An upgraded interior and improved drivetrain add to the Opel Mokka X SUV's refinement.
In the metal
Opel's new Mokka X is now a more mature and sharper looking car than before, but it remains virtually identical in size to its predecessor. The fresh look brings the Mokka X aesthetically more into line with the rest of Opel's current range of cars such as the Astra and Karl, while the 'X' designation denotes Opel's new nomenclature for its SUV and off-road vehicles.
A restyled front bumper and new grille design give the Mokka a wider stance and higher quality look, but it is the new headlights that really set it off. These feature Opel's new signature 'double wing' design in the LED daytime running lights. Similar treatment gets applied to the rear where LED lamps are available as an option. Opel has also added some new exterior colour choices, including 'Amber Orange' and 'Absolute Red'.
More impressive are the changes to the interior where Opel has finally ditched its button-filled centre console in favour of a much cleaner design using a seven- or eight-inch (in the case of our test car) touchscreen system. With the latter, the Mokka X interior looks much more upmarket. Details like contrasting cross-stitching on the seats and around the dashboard, along with a gloss black finish on the lower centre console panel, all add to the sense of quality that now feels genuine in the Opel.
The raised seating position will appeal to many who seek that SUV feeling, but overall the cabin isn't huge. From the driver's seat, the view out is good, while rearward visibility leaves no real cause for complaint. On higher specification models there is also a reversing camera, though the picture quality on the larger eight-inch screen is more like that on an old mobile phone. Rear passengers ride in relative comfort if in the outer seats, while squeezing three into the back makes things very cosy.
Even though the Mokka X can be had with an all-wheel drive transmission, it spends much of its time driving only the front wheels. The reason for this is primarily to reduce fuel consumption. There is, however, a weight penalty of 65kg for the additional hardware. The AWD system continually monitors traction as well as driving conditions, redistributing power to the rear axle when required. This transfer can be just momentarily, after hitting a pothole for example, or for more prolonged periods such as on wet and slippery roads.
We only had the opportunity to drive the all-wheel drive version of the Mokka X, powered by the 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine, similar to what appears in the Astra. It comes under the snazzy marketing term 'Whisper Diesel' and to be fair it is reasonably quiet as modern diesel engines go. But taking away the engine noise has made the road and tyre noises more apparent, something that could have been remedied with better sound insulation, perhaps. A shame, as the rest of the Mokka X, feels much more premium than before.
As for the drive itself, the little high-riding Opel grips the road well and covers greater distances with ease, helped in part by the AGR-approved comfort seats. Through bends there isn't a great amount of body roll and despite the relatively short wheelbase, it feels surefooted - at higher speed on motorways, for example. Naturally, the all-wheel drive transmission helps, but we'll have to wait until the front-wheel drive model arrives in Ireland before we can comprehensively say. Some will like the light steering, though we think it could benefit from having a little more weight to it. It feels more than competent and aside from some noise level issues on poorer road surfaces the Mokka X is one of the better cars in this packed segment, but it faces some serious competition.
What you get for your money
Pricing for the Opel Mokka X in Ireland will start at €21,495 for the 1.6-litre petrol version in entry-level 'S' trim. In fact, that's the only 'S' specification model there is. The 'SC' grade, which is priced from €23,795, features dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, leather steering wheel and Opel OnStar connected systems. The cheapest diesel is priced from €26,295, which is a big jump up from that starting price, while the top spec 'Elite' carries a further €2,450 premium. The mid-level 'SC' trim is likely to be the most popular, but as you can see the Mokka X is a car that can quickly become quite expensive.
The changes to the Opel Mokka X are almost enough to make it feel like a new car rather than a significantly updated one. Its overall ride quality and handling might not be class-leading, but it is now a markedly better crossover than before.