Tweakka – Vauxhall Mokka X

We say: Vauxhall goes down the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ route

mokka-xThe Mokka was a prompt arrival at the small-crossover party, and over the years acquired more and more rivals. But its business kept growing and it ended last year top of the class in the UK sales league.

Now we have the Mokka X, its mid-life facelift. As it was doing such good business, Vauxhall has an excuse to keep the changes small. Besides, consistent direction helps build brand image. In becoming the X, it’s been given alterations that make it look, inside and out, more like an Astra. Again, cross-car consistency helps solidify a brand.

So we have new headlights (all LED in upper trims) bolted into new wings, a wider grille, and fresh front and rear bumpers. It makes the Mokka look wider and more stable. A new dash encases touchscreens, 7in or 8in depending. OnStar is standard on all models: high-speed in-car wifi, remote breakdown rescue and theft tracking.

The base model has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto to mirror your phone’s navigation and music. The top-level one has that too, but also its own nav, on a hi-def screen with smooth graphics.

The existing engines live on, notably a 1.6 diesel and a 1.4 turbo petrol. Added at the tap is an all-new 1.4 petrol, making 152bhp against the existing one’s 140. It comes with 4WD and an auto ‘box. The 4WD manual and the FWD manual and auto all keep the old 140 engine. The new drivetrain makes only a tiny improvement in economy and none at all an acceleration. And it’s not significantly more refined. Why did they bother?

The Mokka’s chassis was always lumpy, and remains so. Cornering is dull if free of mendacity, and although the ride copes well with rough tracks and urban obstacles, it never settles down on an actual road.

mokka-x-1

Verdict: Fairly cheap, family-friendly and quite terrain-capable. But a damp squib for the driver

Still, the cabin is roomy enough for family use (though the boot is tight) and the kids will be loving the wifi too much to care about the ride.

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