It's fidgety and noisy, though the 1.4 petrol engine is good
Good forward visibility but too many fiddly buttons
Six airbags and stability control as standard
Vauxhall doesn't have a great reputation
Decent enough but no more than you'd expect
Only certain versions are good value
Vauxhall has opted for a stiff suspension for the Mokka. This keeps its tall body nicely upright through twists and turns (good news for those with motion sickness) but the payoff is a firm ride that makes the Mokka fidget around on poor surfaces at low speeds, while larger bumps send jolts through the cabin. Meanwhile, the steering feels too light and nervous. The entry-level 1.6-litre petrol engine is fine if most of your journeys are made round town; the turbocharged 1.4 petrol is picks up speed much more quickly, though, whatever gear you're in. The diesel has plenty of oomph but only if you rev it, and it's very noisy - and there's already plenty of wind and road noise to contend with, especially above 50mph. The 1.4 petrol and the diesel both come with the choice of two- or four-wheel drive.
The Mokka's cabin is quite smart although some of the materials feel a bit cheap. There are a lot of poorly marked buttons, too. Forward visibility is good, thanks partly to the raised driving position, but thick rear pillars restrict over-the-shoulder visibility.
There's plenty of room for occupants, and even the middle rear seat isn't too bad for short trips. The boot is impressive, too. It's not quite as big as a Nissan Qashqai's or a Skoda Yeti's, and you'll struggle to fit in a three-wheel buggy, but it's a useful shape and the rear seats fold down almost flat if you flip up the bases first. There are also plenty of handy cubbyholes around the cabin.
SE cars come with air-con, electric front windows, cruise control and a DAB radio. Step up to Exclusiv and you'll get alloy wheels, Bluetooth and climate control. Tech Line models make the most sense, though: they have the same kit as Exclusiv cars plus sat-nav and an upgraded stereo but, oddly, they're cheaper. All models have Isofix points on the outer rear seats, plus top tether points. The Isofix lugs are hidden just behind clearly-marked plastic covers that flip neatly out of the way when you need to connect your child seat, which is helpful if you frequently have to remove and refit yours.
The Mokka's cabin doesn't feel particularly classy but it's no worse than rivals. Vauxhall's reliability record is more of a concern; the company features very near the bottom of recent reliability surveys. Safety provision is more promising: all models get stability control to help prevent a skid, plus airbags which extend to the rear windows and the option to disable the front passenger airbag if you're fitting a rear-facing child seat here. The Mokka achieved the maximum five stars in crash tests by Euro NCAP, including an impressive 96% for adult protection and 90% for children. Hill descent control and plenty of security measures are standard too.
Tech Line cars are well priced but other trims are way too expensive. Big discounts are available, but these have to be weighed against the fact that the Mokka won't hold onto its value particularly well. Running costs aren't that competitive, either, although insurance costs aren't bad. At the end of the day, a Nissan Qashqai is more comfortable and a Skoda Yeti is more fun, while both are more spacious than the Mokka.