Parkers overall rating: 2.9 out of 5 2.9

Vauxhall has it covered whether you want maximum thrift with a claimed 72.4mpg or punchy performance courtesy of 152hp.There are five engine outputs to choose from, available with automatic and manual transmissions plus two- and all-wheel drive.

Petrol engines

Kicking things off is the 1.6i motor with 115hp, a five-speed manual ‘box and front-wheel drive. This is the cheapest engine available and, unfortunately, it shows. Acceleration to 62mph takes a pedestrian 12.5 seconds, while top speed is rated at 106mph. Torque is listed at a lowly 155Nm which means a lack of pulling power on hills or when the car is loaded.

Higher up the range is the 1.4i Turbo engine with two different power outputs; the first being a 140hp unit, which can be paired with either front- or four-wheel drive with an automatic transmission option for the former.

Vauxhall Mokka X dials

The quickest accelerating versions of the 140hp 1.4 are the front-wheel drive manual and four-wheel drive manual, powering from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds.  Lagging behind is the front-wheel drive automatic taking 10.7 seconds. All 140hp 1.4-litre engines are a good balance of pace and low running costs, but fall short on any kind of excitement.  

Finally the 152hp version of the above engine offers a little more speed and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive only. The sprint from 0-62mph is taken care of in 9.7 seconds, while top speed is rated at 120mph.

However, such a generous power figure feels at odds with the rest of the car and although it’s reasonably quick, there’s a real lack of refinement to the engine. It’s smooth and quiet enough when dawdling along at low revs, but give the accelerator a prod and it becomes loud and coarse. Torque for this engine is a respectable 245Nm.

Diesel engines

There’s a choice of two outputs from the 1.6 CDTi Ecoflex engine that we’ve enjoyed using in other Vauxhall cars, thanks to its efficiency and strong in-gear performance.

The lower-powered option produces 110hp and a hefty 300Nm of torque, coming in manual, two-wheel drive form only. This is your best bet for fuel economy but as a trade-off you’ll have to accept a rough, almost van-like diesel clatter from the engine when moving off and under hard acceleration. Here, 0-62mph is despatched in 11.9 seconds, while top speed is 111mph.

More refined is the 136hp version, with a manual or automatic gearbox, and two or all-wheel drive. Curiously the latter can only be picked with a manual ‘box, so if you want an automatic four-wheel drive Mokka X then you’ll have to settle for a petrol engine.

Top speed and acceleration figures vary across the configurations, although torque stays the same at 320Nm. The quickest to 62mph is the front-wheel drive manual at 9.9 seconds, followed by the four-wheel drive manual at 10.3 seconds and the front-wheel drive automatic at 10.9 seconds. Top speed is 118mph for the manual front-wheel drive, 117mph for the automatic front-wheel drive and 116mph for the manual four-wheel drive.

Overall, the 136hp version is the one to go for if you’re after a diesel Mokka X, offering strong in-gear performance and a more refined character than the lesser 110hp derivative. The hefty 320Nm of torque makes overtaking surprisingly swift and motorway cruising a satisfyingly easy task.

Transmission options

Mokka X drivers have a choice between a five-speed manual (1.6i petrol only), six-speed manual and six-speed auto transmissions. Both manuals are easy enough to use, but the auto version is jerkier than offerings on rival cars and dulls the engine’s responses. Plus, instead of the commonly-used manual override gearshift paddles behind the wheel, the Mokka X uses +/- buttons which feel unnatural and force you to move your hands away from their usual position on the wheel.

Vauxhall Mokka X automatic gearbox

How does it drive?

  • Reasonably-assured handling with decent grip levels
  • Far from being performance-focused
  • All-wheel drive adds traction in slippery conditions

It’s unlikely you’re buying a Vauxhall Mokka X because you’re looking for a sharp and involving driving experience. Even so, it still handles itself in a predictable and reasonably-assured manner for an SUV. Just don’t expect much in the way of fun along the way.

Push hard and you’ll find both front- and four-wheel drive cars wash wide when provoked, particularly in the wet, resulting in the traction control stepping in to gather things back up.

The intelligent all-wheel drive (if fitted) aids traction levels in poor driving conditions but doesn’t give you seemingly endless traction like Audi’s Quattro system. It is predominantly front-wheel drive in order to save fuel, but can switch from sending 100 percent of power forwards to a 50:50 front/rear distribution when driving conditions demand it.

Vauxhall Mokka X white, handling