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By Ketan Patel


Vauxhall Mokka 2013 Review

The new Mokka SUV is set to make further waves with its bold, expressive design, advanced driving dynamics and technology in the growing compact SUV segment alongside rivals like Skoda Yeti, Nissan Juke and Qashqai.

Vauxhall Mokka 2013 is available with a choice of three efficient engines: The first five-speed manual transmission petrol unit comes with a 1.6-litre rated at 115 PS with torque of 155Nm at 4,000 rpm. The second six-speed manual transmission petrol unit is a 1.4-litre Turbo rated at 140 PS with torque of 200Nm (at between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm). The diesel engines comes with a 1.7CDTi (130PS) turbocharged unit with a maximum torque of 300Nm (at between 2,000 and 2,500 rpm).

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MARKET AND MODEL

  • Vauxhall’s product revolution continues with Mokka SUV
  • New model marks Vauxhall’s entrance into the growing compact SUV segment
  • Rivals include Skoda Yeti, Nissan Juke and Qashqai

The new Mokka SUV continues an unprecedented product revolution by Vauxhall and is set to make further waves with its bold, expressive design, advanced driving dynamics and technology.

Mokka adds a new sports utility vehicle (SUV) to the Vauxhall portfolio, and into the expanding compact SUV segment. Compact SUVs fall under 4.30 metres in length, distinguishing them from their larger counterparts. While many other segments are showing limited growth, the compact SUV market has grown by an impressive seven per cent (first half 2011 versus first half 2012). This rapidly growing segment, which includes the Skoda Yeti and the Nissans Juke and Qashqai, allows Vauxhall to break into brand new territory.

With a striking appearance, safe and spacious, the Vauxhall Mokka will appeal to a wide range of customers. Research has shown that the typical Mokka customer leads a very active lifestyle where leisure activities play a central role in his or her life. That is why the Mokka with its many optional extras, like the FlexFix bicycle carrier, is perfect for people who want to balance their busy daily lives with leisure activities.

Just over half of all Mokka customers are expected to opt for the front-wheel drive variant,  while the most popular engine will be the 1.7CDTi, accounting for 42 per cent of sales. The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and 1.6-litre will account for 20 per cent and 38 per cent of sales respectively.

“The Mokka takes its design cues from larger SUVs and integrates them into a compact, yet modern form,” said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “We are now growing a compelling and diverse range of products that appeal both to retail and fleet customers, and the Mokka will complement this perfectly.”

Potential customers are also predicted to be technology-savvy people who rate safety and comfort features high on their agenda. The Mokka provides many technologies that are unique in the segment such as optional ergonomic premium seats, several front camera system functions and Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL+).

The Vauxhall Mokka will attract customers who are new to the brand. Typically the majority of compact SUV customers (75 per cent) are private buyers, while the rest are likely to be fleet and business. There’s even a specific trim aimed at company car drivers, called Tech Line with prices starting from £15,995. Mokka Tech Line offers company car drivers exceptional levels of standard spec, combined with low P11D prices and attractive benefit-in-kind charges. Tech Line models can already be found in the Astra and Insignia model ranges.

Vauxhall is not new to the SUV market and has established a successful track record in this segment over the past two decades. In 1991, Vauxhall launched the all-wheel drive Frontera off-roader. British-built in Vauxhall’s Luton plant, it was the first European combined off-roader and SUV model. A year later, the Vauxhall Monterey followed which was a mid-size pure off-road vehicle. After a brief absence from the SUV market, Vauxhall returned in 2006 with the Antara. This crossover model was updated last year with a comprehensively refreshed appearance, powertrain line-up and ride and handling.

DESIGN

  • Muscular stance and elegant exterior
  • Cabin full of high quality details and finish
  • Rugged SUV character complemented by 18-inch alloy wheels as standard

Bold and robust, the Mokka’s solid, muscular exterior is complemented by design cues that are uniquely Vauxhall.

The front end features a pronounced front grille with a neatly tailored trademark chrome bar featuring the Vauxhall Griffin logo at its centre, framed by bi-xenon ‘eagle eye’ headlightsthat incorporate LED daytime running lights (standard on the SE).Protective cladding around the bumpers and wheel arches are set against Vauxhall’s signature “blade” light catcher on the body side, sweeping upwards to the rear. Upper trim levels feature chrome window inserts and door handles, adding a premium touch.

At the rear, the Mokka has a skid plate in a polished aluminum finish. The rear window is combined with a roof spoiler and distinctly shaped tail lights. Roof rack panels emphasise the almost coupé-like roofline of the Mokka. A unique-in-segment option is Vauxhall’s fully-integrated FlexFix bike carrier system, which can be stored in the rear bumper when not in use.

“The Mokka is very different to its competitors: it is small in size but big in attitude,” said Malcolm Ward, Lead Design Director Vauxhall/Opel. “We are proud that we managed to develop a car that is perfectly designed for the urban environment while retaining typical SUV traits.”

