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Opel has a new kind of Mokka

19.03.2015

TO ME, the sub-compact SUV market is a very strange yet wonderful thing. It basically consists of a bunch of hatchbacks that have been given a higher ground clearance, some black plastic bits around the edges and really funky names. Most of these little SUVs aren�t even four-wheel-drive; they also have really small engines providing just enough power to maintain the speed limit. To me, an SUV is a BMW X5 or a Porsche Cayenne, but then again that�s just me. Opel, on the other hand, reckons its all-new compact SUV, the Mokka, is the perfect blend between hatchback sportiness and SUV practicality. I went down to East London to sample this steamy cuppa Mokka.

What is a Mokka?

Well, for starters a Moka pot is a stove-top or electric coffee maker that produces coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. A Mokka, on the other hand, is Opel’s first-ever sub-compact SUV, which made its South African début last week.  The Opel Mokka is the third of the ‘new Germans’ from Opel to be launched in South Africa in just three months. Unfortunately for Opel, by launching this new car it’s opened up to direct attack from Nissan with its funky looking Juke as well as Suzuki and the SX4.

What’s it like inside?

It’s nice inside. The dashboard layout is very familiar and is similar to that found in the Corsa and Astra. What I did notice though is that the material quality is a drastic improvement over Opel’s of old. Look, it’s still not on par with more premium German rivals but that’s okay. Opel has positioned itself as a challenger brand meaning that it offers more affordable alternatives to the premium brands. The Opel Mokka is available as a four-model range with a choice of two trim levels -the Enjoy and Cosmo -with an option of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel-drive only.

The Enjoy model is very well equipped for the ‘base’ spec model. You can expect things like cruise control with speed limiter, speed-sensitive power steering, a multi-function steering wheel, a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth as well as AUX and USB input. The Cosmo, however, gets all these goodies plus rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlights with Active High Beam Assist, front and rear parking sensors, IntelliLink, reversing camera, heated front seats, interior ambient lighting, rear privacy glass, 18-inch alloys, Jasmin leather upholstery (nogal) and a heated leather-bound steering wheel.

The Mokka’s boxy proportions mean there’s plenty of head and leg room in the front and rear and there are all sorts of convenient little compartments. With the rear seats up, the boot can swallow 356-litres of luggage. What’s more, the rear seats feature a 60:40 split and fold flat, which means that a total of 1 371 litres of cargo can be loaded, which adds to the practicality factor.

Give me power figures

The little 1.4 turbo motor won’t blow you away but it does a fine job of getting you to where you need to be. The little engine produces 103kW and 200Nm of torque. I got to drive both the manual and automatic versions. I like the auto because I see the logic behind it. The manual felt a bit quicker though but then again if you’re stuck in traffic you’re not going anywhere in a hurry.

How’s the ride?

To be honest, the ride is nothing special. The Mokka delivered a comfortable yet familiar experience. The ride is firm but not back-breaking, even with the 18-inch wheels. It’s also not soft and willowy. It handles nicely thanks to a wider track and distance between the two front wheels. I did notice that there was a fair amount of road noise as well as wind noise.

What’s the verdict?

By looking at the sales figures of the Nissan Juke and Qashqai – which Opel seem to consider its main rivals – it’s clear there is a market for this car. The Mokka offers more features when compared to its competitors, however, it will not be available with a diesel engine just yet and there are no plans from Opel to introduce the 4x4 version. Despite this, I feel that if you are in the market for a vehicle that can fit and compliment your active lifestyle then you should consider the new Opel Mokka, after all, it has been brewed for success.

Prices:

Mokka Enjoy 1.4T 6MT R 288 500
Mokka Enjoy 1.4T 6AT R 298 500
Mokka Cosmo 1.4T 6M R 325 500
Mokka Cosmo 1.4T 6AT R 335 500

All new Opel Mokka derivatives are backed by Opel’s comprehensive five-year/ 120 000km warranty and come with a five-year/ 90 000km service plan linked to service intervals of 15 000km.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
19.03.2015
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