Twin test: used compact SUVs

  • We compare the Vauxhall Mokka with the Nissan Juke
  • Practicality, running costs and driveability examined
  • Find out which combines all three within the best package

One of the key battlegrounds for car manufacturers in recent years is the SUV market sector, with demand affordable compact crossovers leading the charge.

We’ve pitted two of the nation’s biggest new car sellers, Nissan’s Juke and Vauxhall’s Mokka, head to head to decide which one you should buy in nearly-new form.

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Nissan Juke Tekna 1.6 DiG-T (2010-) vs Vauxhall Mokka SE 1.4i Turbo (2012-2016)


Driving

Nissan Juke

A commanding driving position and the nimbleness to make urban driving a doddle are more important than sporting performance or engaging handling in this class; while this Juke’s quick, it isn’t that thrilling to drive.

For city-centric drivers, we’d recommend the turbocharged 1.6-litre DiG-T petrol engine over the weaker 1.2 or a diesel. It’s pleasingly punchy with extra oomph for motorways.

Vauxhall Mokka

Similar in ethos to the Juke, the first-generation Mokka we’ve chosen is also turbocharged but features a less powerful 1.4-litre petrol powerplant. It’s a tad larger than the Nissan overall which makes the Vauxhall feel slightly less wieldy.

There’s a bit more communication about what the front wheels are doing through the steering wheel, but overall it feels less well composed.

 

Practicality

Nissan Juke

Although the Juke seats five, cramming more than four adults inside will make the cabin feel especially tight. Its high ride height helps make it easier installing child seats and the boot is sensibly sized at 354 litres.

Fold the 60:40 split rear seats and that increases to 1,189 litres. Taller adults may find headroom in the back tight due to the coupe-esque tapered roofline.

Vauxhall Mokka

Looking considerably more sober and conservative than the Juke results in the Mokka having the more spacious cabin. Five-up it will still feel like a game of sardines in the Vauxhall, but there’s more room for the heads of those sat out back.

Seats up, the Mokka’s boot is marginally larger than the Juke’s, but folding the seats provides 1,372 litres of cargo space.


Costs

Nissan Juke

Although junior crossovers are cheaper to run than their girthier brethren, they’re more costly than a mechanically similar hatch. With 190hp on tap, this Juke offers near hot hatch levels of performance but that comes at a price of around 40mpg at best and CO2 emissions of 159g/km, meaning a VED road tax bill of £185 annually.

We’ve chosen the well-appointed Tekna grade but the cheaper Acenta versions offers almost as much kit.

Vauxhall Mokka

Producing 50hp less than the Juke, the Mokka is naturally less expensive to run, but not by as significant a margin as you might expect. Vauxhall claims 44mpg with CO2 emissions of 145g/km costing you £145 every year in VED car tax.

Our chosen SE trim is the height of Mokka lavishness but there are cheaper, less well equipped options such as Exclusiv and Tech Line, but the range-topper’s a nicer place to spend time.

 

Specifications

 

Nissan Juke

1.6 DiG-T

Vauxhall Mokka

1.4 Turbo

Engine

 1,618cc/4-cylinder

petrol,

Manual

 1,364cc/4-cylinder

petrol,

Manual

Fuel capacity

46 litres

54 litres

Road Tax

Band G -

£185 p/a 

Band F -

£145 p/a


Power

190hp

140hp

Insurance Group

21

13

0-62mph

7.7 seconds

9.0 seconds

Boot space

354 litres

362 litres

Economy

40mpg

44mpg

CO2 emissions

159g/km

145g/km

 

The Parkers Verdict

WINNER:
Nissan Juke

Tapping into the growing demand for SUVs but in a smaller form has paid dividends for Nissan with its distinctive Juke. It’s not a head-and-shoulders victory for the British-built SUV but its combination of high levels of equipment, and decent performance without high running costs sees the Juke win by a nose.

RUNNER UP:
Vauxhall Mokka

It’s not that the Vauxhall falls significantly short of the Nissan — in terms of spaciousness and flexibility the Mokka’s the better car — but considering it’s 26% less powerful than the Juke we’d hoped for more than a 10% fuel efficiency benefit.

This, combined with the Vauxhall’s unsettled ride quality, ensured it was pipped to first place.


Still need help deciding what to go for?

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