No wonder Vauxhall is in trouble if the Mokka X is anything to go by

No wonder Vauxhall is in trouble if the Mokka X is anything to go by
No wonder Vauxhall is in trouble if the Mokka X is anything to go by

The friendly, efficient chap who came to collect the Mokka X was speaking in hushed tones this week. It had just been confirmed PSA Peugeot Citroen had acquired GM’s European arm, which includes Vauxhall, in a deal worth £1.9bn. The French firm has reportedly promised to protect thousands of jobs in Luton and Ellesmere Port until 2021, but he looked worried.

Vauxhall Mokka X

Price: £24,415

Engine capacity: 1.6-litre diesel

Power output (PS @ RPM): 136 @ 3,500

Top speed (MPH): 118

Fuel economy (MPG): 65.7

C02 emissions (g/km): 114

And then the poor man faced the drive back to the depot in one of the worst cars I’ve driven in years. It feels cruel to be kicking Vauxhall when it’s down, but the Mokka X really is a dreary crossover.

The Mokka’s interior

It looks like something produced by committee because Vauxhall has twigged other carmakers are making crossovers. The interior plastics are hard, the seats uncomfortable, the boot small and the carpets feel cheap. The Mokka – the model the Mokka X replaces – sold reasonably well. I have no idea why.

To be fair to the Mokka X, the ride is fine and the base-level model is fairly affordable, but add options and the price starts soaring upwards. It does come with Vauxhall’s One Star, which among other things offers 4G coverage for up to seven devices on the go.

It’s a sign of things to come as cars become more connected, but it’s not enough to save the Mokka X.

Emissions and engine size

My test model at least, came with an incredibly frugal 1.6-litre diesel engine, which was consistently good for 60 miles to the gallon. This should be the car’s salvation, but a day after Vauxhall’s sale was confirmed, yet another report was released showing that small diesels emit as much nitrogen dioxide as fully loaded lorries. In all fairness, this apparent weakness of the latest Euro 6 standard diesel engine is an issue for the entire industry.

Emissions challenges, branding failures and cheap plastic aside, the real problem for Vauxhall is that I can’t remember the last time I drove a truly innovative or impressive car from the brand. And with cars like the Mokka X, it’s not hard to see why GM’s European arm hasn’t made a profit since 1999. For the sake of Vauxhall’s workers I hope that changes, but I won’t hold my breath.

Living with the BMW M135i

How will a used rear-wheel hot hatch measure up?The plan was to take a used hot hatch and see what we could do with it. Could we improve a

Review: Mercedes E220d Cabriolet

New E-Class range is completed by the Cabriolet – does it work best as a 2.0-litre diesel?The fourth and final piece in the new E-Class

Review: SsangYong Turismo

A great deal of space for not a great deal of money. Is that a good deal?In our vehicles, particularly if we’re thinking of family transport,

Living with: Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio

Can Alfa Romeo really make a BMW M3-beater?There’s nothing like living with a car to find out what it’s really like. The road testers