Vauxhall Mokka-e Review
The Vauxhall Mokka has never had an easy ride in the automotive press. But despite being lambasted for its lacklustre handling, naff cabin quality and iffy suspension, the old Mokka was still a hit with consumers, who seemed to appreciate its solid level of standard equipment and competitive pricing.
Even so, the whole industry breathed a sigh of relief when the new Mokka was revealed with absolutely no semblance to its predecessor. Yes, it is still a compact SUV, but the similarities end there. With a modern exterior and a vastly improved cabin, as well as much better road manners, the Mokka has morphed into a strong and, dare we say it, desirable contender in its class.
Better still- there’s now an electric version, which offers ultra-low emissions and a decent range between charges. The result is a solid, well-priced small SUV with good refinement and low running costs. What’s not to like?
Select's rating score* - 3.4 / 5
At a Glance
The Vauxhall Mokka has improved dramatically with this latest-generation model, and this electric version feels every inch the modern compact SUV. The stylish exterior is matched by a modern interior, giving the Vauxhall a much cooler, much fresher vibe. And with electric power under the bonnet, it’s a much more refined family runabout. If this seems like your type of power, view out electric car special offers today for more environmentally-friendly-powered vehicles.
That electric propulsion system, though, is still key to the Mokka-e’s appeal. A tried and tested setup used across the Stellantis group (which includes the likes of Peugeot and Citroen), it offers a very useable range of around 200 miles and it makes the Mokka feel perkier and more responsive, as well as eco-friendly and cheap to run.
Finally, Vauxhall has made an SUV that feels worthy of your consideration. The Mokka is a solid choice in any guise, but the Mokka-e is the pick of the bunch, bringing an extra level of value to a brand that already prides itself on offering value. But the Mokka-e will appeal to your heart as well as your head, with styling and technology that turn a decent car into a desirable one.
The technology on board the Mokka-e is both a blessing and a curse. The digital instrument cluster is sublime, offering customisation and a clear, easy-to-read display that puts plenty of others to shame. And it sits nicely alongside the central touchscreen – particularly in high-spec models with the bigger displays. However, the central touchscreen itself is less of a success, with blocky graphics and underwhelming functionality. Use the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay tech that comes as standard, though, and the Mokka-e will feel like a proper high-tech SUV.
But with any electric car, talk will always revert to the powertrain. The Mokka-e’s battery pack isn’t massive, but the range is decent and it’ll be more than enough for those who can charge at home and just want an urban runabout. It might not have the striking distance of some of its rivals, but there are petrol- and diesel-powered Mokkas to cater for those who travel further afield. Whatever the figures suggest, this is a well-judged, refined way of powering a Mokka.
Range & Batteries
Mokka-e customers only get one choice when it comes to the battery. The standard unit is the same 50kWh pack fitted to the Peugeot e-2008 and the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. In the Mokka-e, it offers up to 201 miles of range between charges.
In the real world, you might struggle to achieve that – particularly at motorway speeds, which don’t favour batteries. However, unless the weather’s really cold or your feet seem to weigh more than the QE2, you’ll probably manage 150 or so without trying too hard to economise. It’s worth remembering that heaters and other ancillary features can reduce range, so you can always turn those off to help preserve the battery if necessary.
Want to know more about electric vehicle range? Check out our Complete Guide to Electric Car Range.
Performance & Drive
With just one battery on offer, perhaps it’s no surprise to find there’s only one electric motor available for Mokka-e customers. It makes life easier when you’re picking your leasing deal, at least.
The motor in question is a 136hp unit that drives the front wheels. There’s nothing particularly clever about that – that’s exactly what you’ll find in the Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot e-2008 and Citroen e-C4. In essence, it’s the Stellantis group’s go-to setup.
However, the Mokka-e does come with three driving modes (Normal, Eco and Sport), which either strangle the motor or free it up, depending on which you choose. The Sport mode gives you maximum performance, allowing you to take advantage of the motor’s might and dash from 0-62mph in just under nine seconds, which is quite respectable. And it feels faster when you do it – particularly when you’re picking up from middling speeds to overtake other cars.
