Tuesday, 03 August 2021

New Vauxhall has got the '£' factor

New Vauxhall has got the '£' factor

WHILE we have no way of knowing what the classic cars of tomorrow will be like, you can bet there will be a
Vauxhall among them.

This might seem an odd statement to make for such a workaday marque, but Vauxhall has a fine tradition of car manufacture that goes back more than a century.

I discovered while reacquainting myself with classic cars during the Christmas break that Vauxhall was indeed producing cars as early as 1903 — the company having been founded in 1857 as a pump and marine engine manufacturer.

As to any future claim as a maker of classics, there is a precedent. One “modern” example I found was a recent auction where a 1962 Vauxhall Cresta had an estimate of more than £5,000 — not bad for a car that was more than half a century old.

But what will aficionados in 50 years’ time make of the 2016 Vauxhall Mokka X? As promised in last week’s “Christmas in the Cotswolds” column, I have been driving the Mokka X with a view to finding out if it has that all-important X factor.

Well, while this car may or may not turn out to be a classic in years to come, I think with this certain X factor added — the X was launched at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, though the Mokka first appeared in 2012 — it is evolving into a finely competitive car in a popular segment of the market.

This was always going to be a tough call. Actually, a few weeks ago I was driving one of its near rivals, which was also an accomplished medium-sized SUV (sport utility vehicle) that has definitely wowed buyers.

But here I think we have to factor in the price of the Mokka X. The X starts at around £18,000 (£19,515 for diesel versions). While that rival I mentioned — which shall remain nameless — did have a similar starting price to the Mokka X, the test car was nudging the £25,000 mark.

So if the Mokka X is going to prove competitive on price, then that’s a good start.

When I drove the car a couple of years ago I also wrote about a kind of “awkwardness”. However, I realised that this might have been the “high-ride” design factor.

I conceded that when you get your driver’s seat and steering adjusted to your own liking, this is a definite plus.

So for a medium-sized SUV you do not feel at all “low-down” on the road compared with much bigger SUVs.

The test car this week was the Mokka X powered by the new 1.4-litre Direct Injection Turbo (152PS) petrol unit. While I think I prefer the diesel version, this would be just a matter of personal taste.

The pull away with the 1.4-litre Direct Injection Turbo (152PS) petrol unit is snappier — and it takes a bit of getting used to that the engine is quite high-revving.

Of course, this comes into its own once you are on the move — and this Mokka X with this turbo petrol engine is nothing if not plucky and willing to perform.

There is plenty of room in the cabin and, though not luxuriously appointed, the ergonomics — as with most Vauxhalls apart from prestige versions — are perfunctory.

But this too can work well. After all, so much of what a car is about today is being functional — getting you from A to B without fuss and hopefully as economically as possible.

The combined miles per gallon figure for this car of 43.5 mpg I did not find particularly impressive, but then this is the way with any petrol-powered car.

Of course, you get better mpg with a diesel car of any description — and this is indeed the case with the Mokka X range.

However, there is a huge debate at present about the merits or otherwise of diesel-powered cars. Once they were — particularly in Europe — the engine power source of choice. But I think that is about to change radically in the next

Looking at the spec on this test car, it is hard to fault it on what you actually get as so-called standard features.

They are too numerous to list here, but a few of the highlights are as follows: multi-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, silver-effect roof rails, front fog lights, leather-covered steering wheel, steering column adjustable for reach and rake, steering wheel mounted audio controls, front centre armrest, 60/40 split flip and fold rear seat, dark-tinted rear windows… the list goes on. For more standard features, see the factfile below.

This car may or may not have the all-important X factor. But I have seen a great improvement in this Mokka X to the one I drove a few years ago. The only way to resolve the question is to take a test-drive yourself. You may or may not discern the X factor in this 2016 Mokka, but at least you can rest assured that as a new car buyer you have given the car your best shot.

l Nearest Vauxhall dealer: Sonning Common Garage, 63 Peppard Road, RG4 9RN. For more information, visit www.sonningcommon

Vauxhall Mokka X Design NAV 1.4i Turbo 140PS Start/Stop

4x4 model: five-door, six-speed manual, colour Amaretto

On the road price of test car: £19,940

Standard features include:

l Navi 900 IntelliLink satellite navigation system — smartphone projection

l Apple CarPlay

l Android Auto

l Seven-inch colour touchscreen

l AM/FM/digital radio

l Bluetooth audio streaming and mobile phone portal

l USB connection with iPod control

l Dual-zone electronic climate control

l Cruise control with speed limiter

l Multi-function trip computer

l Automatic lighting control

l Electrically foldable door mirrors

l Electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors

l Vauxhall OnStar, your personal on-board assistant

l Intelligent four-wheel drive


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