There is a broad offer of ten exterior paints including solid, brilliant, metallic and new three-coat premium colours. Solid colours include Royal Blue and there is the brilliant colour Summit White. The metallic colour range comprises Sovereign Silver, Carbon Flash, Borocay Blue, Velvet Red, Satin Steel Grey, Misty Lake and Deep Espresso Brown. Also available is a three-coat premium colour called Snowflake White.

Road clearance of 157mm makes driving the Mokka off road capable, with wide tracks of 1540mm reinforcing the SUV’s muscular stance. Unlike any other model in the compact SUV segment, robust 18-inch alloy wheels are available as standard on all upper trim levels (Exclusiv, Tech Line and SE). Optional 19-inch wheels will also be available soon.

Interior

Inside, the new Mokka again reflects Vauxhall’s sculptural design, with the signature wing-shaped instrument panel that wraps around the door inserts.

Splashes of chrome around the cabin centre are designed to give a premium feel. However, the Mokka is still practical and user friendly, with 19 storage spaces, including a cleverly concealed armrest in the rear bench that also contains a cup holder, and storage areas in front of and behind the gear leaver.

With up to 1,372 litre of loading space, the Mokka offers plenty of versatile features including a cleverly-designed parcel shelf which can be easily adjusted by hand and a rear bench that can be split and folded in a 60:40 ratio providing even more flexible loading and transportation. The Mokka is very much a driver’s car with excellent ergonomics and comfort, a high seating position gives a great all-round view out of the vehicle and two-tone coloured, leather-trimmed seats are standard on the SE.

The range-topping Mokka SE has embossed two-tone coloured leather stitching as standard throughout its cabin. The instrument panel and doors are covered in a striking Tungsten Brush (Jet Black seats) or Sephia Bronze film. Customers can also opt for brown Cocoa/Saddle Up leather seats.

In S, Exclusiv and Tech Line trims, there is high quality woven Jet Black cloth or Cocoa/Dark Adriatic seat fabrics (depending on trim), soft seat inserts, a liquid platinum instrument panel and door décor moldings and chrome door release handles.

CHASSIS AND ENGINES

  • Chassis sets new standards of comfort and agility in the compact SUV segment
  • Intelligent all-wheel drive system adapts automatically to road conditions
  • Electronic driving assistance systems increase safety and comfort
  • Two petrol engines and one diesel offer flexibility with low fuel consumption
  • Latest generation six-speed manual and automatic transmissions

The handling of the all-new Vauxhall Mokka is involving and agile with a comfortable supple ride thanks to an intelligent chassis system with either front-wheel drive or adaptive AWD technology. The Mokka is available with a combination of fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions.

Chassis

Gerry Baker, Vauxhall’s manager of vehicle dynamics based at Millbrook, was involved with Mokka chassis development from an early stage. “Early prototype cars were tested in the UK during 2011, to establish if bespoke damper settings were required for cars sold in Britain,” said Gerry. “However, there was so little difference between the final UK and European settings that we opted for a common set-up for all cars. The same strategy was applied after steering tests in the UK, too. Finally, a large part of the Mokka’s durability testing has been carried out at Millbrook.”

To ensure maximum ride comfort and handling performance, Vauxhall engineers further developed, tried and tested MacPerson struts on the front axle.

Side load springs were added to compensate for lateral forces. Dual path strut mounts, strong stabilisers and double bonded handling bushings were also applied to improve handing and performance on the road as well as noise and vibration reduction. Damper and spring rates were sharpened in line with the characteristics of the Mokka chassis. 18-inch alloy wheels complete with 215/55 R 18 tyres are standard on the Exclusiv, Tech Line and SE trim levels.

On the rear suspension, Vauxhall’s engineering team included a U-section tubular shaped torsion beam ahead of the wheels. This compound crank axle is developed with two different designs to fit the AWD and front-wheel drive variants. This allows drivers to experience best possible handling and body control for every powertrain. The dampers which are fixed behind the rear wheels ensure a good damper rate as well as an efficient damping performance. This ultimately means better handling and even more precise steering, giving the driver the best possible driving characteristics and control over the vehicle.  Mini-block spring coils for the AWD variant ensure that the dampers can rebound even when fully loaded. In all the powertrain variants the Mokka can tow a payload of up to 1,200kg.

AWD System

The AWD system of the Mokka is efficient, intelligent and affordable for a broad segment of customers. The main components of the AWD system are the front axle differential, the drive shaft, the 4x4 rear axle drive and the control module as well as the electro-magnetic multi-plate clutch. Sensors constantly supply the control modules with data such as the yaw rate, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering angle, wheel speed, accelerator pedal position and engine revs and torque. Under normal conditions, when the road surface is dry, the front wheels drive the vehicle forwards, keeping fuel consumption low. Depending on the road conditions, the range varies from 100 per cent front-wheel drive to a maximum distribution of torque of 50 per cent on the front and rear axle when, for example, there is surface water or snow on the road.When traction requires it, the electronic torque transfer device (TTD) automatically and seamlessly sends torque to the rear wheels.

