Some cars seem to be particularly popular with certain demographics, and so it is with the Vauxhall Mokka X and those of retirement age.
As a smallish SUV, it’s a rival to the likes of the Nissan Juke, SEAT Arona, Skoda Karoq and Volkswagen T-Roc, but many owners have progressed to the Mokka X from staple hatchbacks such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Astra – its higher seating position makes it easier to get in and out of than those rivals,
Given Vauxhall’s tendency to offer its ranges in a complex array of variations, the Mokka X line-up is mercifully small and easy to understand.
Bodystyle-wise there’s just the sole choice of a five-door SUV, with a vaguely coupe-like profile rather than a more upright estate body.
Trim levels are similarly straightforward starting at Active, progressing through Design and Elite.
Currently there are just two turbocharged engine options – a 1.4-litre petrol producing 140hp and a 1.6-litre CDTi diesel pumping-out 136hp. Most Mokka Xs are front-wheel drive, but a small selection of high-spec models – both petrol and diesel – have 4x4 availability.
Although the Vauxhall Mokka and Mokka X look very similar, they’re not quite the same car. No, really.
First came the Mokka in 2012, built in Korea by Vauxhall’s then owner General Motors’ subsidiary Daewoo (remember them?). A range of 1.4-litre turbo and 1.6-litre non-turbo petrols were offered alongside a diesel alternative – 1.7 litres initially, replaced by a punchier 1.6.
Initially, the Korean plant couldn’t keep up with the surprising levels of demand, meaning that during its lifecycle, production switched to one of GM’s plants in Spain.
Come the mid-life facelift towards the end of 2016, a decision was made to suffix Mokka with an X to complement Vauxhall’s then incoming range of new SUVs.
Although the Mokka and Mokka X shared their underpinnings with the Chevrolet Trax, the Vauxhalls look different from their sister car, sharing no sheet metal.
If anything, the Chevy looked stouter and clearly targeted a younger audience in its promotional materials, but nevertheless it wasn’t a well-recognised name in the UK and sales dwindled to a halt as they did for its showroom siblings.
Mechanically the Mokka X is very straightforward and is very much a road-biased SUV, capable of a bit of light green-laning rather than a full-scale attempt to conquer Mount Snowdon. Of course, few of them will have ever ventured off-road at all, so for many buyers a front-wheel drive example makes the most sense.
Distinctly average is a fair assessment of the Mokka X’s driving credentials – if you’re the kind of driver who likes to be entertained on every journey then the Vauxhall shouldn’t be on your shortlist.
Although it’s improved over the earlier Mokka, the X is still light and vague in its controls, while the ride quality is unsettled and consequently comfort is compromised.
It’s disappointing considering the fine job the firm’s engineers did with the Astra despite budgetary constraints.
Download a Vauxhall price list and at first glance the on-the-road costs of a Mokka X don’t look too bad: not the cheapest car of its type, but far from being the most expensive either.
The fly in the ointment is that most people buy cars on finance and Vauxhall’s PCH and PCP deals for the Mokka X simply aren’t competitive. SEAT’s slightly smaller Arona SUV for instance is a comparative bargain and is better to drive, too.
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Vauxhall Mokka Model History
Current generation Vauxhall Mokka X model history
- June 2016 – Introduced as the replacement for the Mokka, the Mokka X is available to order for autumn delivery. Active, Design Nav, Elite and Elite Nav specifications available with a choice of 1.6i and 1.4i Turbo petrol engines, alongside 1.6-litre CDTi diesels in 110hp and 136hp outputs.
- June 2017 – New range-topping Ultimate specification introduced.
As described above, the Mokka X is a facelifted version of the Mokka, a model which debuted in 2012. Prior to that there were no smaller-sized SUVs in Vauxhall’s range, but larger ones had been around since the early 1990s.
Launched in 1991 was the short-wheelbase Vauxhall Frontera Sport and larger Frontera Estate, both based on Isuzu designs (then a General Motors partner), but built in the UK.
These were replaced in 1998 by a second-generation range of Fronteras, but the Mk2 wasn’t as popular as its predecessor – Vauxhall discontinued the model in 2005, with no direct replacement.
Their place was eventually taken by the less-rugged Vauxhall Antara from 2007, another SUV developed in conjunction with GM-owned Daewoo – its larger, seven-seater version of the car was marketed across Europe as the Chevrolet Captiva.