19.2.2021Vauxhall Mokka-e first drive
Vauxhall is getting serious with its Mokka. The compact crossover was a model that had largely been left behind by the competition, but this new model looks to change all that. Not only does it feature Vauxhall’s stylish new design language, it’s also available in Mokka-e form. That’s right, the Mokka has gone electric. We attend an early first-drive event with left-hand drive cars, in Coventry, to see how it performs.
Review by Chris Lilly
VAUXHALL MOKKA-E: PERFORMANCE
Vauxhall has incorporated what is now a familiar EV set-up into the Mokka-e. There’s a 100 kW electric motor powered by a 50 kWh battery, with drive going through the front wheels. Built on the e-CMP platform, it’s the same combination of architecture and powertrain as found on all currently available Peugeot, Vauxhall, Citroen and DS Automobiles pure-electric cars, so it’s a well proven system. The 100 kW on offer is only available in Sport mode, with Normal and Eco throttling power back a little for each setting – 80 kW and 60 kW respectively. As such, to get close to the official sub-9 seconds 0-62mph time, you need to leave the Mokka-e in Sport mode.
In fact, I’d recommend that as a general principle, unless the charge-to-distance required ratio is too close for comfort. That way you will enjoy the full responsiveness an EV can offer, and it makes for a more enjoyable driving experience – plus a more practical one in urban traffic when quick reflexes from both driver and car can be beneficial. If on the motorway or in a relaxed mood, Normal does a good job of general driving, but I’d ignore Eco altogether unless really desperate for range. A competent EV driver’s right foot will get as much out of the Mokka-e’s battery as Eco mode will.
The Mokka-e’s ride is a good middle-of-the-road set-up. It lacks the dynamic of Ford’s Puma, for example, but it provides a balance of comfort and agility without really engaging the driver at all. It’s got a sharp turn-in, which is handy for running in traffic in built-up areas, and makes the Mokka-e a doddle to drive about a car park.
The suspension can crash a bit over harsh surfaces, but on the whole, it’s a grown-up set of springs underpinning the Vauxhall’s ride. It remains relatively flat when cornering, belying the Mokka-e’s relatively high ride height. On longer stints on the motorway, the Vauxhall behaved impeccably, and felt like a larger car than the compact crossover it is. Refinement is aided by the quiet running gear, but the Mokka-e’s ride contributes well to the impression of a solid car to drive.
The design is, in my opinion, excellent. This is partly based on comparisons to the previous Mokka X, which was rather lumpy and far from a looker. The new Mokka – both standard model and Mokka-e – look far sharper, featuring Vauxhall’s new styling throughout – in particular, the Vauxhall Vizor front section. It’s a crisp, and fairly clean design, with plenty to attract buyers in a fiercely competitive market. As such, Vauxhall has pitched the Mokka-e really well, and I reckon we’ll see plenty on UK roads before long.
The design translates to a fairly practical interior, capable of carrying four adults and a bit of luggage easily. As a set of family wheels, the boot will deal with most daily requirements – pushchair/supermarket shop etc – and the rear seats can hold a couple of grown-ups or a pair of child seats easily. There’s a good amount of head room, though leg space is about par for the class in a market not known for its long wheelbases and ample space for lower limbs.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Vauxhall’s cabins have recently improved, largely since the firm was brought into what was the PSA Group, and now Stellantis, incorporating the Fiat Chrysler group. As such, the design of switchgear is largely familiar from other Peugeot and Citroen models, which is no bad thing.
The Vauxhall lacks the visual appeal, ergonomics and premium feel of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit set up, though I reckon it’s one of the best concepts in the class. Instead, the Mokka-e’s interior feels well built – not at the premium end of the market, but also far from a budget offering. Materials used reinforce this feeling, as do elements such as the seats. Pews are supportive and comfortable throughout, but are nothing special compared with rival offerings – merely on a par.
VAUXHALL MOKKA-E: RANGE & RUNNING COSTS
Vauxhall’s official range for the Mokka-e is 201 miles on a single charge, which will more than cover the needs of most buyers. We didn’t have the chance to really test the range out on the driving event, but it must be said that the Mokka-e’s range held up relatively well during the 50-mile route. This included a stint on the motorway and twisty country roads, as well as getting out of and back into Coventry for some urban driving work.
I’d expect that the Mokka-e will struggle to get close to its 201-mile range in any situation other than regular town driving, based partly on the first-drive opportunity and experience with the identically powered Vauxhall Corsa-e. Initial impressions would see a range of 155 miles on a charge more likely, but we shall look to review that more thoroughly at a later date, with longer time spent with the car.
Although the Mokka-e’s range is reasonable for its class, there are rival crossovers and similarly sized conventional hatchbacks that can beat it. It’s a good job that Vauxhall provides quick charging times for the Mokka-e, negating much of this relative lack of range. For example, a Kia Soul EV is a similar size, but can travel significantly further on a single charge. However, most drivers won’t need to cover 250-300 miles or more in one go, so this difference in driving ranges will only crop up occasionally.
Vauxhall has incorporated ultra-rapid DC charging at up to 100 kW into the Mokka-e’s electric powertrain, meaning a charge to 80% can be carried out in less than half an hour. The AC on-board charger is rated at up to 11 kW where three-phase charging is available, for a full charge in less than five hours.
There is a B mode for drivers to increase the strength of the brake energy recuperation, though it’s not strong enough to allow ‘one-pedal’ driving. It works well, but an adjustable set-up as found in the likes of Hyundai and Kia EVs, or a full-strength B model similar to that found in the BMW i3 or with Nissan’s e-Pedal tend to be more efficient. Vauxhall offers remote control features, such as pre-conditioning and charge timings, plus checking battery charge status etc.
There are four trim levels to pick from the Mokka-e. Vauxhall has included as standard features on the entry-level SE Nav Premium elements, such as a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, DAB, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and USB connectivity. Also fitted are 16-inch alloys, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, automatic headlights and wipers, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and drive mode select.
SRi Nav Premium upgrades the infotainment system to a 10-inch screen with two USB connections, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, 18-inch alloys, contrast roof, rear privacy glass, keyless entry and start, heated front seats and steering wheel, and LED front fog lights.
Elite Nav Premium includes 17-inch alloys and much of the same equipment as SRi Nav Premium, whilst Launch Edition features 18-inch alloys, wireless phone charger, LED Matrix headlights, leather seat trim, driver’s massage function, advanced park assist, and automatic headlight levelling.
VAUXHALL MOKKA-E MODEL SUMMARY
The Vauxhall Mokka-e is a crucial model for the British brand. It offers an electric model in the crucial crossover market, and it’s a good one. The pricing undercuts Peugeot’s e-2008 by around £1,000, though Hyundai’s Kona Electric 39 kWh – with a similar range but smaller interior – is a few hundred pounds less. However, the longer range Kona Electric is more than £5,000 more, though with around twice the real-world driving range.
In fact, Kia’s Soul EV is the biggest threat with a similar size interior, and around 100 miles more range from a charge, though a little under £4,000 more. Overall, Vauxhall has pitched the Mokka-e well, with a good driving range, quick recharging times, decent level of kit and good entry price. It drives nicely, looks stylish and will attract buyers, that’s for sure.
Model tested: Vauxhall Mokka-e
Engine / CO2: 100 kW electric motor / 0 g/km
Trim grades: SE Nav Premium, SRi Nav Premium, Elite Nav Premium, Launch Edition
On-road price: From £30,840
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars