You’ve seen mention of Opel’s new Mokka on my site before thanks to the awesome couple of days spent with the GM team in East London during the media launch of the model about a month back. I spent a good few kilometres behind the wheel of both versions, manual and auto, and was very impressed with everything. This time round I spent a week navigating the Jo’burg’s rat race with a top-of-the-line Opel Mokka Cosmo. How did it fare? Well, let me tell you…
Pretty damn good. Like the Opel Adam I had the other day, the Mokka is completely new to local roads and as such, got a fair bit of attention. The car is a classed as a sub-compact SUV, which means it’s not huge, but it’s not a small car either. Research shows that the MPV market that was so popular a few years back is dwindling and the buying public wants something with more capabilities that better reflects their lifestyle and caters to their needs – a-la the sub-compact SUV.
The Deep Espresso Brown Mokka Comso I had probably attracts more attention than the other colours in the range too. When clean and dry, the car still looks wet, it has a depth to it that you’d usually find on a custom hotrod or muscle car; it’s one of the coolest colours of 2015. Brown seems to be the new black and so far the Opel Mokka’s paintwork is my favourite. At the launch I liked the Blaze Red more than the others, but yeah, I’ve changed my mind. Slow drives through parking lots had a few people stop and stare at the car. One guy asked what it was and after I told him it was an Opel Mokka, his reply was: “But Opel don’t make big cars like this.” Yeah buddy, you’re right, this is a one-off model I put together with spare parts in my back yard…
The launch was at sea level and the turbocharged 1.4 ECOTEC performed great but I was keen to see how it did up at the Reef. Normally aspirated cars lose loads of power and become asthmatic up here, but having some force-fed induction is like having a permanent inhaler strapped to the intake. While there is still some power loss on a turbocharged car, I didn’t feel it. Even in the sizeable body of the B-segment SUV, the Opel Mokka Cosmo was pretty nippy. I know of at least one youngster who was showing off with his mate in his black ST150 who will be thinking twice before trying to beat a Mokka to a merging single lane from a standstill robot. I laughed and laughed and laughed…
The Opel Mokka’s ECOTEC setup makes an impressive 103kW with 200Nm of torque. As said in the launch article, it can get the mid-sized SUV to the 100km/h mark in 9.8-seconds (10.7 for the auto) and gives it a healthy top speed of 196km/h (191 in the auto). The fuel economy claims say the manual Opel Mokka will average 6.3 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. It was higher for me at 7.8 litres, but that’s still good considering the roads and traffic I was in. Also, embarrassing the ST150 didn’t help matters. Coupled to this motor is a 6-speed gearbox that I quite liked; it’s been used before in other Opel models and it does a good job – the ratios work well with the motor to get the SUV around town with ease. The car tips the scales at just over 1300kg, but I was sure the licence disc said 1600 or so, either way, the car is pretty nimble for an SUV. It’s easy to forget that you’re in a mid-sized SUV and not a quick little hatchback.
The driver’s seat is a nice place to be. The build quality and trim levels in the Mokka Cosmo are brilliant, as said with the Adam; the manufacturer has certainly stepped up its game. I’m expecting to be saying the same thing about the third of the New Germans, the Corsa, when I get behind the wheel of one. The leather multi-function steering wheel is nice and chunky and being heated too is an added bonus. Just about everything can be controlled from here and the things that can’t be are within easy reach. As mentioned before, the seats are brilliant, for an SUV they have a rather sporty flavour to them and with my short legs, the adjustments get me into a comfy position that I’d be happy with on a Jo’burg to Durban stretch. The Cosmo model I drove had the IntelliLink infotainment system that I connected to my Samsung Galaxy in a matter of minutes, actually quicker. The Bluetooth connection let me stream my music through the Gracenote music management application when I wasn’t listening to the radio. Besides that function, the system does a bunch of cool things that like reading your SMS messages to you so you can keep your eyes on the road.
The car has all the bells and whistles, every motoring-related abbreviation you can think of. Out of them all I quite liked the reverse camera that shows your path on the 7-inch colour screen. Adjustments on the steering show up on the screen with lines to show your projected path. Also, the camera has a wide 130-degree view that even shows the top of the bumper on the screen so you can see exactly when you need to stop before touching an object. There's cool little details too, liked the bezels surrounding the speed and the tacho with the speed and rev increments on them. It's not a selling point but just a detail that I found myself checking out at every robot. Another feature the Opel Mokka Comso has is that start / stop technology to help save the trees. It's not a bad system at all, but for me it's intrusive, it impedes on my driving pleasure so my first port of call whenever I was about to drive was to disable the system with the button on the dash below all the climate control goodies. It probably doesn't bug many drivers out there
As with many new cars, the Opel Mokka Cosmo has a digital tyre pressure monitor. It’s a screen that I never normally check out but on one of my highway drives I managed to pick up not one, but two self-tapping screws in the front left tyre. Obviously I didn’t know this at the time, but after parking at home overnight and wanting to take the Mokka out again the next morning I was greeted with a warning on the digital display telling me to check the pressure in the front left wheel. While these kinds of monitors are often taken for granted, I was saved from taking a trip on the highway and risking a possible blowout.
This also led to me fitting the spare wheel to the car, which in turn was followed by a fit of laughter. The Opel Mokka Cosmo comes with 18-inch wheels, and the Opel Mokka Enjoy has 17-inch wheels and the press release about the car says the latter has a full-size steel spare wheel, but doesn’t mention what the Cosmo has. I’m hoping it was just because it was a press car but ‘my’ Mokka had a 15-inch spare wheel that left the nose rather uneven. I only used it for around 5km while I took the Mokka up to my local TWT to get the tyre fixed. I’m not a fan of plugged tyres but the plugged tyre versus the teeny spare was a no-brainer. If I had to drive further on the small wheel I’m pretty sure the power steering would have died because on that 5km journey the steering was doing it’s best to pull the car straight.
The Mokka is the first SUV made by Opel to be brought to SA and if the way it’s been received in Europe is any indication, it’s set to upset the segment here. It’s a great car all round with some fresh styling. To be fair, I haven’t driven the cars that are billed as it’s segment competitors but on paper, Rand for Rand and feature for feature, the Mokka wins the fight. Expect to see lots of these on the roads soon at the hands of those extreme lifestyle junkies who need a spacious, tech-filled car with a decent ride height to get them to cycle races and near to the launch point for some white river rafting water – not to mention the legions of soccer moms who want a safe but funky taxi to cart the wee ones around in and do the daily errand runs.
There’s more of the Opel Mokka's technical details mentioned in the launch article I wrote, check it out here.
Warranty and pricing
Retail price incl. VAT
Mokka Enjoy 1.4T 6MT - R288 500
Mokka Enjoy 1.4T 6AT - R298 500
Mokka Cosmo 1.4T 6MT - R325 500 • Test Car *
Mokka Cosmo 1.4T 6AT - R335 500
All new Opel Mokka derivatives are backed by Opel’s comprehensive 5-year/ 120 000km warranty and come with a 5-year/ 90 000km service plan linked to service intervals of 15 000km.
For more info, head on over to www.gmsa.com or www.facebook.com/opelsa