Otherwise you can drive in Eco mode to try and eke every last mile that 50kWh battery has to give. The throttle will feel less than responsive, but you should be able to manage a more impressive distance between trips to the charging point.
Alternatively, you can go for Normal mode, which is a kind of halfway house. And despite being far from the peak of responsiveness in a Mokka-e, it still feels plenty quick enough. It just doesn’t encourage you to get all those juicy electrons flowing at full speed.
And that’s kind of a metaphor for the Mokka-e overall. It doesn’t feel rapid, but it’s perky enough and the handling follows suit. It doesn’t feel as baggy and lax as a Peugeot 2008, but nor is it as good to drive as a Mazda MX-30. It feels stable and safe, despite its height off the road, and although the steering feels a bit lifeless, it responds to your commands quite well.
Happily, it feels so much better than the previous-generation Mokka, the Mokka X, that it’s hard to believe it came from the same brand. If you’re looking to replace your internal combustion-powered Mokka X with a clean, green Mokka-e, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. It’s better to drive in every single area.
According to Vauxhall, charging the Mokka-e’s 50kWh battery to 80% takes about 30 minutes, although that does assume you can find a 100kW charging point. On a slower 50kW unit, you’re looking at more like an hour. Even so, that’s perfectly quick enough if you’re just trying to top up while you’re in the supermarket.
At home, it’s probably best to get yourself a domestic ‘wallbox’ charging unit that will top up the whole battery overnight. Charging using a conventional three-pin socket will take donkey’s years, but a wallbox should easily do the job in the time it takes to get a decent amount of shut-eye. It’ll probably work out cheaper than charging while you’re on the move, too.
Running Costs & Emissions
And it’s low fuel costs that attract many customers to electric vehicles such as the Mokka-e. If you can charge the batteries at home and you have a sensible energy tariff, you will pay very little to keep the battery topped up. However, charging away from home can be quite expensive, so it’s worth getting your name down for some charging network memberships, which can cut the price considerably.
But if you’re a company car driver, that’s where the Mokka-e will really save you money. The government’s drive to incentivise electric vehicles means the company car tax rate for the Mokka-e is laughably low and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Single-figure Benefit-in-Kind tax rates are always going to make electric vehicles popular with those driving company-funded wheels.
For more information on fuel types and discover which best suits your lifestyle, click here to read our fuel guide.
Interior & Technology
The Mokka-e’s cabin looks much like that of the petrol- and diesel-powered Mokkas, but that’s no bad thing. It has a thoroughly modern feel, with screens in place of traditional dials and a futuristic dashboard design that chimes with the electric powertrain underneath.
Cabin quality isn’t quite up there with the e-2008 or the DS 3 E-Tense, but it’s only slightly worse and it’s much better than it was in the old Mokka. It feels solid, everything fits together neatly and the materials are cheaper than in more premium models, but that’s understandable. The profit margin in compact cars isn’t massive, and it’s inevitable that some parts will feel as though they’re built down to a price. In general, though, the interior ambience matches the fresh, modern feel of the exterior and the powertrain.
Technology plays a starring role in that, with the central touchscreen and digital instrument display giving the car a kind of spaceship feel. Happily, though, Vauxhall has chosen not to insert technology for technology’s sake, with traditional heater and volume controls, rather than the horrible touchscreen controls you find in an e-2008.
However, Vauxhall has fitted the same infotainment system you’ll find in an e-2008, which means you get slightly clunky functionality and old-school graphics. It does everything you want it to do, but it doesn’t feel as up-to-date as you might like. On the plus side, you get the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, which gives you improved design and functionality when you plug in your smartphone.
And it should be mentioned that the Mokka-e’s digital instrument cluster is much better than the touchscreen, with clear displays and some customisable features, making it feel much more premium.
Practicality & Boot Space
This is arguably the Mokka-e’s Achilles heel. The boot measures 310 litres, which is about the same as you’ll find in the petrol- or diesel-powered Corsa hatchback. It’s slightly smaller than that of the standard Mokka, but it’s still plenty for shopping, school bags and other day-to-day items. If you’re planning a big, two-week family holiday in Cornwall or Scotland, however, it might be a bit cramped.
