I recently researched the potential death of the grille, given its growing redundancy in an EV-driven world. I felt sad because, let’s face it, who doesn’t suffer from pareidolia? Otherwise known as the human instinct to perceive a face in inanimate objects, millions spent on development can easily be blown by an unfortunate fizzog. Remember Morgan’s cross-eyed Aero 8, or the Fiat Multipla’s murderous beady eyes? On sale now, BMW’s latest X5 sports angry nostrils like a brace of bin lids.
But Vauxhall has pulled off a blinder. Charged with the role of debuting the across-brand “vizor” styling, the Mokka risks weirdness by going grille-free. It’s chic and sleek, and a little stormtrooper, but just this side of Star Wars before spinning off into the Millennium Falconry of Toyota’s latest C-HR.
As the coffee-bean name might suggest, the Mokka ticks the cute box. Which is perhaps why I get so many, at this early stage of cohabitation, asking me what it’s like. My schoolboy error is to commence a seminar on the pros and cons of electric vehicle motoring, before I realise they’re not asking that: they just want to know what it’s like to drive, how it works for a family, if it’s good value. And there lies the problem: we can be so immersed in the blinding epiphany of post-petrol motoring, that we forget about real-life details.
So here’s my early take on Mokka-e motoring, much facilitated by the fact that now those electrical wizards at Pod Point have kitted me out with a nifty 7kWh home charger, I am no longer a no-range headless chicken.
Maybe the best approach is to list some journeys. This month, I’ve spent a long day on a solo trip into the nether regions of Surrey, where, exploring little lanes, the new model’s tiny increment of width – 10mm against the original Mokka – does make me feel at times a little chunky. But all the camera angles and bleepers are great for in-hedge navigation. Our Mokka-e’s low-slung centre of gravity appears to make for a car, once you’ve calibrated to it, that’s happy to lunge into a corner; it’s weighty and does understeer when pushed, but predictably so.
At our local recycling centre, I arrived with far, far more domestic detritus than I thought possible. The rear seats don’t fold totally flat, but that’s mitigated by reasonable roof space and a load floor that swallows well, even if it’s lower than the tailgate. We’ve done family trips, too, four-up. The ride’s less forgiving in the rear, but elbow space is good. Were my children 18, I reckon they’d be complaining about legroom, though I’d point out the advantages of living on a bus route.
Kit-wise, the audio system is impressive, albeit obsessed with FM when a decent DAB signal’s available. The air con’s great, though given its energy consumption, I strive for a windows-first policy. And the navigation system, complete with the nerd-tastic data on height above sea level, is up there with the best.
Like that teenager in the back, I’m out of space. Ultimate recommendation? It’s not the cute face; I’d buy one for its electro-glide zoom. Show it an open road, set the power to Sport mode, sit back, grip and grin.
Date arrived 4th August 2021
Range 201 miles