The AWD system further sharpens the Mokka’s already agile handling characteristics.  This is especially noticeable when the car has to negotiate corners at higher speeds or accelerate. It is activated automatically within a fraction of a second as soon as there is wheel slip due to a lack of traction. The AWD system with all its components weighs just 65kg, keeping the Mokka both efficient and eco-friendly.

Safety Technology

Ventilated brake discs measuring 300mm at the front and 268mm at the rear ensure high heat resistance and there is high brake performance in any situation. This was tried and tested under extreme conditions on the northern loop of the Nürburgring race track, in the Alps and on conventional roads. The brake discs are further supported by anti-lock braking (ABS) complete with cornering brake control and brake assist system as well as Electronic Brake force Distribution. The Electronic Stability Program (ESP®Plus) that is standard in the Mokka includes traction control and additionally Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC). The latter ensures that speed is maintained when descending demanding hills with low friction, gravel or other difficult surfaces. It allows the driver to choose a suitable vehicle speed range from 3mph to 12mph.

The Hill Start Assist allows the car to take off and park more easily on a hill without the vehicle rolling backwards. To get the most out of the vehicle chassis, Vauxhall’s engineers opted for state-of-the art Electric Power Steering (EPS) which is standard across the range. The EPS system features a precise wear adjustment system that has been optimised to fit the steering gear and reduces friction. The Mokka EPS system provides more speed sensitive steering assist with great responsiveness and at the same time offers lower fuel consumption than a hydraulic system. The steering column can be adjusted in its height and length so the driver can find his or her ideal seating position.

Engines

Mokka is available with a choice of three efficient engines. All manual transmissions are equipped with start/stop. Two petrol engines are available including a 1.6-litre (115PS) naturally aspirated engine with a five-speed manual transmission achieving 43.5mpg and combined CO2 emissions of 153 g/km. Torque is 155Nm at 4,000 rpm.

The second petrol unit is a 1.4-litre Turbo (140PS) that achieves 44.1mpg and combined CO2 of 149 g/km. AWD is standard and there is 200Nm of torque (at between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm). This engine has an alloy cylinder head and maintenance-free valve operation and is offered with a six-speed manual transmission. Later, it will be available with a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual six-speed 4x4 turbocharged Mokka reaches a top speed of 118mph and does 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds.

The turbocharged four-cylinder has an electronic engine control unit for even more precise combustion control as well as friction optimised components. Dual overhead camshafts with variable valve timing drive the four valves per cylinder. A variable-flow oil pump supplies the engine with the necessary lubrication. Saving even more fuel is the electronically controlled thermostat that ensures the best possible thermal engine management. When operating at full capacity it cools the engine, while during partial load operation it maintains a constant temperature.

Customers who prefer diesel engines can order the Mokka with a 1.7CDTi (130PS) turbocharged unit with a maximum torque of 300Nm (at between 2,000 and 2,500 rpm). This engine is available with a six-speed manual ‘box with either front-wheel drive or AWD, or as a six-speed automatic with front-wheel drive. As a front-wheel drive with a manual gearbox the diesel unit achieves 62.8mpg and 120g/km CO2 emissions, making it one of the most fuel-efficient models in its segment. The performance figures speak for themselves: with a six-speed manual gear box and front-wheel drive the Mokka achieves a top speed of 116mph and does 60mph 10.5 seconds.

The 1.7CDTI engine has innovative “Clean Tech” technology with pressure sensors integrated in to the cylinders, ensuring best possible combustion control. The end result: a significant reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust particles plus maximum fuel efficiency. A third generation common rail system operates with injection pressures of up to 1,600 bar. Electro-magnetic injectors ensure very precise combustion control.

Vauxhall’s New Generation Engines

Mokka uses a second generation six-speed automatic transmission centred on increased efficiency (fuel consumption is down six per cent compared with its predecessor), a reduction of shift times and noise and vibration reduction. Thanks to a small torque converter, Vauxhall’s engineers were able to reduce inertia.  Optimised bearings, joint rings and friction elements also ensure a higher degree of effectiveness. A further key feature is the coil spring inside the torque converter. The spring rate was halved which improved the damping of vibrations.

Gear changes are possible on the six-speed automatic thanks to the ActiveSelect function, activiated by the touch of a button on the gear stick. The adaptive electronic transmission control comprises a range of intelligent functions: the automatic idling helps to save fuel. This function maintains the oil pressure at an optimum level during the first forward drive clutch movement. This is made possible by sensors and regulating devices that are variable depending on the engine speed and other data. Lower loads for the axle shafts and engine supports help to reduce the noise level. The hill program varies the electronic gear shifting parameters depending on the gradient of ascent or descent.

The latest generation of Vauxhall transmissions enables even more precise and smoother gear shifting. Vauxhall’s engineers have shortened shift paths whilst at the same time reducing shift forces. To achieve this, the six-speed manual transmission was comprehensively reworked with new gearwheels and modified components including the input shaft and shift fork which ensures a smooth operation during cold and hot conditions.  Friction forces on the gear leaver were also reduced. A red arrow also flashes in the instrument display which helps with driving at low rpms, saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions.

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