The Mokka name isn’t new in the world of Opel; it's actually been around for roughly three years. With the impressive surge in sales and interest happening in the SUV market around the world, and more specifically in South Africa, the timing was right for a local introduction. Of course, this is an all-new Mokka and it’s here to take on the sub-compact SUV market, it’s the third of the ‘new Germans’ launched in SA by the brand in just three months, following the ADAM and the new Corsa. The buzz-phrase being used during these launches is ‘game changer’ and after seeing the Mokka in the metal and being given a chance to drive it, I have to agree.
The East London launch saw us taking the new Mokka along some great driving roads through to the old German settlement for lunch and a presentation. The weather didn’t play along, it was overcast and damp and the temperatures were lower than in Jo’burg – in other words a brilliant change from Jo’burg’s killer heat. The only thing that was really hampered was the view of the amazing countryside though. The Opel Mokka, while obviously not a sports-orientated car, quite liked the twisty bits and the small capacity turbo motor had no problem with the hills, well that’s what it felt like from the passenger seat. Being able to spend time in the passenger seat let me check out all the goodies and gadgets. We were in the Cosmo model so it had the optional IntelliLink infotainment system fitted. It easily connected to a Samsung Galaxy via Bluetooth and streamed music perfectly with Gracenote music management and identification technology keeping things easy to use. The system is headed up with a 7-inch button-operated colour interface that also controls the phone, gallery, settings and apps. The system has a cool function to read out your SMS messages so that you can keep your eyes on the road. The only downside to this is that your passengers will be able to hear what’s said too. This could cause some problems depending on who’s in your car. Also, it’s a great way to let everyone in your car know what your bank balance is when FNB decides to send you updates, but you can cancel the read out if you have your wits about you.
It was my turn behind the wheel after lunch. An awesome lunch. A lunch with cinnamon pumpkin fritters… Before heading out Team Opel gave us the low down on the Opel Mokka and it’s impact in the overseas market as well as how they want it to infiltrate the local market. We were shown some interesting stats by the GMSA guys on the buying and selling trends around the world; the SUV market is the place to be while the previously popular MPV market has plummeted. The Opel Mokka looks to have cemented itself as a firm favourite in the segment with European orders surpassing the 24 000 mark. “As a compact luxury SUV the Opel Mokka straddles the popular and growing SUV B and C segments of the market in South Africa. With this vehicle we are bringing German engineering, state-of-the-art technology and safety features from larger and more expensive SUVs into a market space dominated by emerging products. Our trio of new Germans – the ADAM, Corsa and Mokka – have democratised luxury technology and life-saving safety features by making them accessible to consumers in the A, B and C segments of our market at reasonable prices.” comments Christopher Cradock, Opel Brand Manager at GMSA in the press release.
With the all-new Opel Mokka looking as good as it does, it certainly helps GMSA’s plans for South Africa. The bold design is an attention grabber, evident on the test drive. At one robot I spotted a Metro cop having a good ogle at the car. Well I’m hoping it was the car, it could also have been because of the dodgy-looking, camera-wielding tattooed guy in the passenger seat. The front view is pretty aggressive thanks to the grille design and the tough-looking lower valance. This, together with the short overhangs, gives an impression that the SUV is capable of tackling sand roads and other routes someone with an active lifestyle may venture onto. The term ‘ruggedness’ was mentioned and is an apt description that’s enhanced with extras that stand out like the roof rails and also the way different elements have been given different colours to the body paint. Overall, the Opel Mokka is an impressive looking car. The range of available colours is well-suited to the intended target market, but after a closer look at the car, I think it’s not only going to appeal to those with active lifestyles but also the soccer mom crowd, which is a large chunk of the buying public. The high seating position as well as the excellent safety features instils confidence to safely cart the family around and the amount of space and versatility the Opel Mokka offers is an added bonus, not to mention all the cool new technology featured.
The interior is brilliant, there’s a definite step up in quality for the brand, typically German awesomeness abounds – it’s been solidly put together. In the Cosmo model, the heated leather seats are just brilliant, my co-pilot Chad mentioned he’d love to find a set to fit to his daily driver and I fully agree. The brushed ally-look on the trim looks great too and helps give that feeling of quality. I also liked the multi-function leather steering wheel, especially the fact that it’s heated. Things needed that aren’t controlled from the steering wheel are all in easy reach from the driver’s position so there’s not really a need to take your eyes off the road for any reason, putting safety first. On that note the Opel Mokka features a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating thanks to the fully comprehensive Opel SAFETEC system that “integrates and synchronises all aspects of active and passive safety for maximum security in any situation. Every Opel vehicle begins with a rigid safety frame, to which energy-absorbent bumper systems with crash boxes front and rear, progressively deformable structures and high-tensile steel side protection bars, are added. The design and structure of these elements also means that the new Opel Mokka meets all pedestrian safety standards.”
