Vauxhall Mokka X (2016-2020) review
The Vauxhall Mokka X is a small SUV that comes with lots of high-tech equipment as standard, but many other alternatives are more practical and better to drive
What's not so good
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The Vauxhall Mokka X is a small-but-tall SUV that comes with lots of equipment as standard but doesn’t have a particularly upmarket interior. It’s a little larger than the likes of the Renault Captur but alternatives such as the Nissan Qashqai and Peugeot 2008 are more practical.
The Vauxhall Mokka X does come with height-adjustable front seats, however, so getting comfy up front isn’t a problem – although you will have to stare at a fairly drab dashboard.
It’s not all bad news though – you get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring means you can use your phone’s navigation and music streaming apps through the car’s built-in screen. It’s worth upgrading to a Design Nav model for its larger eight-inch screen though – it’s slightly easier to use and comes with satellite navigation as standard.
Things aren’t so rosy in the back – the Vauxhall Mokka X may be a tall SUV but once you’ve climbed in there’s less headroom than you’d find in a Peugeot 2008, and its narrow body means it’s not very roomy at all with three people on the back seats.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of room to lift in a child seat but there’s far less space in the Vauxhall Mokka X’s 356-litre boot than you get in either a 410-litre 2008 or a 430-litre Qashqai. You can flip the seats down in a two-way (60:40) split to carry long luggage and up to two passengers at once, and there’s no annoying boot lip to heave objects over when loading the boot.
With all the seats down the floor’s nearly flat and the Vauxhall Mokka X’s 1,371-litre boot is roomier than the 1,235-litre Captur’s and big enough to carry a bike with one wheel removed – though a 1,400-litre Peugeot 2008 or a 1,585-litre Qashqai are roomier still.
The Vauxhall Mokka X looks a bit like two Corsas in a trench coat trying to sneak into an 18-rated movie
If you spend lots of time driving around town, pick the 1.4-litre turbo petrol model. It’s nippier than the diesels and will return around 35mpg in the real-world compared to Vauxhall’s claimed 45.6mpg. If you spend more time on motorways then go for the 1.6-litre diesel – okay, it’s noisier than the petrols but it’ll return about 55mpg on long trips.
The optional £915 automatic gearbox helps make long journeys a little more relaxing but the Vauxhall Mokka X’s slightly wallowy suspension means it often struggles to soften the thud of large potholes. The Nissan Qashqai does a much better job of ironing out bumps in rutted British roads.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Vauxhall Mokka X but the regular Mokka (on which it’s based) received a five-star safety rating back in 2012. The tests have been made much stricter since, however, so newer five-star-rated cars will provide a little more protection in a collision.
The Vauxhall Mokka X does its best to stand out but it’s neither as practical nor feels as upmarket as many alternatives.
The Vauxhall Mokka X has a reasonable amount of room in the front seats, but you don’t have to work too hard to find alternatives that have more room in the rear seats and boot
There's a lot of debate over what the X stands for, but when it comes to practicality, it certainly doesn't stand for excellent
There’s plenty of room in the Vauxhall Mokka X’s front seats for you to get comfy – even if you’re very tall – but you only get lumbar support (to help prevent back ache on long journeys) on top-spec Elite models. At least height adjustment for both front seats comes as standard across the range.
There isn’t quite as much headroom as you get in the slightly larger Nissan Qashqai but the Mokka X’s raised ride height and large doors make it easier to climb into than the likes of the Nissan Juke or Toyota C-HR.
Space in the back is okay, but tall adults might find leg room a little tight – especially on long journeys. There’s plenty of headroom, however, and two kids will have more than enough room to stretch out.
Carrying three passengers side-by-side in the back seats isn’t as comfortable as in a Peugeot 2008 thanks to the Vauxhall Mokka X‘s narrow central seat, restricted shoulder room and slight lump in the rear floor. Its thick rear pillars and small rear windscreen can make the back seats feel a little dark and dingy too, and there’s no option of an airy panoramic glass sunroof like you get in the Qashqai.
Thankfully, the rear Isofix anchor points for fitting a child seat are clearly marked and the tall back doors make lifting in the seat base or strapping in a child a breeze.
The Vauxhall Mokka X’s door bins will struggle to hold anything larger than a one-litre bottle and its glovebox is fairly small, too. Thankfully, there are a few handy cubby holes dotted around its cabin to help you squirrel away a few family bits-and-bobs. There’s a tray in the centre console that’s big enough to tuck a smartphone safely out of sight, two cupholders beside the handbrake and a small storage tray with a sliding lid in front of the central armrest.
