What are you driving?
It's the new Opel Mokka, a stylish new crossover built on the same platform as the Peugeot 2008, among others. Our first test drive of the new model came in the form of the impressive new, all-electric Mokka-e, but we've also managed to get hold of a regular petrol model to review before the Mokka officially arrives in Ireland.
That said, since we published our article on the Mokka-e, Opel Ireland has confirmed pricing for its new crossover. As predicted, it starts at €23,295, for the Mokka SC 1.2 100hp. A 110hp 1.5-litre diesel engine is also available in that entry-level grade. Next up is the Mokka SRi, which can be had with either of those engines, or the 130hp version of the 1.2-litre petrol unit - paired with a manual or automatic gearbox. The Mokka-e EV starts at €33,038 in SRi spec. All powertrains other than the 100hp petrol engine can be had in the top Elite specification. Unlike the previous Mokka, there will be no four-wheel-drive option.
Our German test car was roughly equivalent to the SRi specification, and powered by the 130hp petrol engine. It also featured the automatic gearbox. This model starts at €28,795.
Name its best bits
I'm a huge fan of the exterior styling of the 2021 Mokka. The new 'Vizor' face is thoroughly modern yet it cleverly references Opels of yesteryear. It works particularly well with the black bonnet and roof to give the Mokka a highly distinctive look. That's standard on the SRi version. Even without that, the Mokka's stance is spot on, with tiny overhangs and a relatively wide track. Right now, it's one of the most attractive looking cars in the compact crossover class. The dashboard and seats are stylish, too.
The powertrain in this car is particularly lovely. The three-cylinder petrol engine has loads of character and, as you can see from the tech specs, it produces its maximum torque from really low revs, so there's no need to extend it. The engineers responsible for calibrating the eight-speed automatic gearbox made maximum use of that characteristic, by allowing it to change up early. You can influence that by changing the driving mode, but there's little need, as it's quite satisfying to drive in its default setting. And the chassis really is a gem, encouraging you to enjoy driving this car, whatever the road conditions.
Anything that bugs you?
After over three hours at the wheel, my back ached. The sporty front seats look great, but I found them lacking in support. And speaking of seats, the rears aren't very spacious. There's more room back there than in the Opel Corsa, for example, but not much more. If you're buying a crossover of this size to accommodate car seats in the back, there are better options. If you don't have kids and don't plan on filling up the car with your friends and family on a daily basis, this won't be an issue, obviously. Shame that that pert rear overhang means a relatively small boot, though.
In terms of the driving experience, the only negative was a fidgety suspension at lower speeds. We'll have to revisit that once we get hold of Irish market cars, as the test vehicle was fitted with winter tyres.
And why have you given it this rating?
I nearly gave this Mokka four stars. It really is a good car, but on reflection, ignoring the allure of its exterior lines (which I love), it's not an exceptional one, especially in terms of interior space. Nonetheless, this sector of the market prioritises style, and the Mokka has that in spades. It's not the only thing it has going for it, either, as it's genuinely good fun to drive.