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A battery of safety features is cream on top of Mokka
VAUXHALL’S Mokka is the answer to a prayer that, until relatively recently, no one had ever uttered.
Even a decade ago, anyone looking to buy a 4x4 knew that they would probably have to settle for something pretty large, pretty functional and sporting a hefty price tag.
Then came the recession and with it the phenomenon of downsizing, with people demanding the technology and luxury of large vehicles in a smaller, less expensive package.
No part of the market saw this more than the so-called compact sports utility vehicle sector, which is continuing to grow with models ranging from the Skoda Yeti to the Nissan Juke and Qashqai.
With prices starting at about £16,000, and a choice of four trim levels, the rugged looks and muscular stance of Vauxhall’s entrance into the segment cloaks an elegant exterior and a well-finished cabin, lifted by splashes of chrome and packed with the latest technology.
Riding on 18-inch alloy wheels, the Mokka has softer, less involved handling than a car like the Nissan Juke, with the emphasis firmly on ride comfort. So though the car, with its compact dimensions and battery of parking sensors, is perfect for city motoring, it also soaks up long-distance hauling with quiet ease.
This is particularly true of the diesel version whose 1.7-litre turbocharged engine, though a tad rumbly while pottering around town, settles down beautifully on the open road to give a relaxed ride, combined with excellent fuel economy.
Vauxhall expects just over half of all Mokka buyers to opt for the front-wheel-drive version, with the diesel proving to be the most popular engine.
Safety is paramount on family cars and the Mokka sports a full complement of electronic systems, from anti-lock braking complete with cornering brake control and brake assist, to an electronic stability program with traction control.
In addition, technology helps both with hill starts, and when descending steep slopes covered with gravel or other difficult surfaces.
The top-of-the-range test model is a truly high-specification beast, packing in everything from leather upholstery and heated front sports seats, to ultra-bright bi-xenon headlights with beam levelling and a follow-the-road function, to an electrically-heated steering wheel.
Practical and user friendly, the Mokka has plenty of storage spaces, and a concealed armrest in the rear bench that also contains a cup holder.
The Mokka Tech Line models come in a competitive equipment and pricing package, with colour-screen satnav, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and cruise control, making it an attractive proposition to the company car driver. A unique option is Vauxhall’s FlexFix cycle carrier system, which can be stored in the rear bumper when not in use.
With neat touches like that, the Mokka could well be the answer to many motorists’ prayers.
AT A GLANCE
Insurance group: 14 (1-50):
Fuel consumption (Combined): 57.6mpg
Top speed: 114mph
Luggage capacity: 12.8 cu ft
Fuel tank capacity: 11.9 gallons/54 litres
CO2 emissions: 129g/km
Warranty: 100,000 miles
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