Active and Design Nav cars come with a handy storage tray under the front passenger seat, but this feature is missing in more expensive Elite and Ultimate models. The rear door bins are slightly smaller than those in the front too, and you’ll have to pick a high-spec Elite or Ultimate model if you want a folding rear armrest with two cupholders.
There’s enough space in the Vauxhall Mokka X’s boot to squeeze a baby buggy and a few small soft bags with all five seats in place. Unfortunately, its 356-litre capacity lags far behind the likes of the 410-litre Peugeot 2008 and 430-litre Nissan Qashqai.
At least there isn’t an annoying boot lip to lift any heavy luggage over and the boot’s square shape makes it relatively easy to pack full of large suitcases or cardboard boxes. You also get some shopping hooks and tether points to stop smaller items rolling around.
You can fold the back seats down in a two-way (60:40) split to carry two passengers and some long luggage at the same time. Flip both back seats down and the Vauxhall’s boot grows to 1,372 litres – just about big enough to carry a bike with a wheel removed, but it’s still not quite as practical as the Nissan Qashqai or Peugeot 2008.
With both back seats down, the Vauxhall Mokka X has a nearly completely flat boot floor which makes it dead easy to slide heavy boxes right up behind the front seats. There’s a small amount of underfloor storage, too – ideal for keeping a few small valuables (such as cameras) hidden away out of sight.
The Vauxhall Mokka X might look more like an SUV than a family hatchback but its soft, wallowy suspension struggles with bumps and potholes
The Mokka X is relatively easy to potter about in, but it isn't great on bumpy roads – it’s certainly much more roly-poly than a Nissan Qashqai
You can get the Vauxhall Mokka X with three petrol engines and two diesels and with either front or four-wheel drive.
Pick the 140hp 1.4-litre turbo petrol model if you do lots of city driving. It’s both quieter and nippier than the diesel models and it’ll return around 35mpg in real-world conditions.
If you spend more time on the motorway you’ll want to consider the 136hp 1.6-litre diesel. It’s a little noiser than the petrols at slow speeds and doesn’t feel anywhere near as perky around town but it settles into a fairly quiet cruise and will return approximately 55mpg (compared to Vauxhall’s claimed 68.9mpg).
Besides the 152hp 1.4-litre petrol model, every Vauxhall Mokka X comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. It’s reasonably easy to use, but the optional six-speed automatic really helps give your left leg a rest in stop-start traffic or on long journeys. It’s reasonably smooth and costs £915 across the Vauxhall Mokka X range.
You can get four-wheel drive (for a little extra grip in slippery conditions) on 140hp petrol and 136hp diesel cars, but unless you live somewhere prone to snaps of wintery weather you’ll be better off with the standard front-wheel-drive model that’s cheaper to buy and run.
The Vauxhall Mokka X’s raised seating position gives you a good view out over the road ahead which, combined with its fairly light steering, helps make it reasonably easy to thread through tight city streets.
The pillars where the doors meet the windscreen don’t create any particularly awkward blindspots at junctions but its small rear windscreen can make parking rather tricky. Thankfully, every Vauxhall Mokka X comes with front and rear parking sensors as standard and you can get a reversing camera for an extra £285 for even greater peace of mind.
Over bumpy roads, however, the Vauxhall Mokka X starts to fall behind more accomplished alternatives. It tends to wallow and bounce over rough surfaces and its suspension does little to soften the thud of large potholes around town. Even at motorway speeds (where most SUVs cruise fairly comfortably) the Vauxhall struggles to settle down and it leans quite a lot in tight corners, too. If comfort is your main priority, a Nissan Qashqai is a much better bet.
The Vauxhall also comes with cruise control to help take the stress out of long motorway journeys and a system that’ll automatically apply full brake pressure when it detects you’re performing an emergency stop.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the Mokka X but the mechanically identical Mokka received a five-star rating back in 2012. It’s worth noting that the tests have been made significantly stricter since then however, so newer five-star rated cars (such as the Toyota C-HR) will offer more protection.
You won’t be blown away by the Vauxhall Mokka X’s cabin but you get a slick infotainment system and smartphone mirroring as standard. Alternatives are more spacious, though