Vauxhall is set to take on the fast-growing compact SUV market later this year with the new Mokka. Due to be unveiled at this years Geneva motor show in March, the new model will go on sale towards the end of 2012, with a choice of two or four wheel drive, two petrol engines and one diesel engine.
On a base level, the Mokka has a 113hp, torque 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a manual gearbox. There is also a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine which produces 138hp and 147lb/ft of torque. Or there is a diesel 1.7 CDTI with marginally less power, 128hp, but considerably more torque, 221lb/ft. All engines can be equipped with Stop/Start technology, and either the 1.4-litre turbo petrol or the 1.7-litre CDTI can be equipped with a six speed manual or six speed automatic gearbox.
The Mokka comes with all-wheel drive as an option. When equipped, Vauxhall claim it can seamlessly shift torque to the rear wheels when additional traction is needed.
Styling wise, Vauxhall have gave the new Mokka a bold yet compact design. Strong shoulders, smooth surfaces and crisp lines help the Mokka stand out without being too bold. A muscular face looks friendly rather than intimidating and the signature Vauxhall blade design swipes down the side of the car, with a rearward up-flick. Black lower bumpers complete a rugged and solid look.
The Mokka is set to bring new levels of technology and safety to this market segment. Electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist and hill decent control are all standard. Advanced Adaptive Forward Lights, which use Bi-Xenon lights with High Beam Assist technology is available along with a front camera which can read traffic signs, warn of lane departures and even sense collisions. This, claims Vauxhall, is something no other compact SUV offers.
Although compact on the outside, this car features a maximum of 1,371-litres of load space, more than the Audi Q3, which is 10cm longer. Vauxhalls Flex Fix bicycle carrier which folds out from under the rear of the car to carry up to three bicycles is useful option and should make the Mokka a favourable choice.
A stylish, compact and clever SUV. Price, which is yet to be announced, will be key to this off-roaders success. A more powerful diesel engine for increased performance and towing capability would be a welcome addition after launch. From these first details, it seems it's a respectable entry from Vauxhall in a rising and tightly fought market segment.