All Opel Mokka models also feature the latest-generation, almost undetectable ESPPlus that helps correct oversteer or understeer with greater efficiency and sensitivity than the previous systems. Then there’s the usual array of abbreviations like HSA, ABS, EBD, BAS, HBA and other features like cruise control, disc brakes all round, a tyre pressure monitor, remote central locking and an alarm and immobiliser. There are airbags all over too, six in total, in all the usual places they need to be. The Cosmo model I was passenger in also had a rear-view camera with a very wide 130-degree view; it even includes the top of the rear bumper in the shot so that you can park more precisely. For the environmentally conscious the Opel Mokka also has a feature called ecoFLEX Drive Assist (manual versions only). This will tell the driver the what the optimal points are in the rev range to change gears and can also tell you which systems in the car are using the most energy in conjunction with a fuel economy meter. “Linked to an economy index – with a 50 km history graph – and the start/stop system fitted to manual models, Mokka ensures the driver is always informed as to how fuel can be saved.”
After lunch it was my turn behind wheel to get us to our accommodation at Morgan Bay, but this time we were in an automatic Cosmo. Trim levels were all the same, so all that was really different was that the job of driving the car was just made that much easier. The Opel Mokka features an all-new Hydra-Matic (I dare you to try say that without stretching it out like John Travolta in Greased Lightning – hyyyyyyydra-matic…) six-speed automatic transmission. Its new size and placement fits in with the crumple zones, another feature responsible for the great safety offered by the Mokka. It’s an intelligent gearbox; it has the ability to adapt to your specific driving style as well as the road conditions to ensure the best drive possible in all scenarios. Tap shifting is possible too, sequential style, which will give those drivers who like to be more involved in the process a feeling of doing more. It feels like race mode, which is cool no matter what car you’re in. The only thing that bugged me in the Auto version was the brakes; they’re progressive to a point and then all of a sudden they bite a little harder. Maybe coming from my 12-year-old daily driver I wasn’t used to it, but in the manual version I drove the following day I didn’t feel the same last little bite, it was progressive all the way.
The Opel Mokka range all gets Opel’s small capacity, turbocharged ECOTEC engine that, for the size, makes a very impressive 103kW and 200Nm. This gets 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 power and torque mean the Opel Mokka can tow with ease, but as with all cars, you need to make sure you stay within the recommended weight tolerances. Opel claim the manual Mokka Enjoy will average just 6 litres per 100km while the auto only sips slightly more at 6.6 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. For the Mokka Cosmo manual, they give it thirst of 6.3 litres per 100km and for the auto that goes up slightly to 7.0 litres per 100km – all on the combined cycle.
As you would have guess by now, the Opel Mokka range is made up of two models, the Enjoy and the Cosmo, each with a manual and auto option. In the Enjoy, standard features include start/stop technology, ecoFLEX Drive Assist system (manual only), front & rear fog lights, a tyre pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, cruise control, speed-sensitive power steering, multi-function steering wheel, a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, aux and USB input, a driver’s armrest, electronic climate control, a trip computer, a solar-absorbing windscreen, colour-coded door handles, electric and heated side mirrors, power windows with one-touch up and down all-round, a folding key, 17-inch alloy wheels with a full-size steel spare and LINE DRIVE black cloth upholstery – the IntelliLink is the only option available. In the Cosmo, over and above all the cool bits found in the Enjoy, you’ll find extras like rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlights with Active High Beam Assist, front and rear parking sensors, electric folding mirrors, a sunglasses holder, a reverse camera, heated front seats, interior ambient lighting, rear privacy glass, 18-inch alloys, JASMIN leather upholstery, a heated, leather-bound steering wheel, specialised ergonomic front seats, a rear arm rest and a 230V power socket – the IntelliLink is a standard feature here. There’s a choice of ten colours for the four-model range, including some funky ones like Blaze Red, Orange Rock, Boracay Blue and Deep Espresso Brown. I really liked the silver one, but if I had a choice of my own, Blaze Red takes the cake.
Our beachfront accommodation was at the Morgan Bay Hotel, a sweet place that I could easily spend a week or four at. After getting the rooms sorted we all had a bit of a chill session (this is code for consuming alcohol) before dinner at The Deck. I had to be one of the odd ones out who opted for a chicken dish instead of the seafood, but chicken is a vegetable and my mom always told me to eat more veggies. Also, fish poo in the sea and shellfish will kill me. So just no. We had a couple of surprises in store for us during the evening; guest speaker Gillian Vernon gave an interesting talk on the shipwrecks and shipwreck survivors in the Morgan Bay area and the rest of the Wild Coast, which made sense seeing as she’s an expert on the subject and the author of the book ‘Even the cows were amazed’ which covers the subject from 1552-1782. I hated history in school but now I find it fascinating, so I quite enjoyed the talk.
A little later it was time to properly relax (this is code for consuming even more alcohol) with well-known SAMA-winning singer Wendy Oldfield preforming for us. It was a cool end to a cool launch for a cool car. GMSA have scored a hat trick with the Opel Mokka following hot on the heels of the ADAM and Corsa, all of them definite game changers set to shake up the local market. If the Mokka and Corsa can follow the initial sales of the ADAM, I smell some definite 2015 COTY contenders.
A big thanks goes to Lunga Ntsendwana and the rest of GMSA for the having me at the launch. Much appreciated!
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
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