Slick, chic & surprisingly austere Mokka impresses on test

Meet Opel’s new face. Bearing the Blitz’ new Vizor face and flanks creased as tight as an inspection army bed, this Mokka is the first Opel borne out of the Peugeot affair under the auspices of Stellantis. Basically, what happened is that Peugeot-Citroen mated with Opel a couple of years ago. Shortly before that menage-a-trois swelled to include Fiat, Chrysler and all the Italians and Americans too.


Mokka Rides on a Fine Peugeot Foundation

The upshot, however, is great. Rather than crap recycled old General Motors platforms, new Opels now ride on foundations originally melded under fine modern Peugeots. Never mind, the German brand appears to have benefited from that Gallic affliction with some great new styling too. To be blunt, the Mokka represents a giant leap forward, for the brand of the goose flashing across the moon

Fresh and modern, but still simple, even this garish antifreeze green paint fails to spoil a great ensemble of lines. Mokka was designed from the ground up, so it wears its new language far better than some sibling designs recently cut out and pasted onto those old GM platforms. 124 mm shorter but 10 mm wider than the ugly, albeit popular car it replaces, Mokka will accommodate a young family, but mum can still easily park it.

Mokka’s clever if fussily trimmed cabin is a simple, sensible space. Austere, flat, and basic, but modern, it’s rather different to its Peugeot donor’s emotive solution. The Mokka simplifies all that and includes real knob and button controls. Thank goodness! It’s solidly tacked together, and we found it all cheerful and chic, if a bit sombre.


A Fine Primary School Family Car

A slim, conventional steering wheel sits ahead of clear and legible digital dials. There’s CarPlay and Auto-rich 12-inch touchscreen infotainment and a rubberised charging mat. Yards of glossy black plastic may be a bit much for some, and the odd centre console overpowers the tiny gear toggle and handbrake switch. It squashes the inadequate cupholders into a corner behind. A rare oversight in an otherwise cool space.

Mokka should easily accommodate a young family’s primary school children. But bigger-boned teenagers may become even grumpier in the tight confines of the rear cockpit. The 350-litre boot is also a tad cramped, but it expands to 1,110 litres. Even though the backrests don’t quite flip flat.

Our coolant green 96 kW 230 Nm 1.2-litre petrol turbo triple GS Line tester also proved a vast improvement in just about every dynamic way. It made a delightful thrum to deliver precisely on its 9.2 second 0-100 km/h acceleration promise. Its eight-speed automatic silently got on with it and we averaged better than its 6.1 l/100 km consumption claim until they took it away. Just, but still.


Mokka a Major Step Forward for Opel

One of our few reservations would be an iffy ride on those black 18-inch rims. Steering is a tad vague in tighter turns, but it comes back to you in a more settled, easier car to drive at cruising speeds. Where it sits unflustered and without the need of undue steering work. In short, it’s far more rewarding, more pleasant to drive than the old car.

Yes, it has a couple of little issues in the bigger picture. But none of that should be enough to chase you off to another brand. Because overall, the new Mokka represents a major step forward for the revitalised Opel brand in a country that once loved it. – Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Opel Mokka 1.2T GS Line
Engine: 96 kW 230 Nm 1.2-litre turbo petrol I3
Drive:8-speed automatic FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.08 sec
0-100 km/h:       9.25 sec
0-120 km/h:       12.87 sec
0-160 km/h:       24.14 sec
400m:             16.6 sec @ 136 km/h
80-120 km/h:      6.43 sec
120-160 km/h:     11.27 sec
VMax:             200 km/h
Fuel:             6.1 l/100 km
CO2:              139 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 120K/4y 60K km
LIST PRICE:       R527K
RATED:            8
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