The same is true of the Mokka-e cabin, which can feel a bit dark and oppressive at times, especially in the back. There, the tapered windows reduce the light that comes in, making it feel slightly tighter than it is. While those in the front won’t have any complaints, rear-seat passengers might suffer a little from a lack of legroom – particularly when they’re sitting behind a tall driver or front-seat passenger.
The latest-generation Vauxhall Mokka managed a solid four-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test, which is quite good going, but a little behind the class leaders. The closely related Peugeot 2008, for example, managed five stars, and so did the DS 3 Crossback. Nevertheless, the Mokka scored solidly across the board, with no real weaknesses uncovered by the test.
And for a little extra peace of mind, it’s worth remembering all versions of the Mokka-e come with plenty of safety features. There’s adaptive cruise control that will maintain a safe distance to the vehicle in front, and there’s lane-keeping assistance to help ensure you don’t wander out of your lane. And, of course, you get autonomous emergency braking technology that will hit the brakes automatically if you fail to react to an oncoming hazard.
Confusingly, Mokka-e customers get a completely different choice of trim levels to those choosing the petrol- or diesel-powered cars. The models are vaguely related, but there are some differences that make comparisons a bit difficult.
If you go for the electric Mokka, therefore, the SE Premium trim represents the foot of the range. That gets you 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control and LED headlights, as well as a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration tech. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a digital instrument display, rear parking sensors and ‘keyless’ push-button ignition.
Stepping up a level brings you to the SRI Premium trim, which is marked out by its black roof and black rear spoiler, as well as a red upper window moulding and tinted rear windows. The SRI Premium also comes with larger 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and front parking sensors, plus a keyless entry system and a larger 10-inch touchscreen.
Elite Premium theoretically sits above the SRI Premium in the range, but it has a slightly lower list price. That’s partly because it offers a less sporty, more premium vibe, losing the red window trim and the 18-inch alloy wheels, but gaining a more impressive digital instrument cluster and a rear-view camera, as well as 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels.
As the name suggests, the Ultimate version crowns the range with its black roof and 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as all the features of the Elite Premium. It also comes with Advanced Park Assist technology to help when manoeuvring into a parking space.
Aside from choosing between those four trim levels, customers also need to decide which colour they want their Mokka-e to be. The choices include some traditional white, black and silver, but there is also a gloriously bright blue and an even more outlandish green. The red looks good, too. And you can also pick a roof, deciding whether you want white, black or body-coloured contrasting features. You can even pick a black bonnet.
Vauxhall is now part of the Stellantis manufacturer group, which includes Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat, to name but a few. Some of the Mokka-e’s biggest rivals come from within that cohort, including the chunky, funky Peugeot e-2008 and the modern Citroen e-C4, both of which share the Vauxhall’s all-electric powertrain.
Other big-name rivals include the Kia Soul EV, which is an acquired taste but absolutely brilliant once you peel back that youthful exterior, and then Mazda MX-30, which doesn’t have much range but certainly drives well. You could also consider the roomier Kia e-Niro, although that isn’t quite such a fair fight.
Looking elsewhere, the Mokka-e also has to fend off the stylish DS 3 Crossback E-Tense – another car from the Stellantis group – and the even more luxurious Lexus UX 300e. And then there’s the Hyundai Kona Electric, which feels more grown up than the Mokka, but it’s unquestionably competent.
And the Mokka-e isn’t just up against the other electric SUVs. There are some great compact models with internal combustion engines – think Ford Puma and Seat Arona – while there are some brilliant hatchbacks, including the VW ID.3 and Nissan Leaf, which already have electric powertrains.
Verdict & Next Steps
Where once there was an ugly duckling, the Mokka has turned into a much more elegant swan. It isn’t perfect, but the zero-emission Mokka-e has enough about it to make up for some of those shortcomings. It’s quiet and good to drive, while the battery pack is just about big enough to make the electric option viable.
And with the new Mokka design forming a modern, stylish skin, it’s much more desirable than before. If you’re in the market for a small, electric SUV, it has to go on your shortlist.
Where to next?
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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Vauxhall Mokka-e
**Correct as of 18/11/2021. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £2,298.15 Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.