to Sport modes, but they don't make a huge difference to the way the Mokka-e drives. Yes, Sport unleashes a little more instant torque, but the Mokka has been set up to have linear acceleration, rather than the instant-on feel of, say, a Tesla. It's maybe a little disappointing in some ways - a bit more low-down wallop would be nice - but in fairness, it feels more natural and normal for those making the transition from petrol and diesel engines. Refinement is good, bar a bit too much wind whistle around the wing mirrors at higher speeds.
Range? Well, Opel claims a little more range than the Peugeot - 324km against the e-2008's 310km - but I doubt it will prove much different in real terms. You can see the range melting away quickly once you hit the motorway (as it does with all electric cars), but in fairness, after 90 minutes continuous driving, mixing motorway, city and country roads, we'd only burned through 25 per cent of the battery's charge, and that was with the heating turned way up and the heated seats (and steering wheel) on. It'll charge up again quickly, too, assuming you can find a charge point able to give it its maximum 100kW charging speed.
What you get for your Money:
We're giving the Mokka-e a zero rating here because we're not 100 per cent sure of the final price - Opel Ireland says that the €33,000 price tag for this SRi model is 'indicative' rather than final, but there's a lot we can tell from that. First off, it means that there's the same €10,000 price gap between the most basic petrol-engined Mokka and this electric model. That's about the same as you'll find in the Corsa-e price list too, but it doesn't tell the whole story here. That gap actually narrows a little when you realise that the Mokka-e will not be offered as a 'base' SC version, as the petrol Mokka is. Well-equipped SRi is your starting trim for the electric Mokka.
Standard kit will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lamps at the front and rear, an electric parking brake and traffic sign recognition. We think that the SRi Mokka-e will also come with six-way ergonomic and heated leather seats, a 180-degree panorama rear-view camera, navigation, advanced cruise control, active lane positioning, wireless smartphone charging and glare-free, 'IntelliLux' LED matrix lights, but we'll have to wait until April for final confirmation on all that. If our maths works out, it should mean that the Mokka-e is slightly better value all-round than the equivalent Peugeot e-2008 GT-Line.
Oh, I said we'd come back to the Crossland, didn't I? That car has just been updated, and also gets the the 'Opel Vizor' front end now, and also has a starting price of €23,000 or thereabouts. While it might look as if Opel has two similarly sized, similarly priced models in the same segment... well, actually, yeah, that's exactly what's going on. The Crossland and the Mokka are at least theoretically complementary though. The Crossland is aimed at those who want more practicality (it has a larger cabin and boot), while the Mokka is for those who prioritise style.
Like I said coming in, this is very refreshing, not least because the previous Opel Mokka was such a dull, anonymous machine. No hope of being anonymous in the new Mokka-e, especially if you go for the Mamba Green option (and you really should). On this first appraisal, it seems like a solid choice in the emerging electric crossover market, and one with more than a little style about it.