How would you like your Mokka?
Let's be honest, you don’t see too many Opel vehicles on the road, at least not as much as you used to with the older generations of Opel Corsa and Astra, which have had their time over the last two decades. With the brand now under the Stellantis group, we have hope that that's all about to change. In the short stint under Stellantis, the Opel has nearly re-introduced its entire range, from the Corsa to the people moving Zafira. The latest addition to the family is the Opel Mokka, which we happened to have recently driven.
Design & looks
As far as design goes, the Mokka is an interesting vehicle. In high-res press images, it looks youthful and outlandish, but there’s a reason for this. The Mokka’s design is inspired by a concept vehicle - the GTX Xperimental Concept Car. It borrows so much from the concept vehicle that they nearly look identical.
As a result, the Mokka wasn’t a vehicle I would have placed high on my “have to drive” list. Surprisingly, however, after witnessing it in its full metal form, its design isn’t as left field as one might have imagined. It is peculiar but in a good way. In a crossover-saturated world, being different isn’t such a bad thing. Speaking of which - the brand ensured that the Mokka stands out in a crowd, offering it in vibrant colours like the rich Mamba Green or Voltaic Blue. It is a polarising combination of design and bright colours and will either excite you or scare you off.
The last time I drove an Opel was a few years ago, the Astra hatch. It's a vehicle review I'm yet to forget, even though the model has been discontinued in SA. It was the Astra’s premium feel that left a lasting impression, specifically the way it drove and its features. Even though you'll no longer be able to get a new one, there are still some fine second-hand Opel Astra examples for sale online. Thankfully, the brand has maintained this standard to a certain extent in the Mokka. Straight off the bat, the range-topping Mokka GS Line (tested) is a well-specced vehicle. It has premium car features in a modest package. You’ll find heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and an electronic thumb-sized gear selector near the electronic handbrake. On the tech front, the Mokka GS Line has full-LED headlights with matrix technology. These are worth mentioning because their illumination range, especially on dark roads, resembles high-end vehicles. It becomes daylight. Also on offer is adaptive cruise control and a very active lane-keep assist.
Interior finishes on the panels are of a lesser standard than the technology in this car, with hard plastics being used over the more superior stuff. This is something you could live with considering everything else that you’re getting in the package. A sunroof would have been a great addition here because, without one, the black cabin feels noticeably dark.
The Mokka's drive isn’t as premium as the recently culled Astra but it does stand out for different reasons. It’s a great city car with sprightly and ready-to-go engine characteristics, which is surprising considering its 1.2-litre turbo powertrain. Like many of today’s small-capacity motors on offer, the Mokka’s 1.2 packs a solid punch on and off the highway. When piloting it in town, you’ll discover how effortless it is to drive when its engine performance (96 kW & 230 Nm) is paired with a light steering wheel.
How much is the Opel Mokka?
An uncomfortable truth is that cars have become expensive, and it will take a while to get used to. The Opel Mokka’s price tag had us scratching our heads before we realised that this is what things cost nowadays. With two Mokka variants on offer, it has a starting price of R489 900 for the Opel Mokka 1.2 Elegance. For R539 900 you'll get the GS Line with its premium car features. In all fairness, the Mokka is priced in line with its direct competitors, like the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona and VW T-Roc.
Words: Gugu Masuku