VAUXHALL is out to prove that electric cars do not have to be boring, utilitarian and underwhelming.
In fact, there's trouble brewing for rivals to the new ‘clean and green' Mokka SUV family car from Vauxhall.
Mokka-e gets the new look Vizor front end styling treatment which takes its name from the appearance of a Crusader's helmet and it certainly turns heads.
The latest Vauxhall Mokka-e is not a stand-alone model but one of the offerings in a compact SUV series which includes both cheaper petrol and diesel engines and indicates the future direction of its model series as it drives towards the pure electric future in the 2030s.
In the case of the Mokka-e all models feature a 50kWh lithium-ion battery and a 100kW (136ps) electric motor with 260Nm of torque as standard. The Mokka-e has a 11kW on-board charger and WLTP tests indicate a range of up to 201 miles per full charge.
Customers can choose between three driving modes, Normal, Eco and Sport to suit their requirements and energy consumption, which alter the throttle and steering response, but also adjusts the power and torque available.
Eco:Power and torque limited to 60kW and 180Nm - maximises vehicle range
Normal:Power and torque limited to 80kW and 220Nm - ideal for daily driving
Sport: Full power and torque (100kW and 260Nm) - maximises performance.
Supporting up to 100kW rapid DC charging, an 80per cent charge takes just 30 minutes in the all-new Mokka-e, with the lithium-ion battery guaranteed by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty alongside the usual mechanical guarantee.
Through a domestic 7kW Wallbox, a 0-100 per cent charge will take 7h 30 min, while a full charge through a 22kW public charger will take 5h 05min. An 80 per cent charge, using a 50kW rapid charger will take 45 minutes.
Through the MyVauxhall app, or via the centre console, drivers can also schedule delayed charging, taking advantage of lower electricity tariffs during off-peak hours.
The Mokka-e is well equipped with Bluetooth, DAB radio, hands free operation and SMS messaging as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, satellite navigation with live traffic updates is available and the acclaimed Vauxhall Connect has e-Call and b-Call emergency and breakdown systems.
These are in addition to a raft of driver aids and safety systems, including intelligent LED headlights, cruise control and speed sign recognition, drowsiness alert with lane departure warning. Upgrades include adaptive cruise control, wide-angle rear view camera, parking assistance and remote key and start.
The Mokka-e comes as SE Nav Premium, SRi Nav Premium and Elite Nav Premium.
The car carries a price premium over its closest petrol and diesel stablemates but you save on registration and fuel costs although there's dearer insurance.
The electric motor and driveline is elementary; just start, select mode and go, in near utter silence and with little hesitation and a lot of urge once the torque builds. It's quick to 60mph and has no trouble maintaining a good main road speed.
Motorways tend to rapidly drain the charged battery and the stated 201 miles range is likely to substantially diminish unless you can knock it back to about 50mph. I found going on main roads much better to conserve charge utilising regeneration and hill descent.
There was not a lot of sensitive feedback through the steering except when hitting a pothole or raised bump but the turning circle was good. The natural tendency seemed to be running wide on bends but there was little body roll and it all came back quickly if you eased off the pedal.
The brakes combined with the electrical retardation provided very sharp slowing ability with minimum pressure underfoot and the automatic hill-hold did a good job every time.
The Mokka-e had a generally smooth ride over most surfaces and the front seats were particularly comfortable with good adjustment range and support.
Access was very good to cabin and boot, the capacity was ideal for a family car, and it could be easily increased as the seats folded. Room was plentiful for a six-footer without impinging too much on those behind and it would take five. Oddments provision was also good infront or behind and there's plenty of power points to keep young minds active on a longer journey.
Another good feature in a family car is the visibility and there were few blindspots in the Mokka-e because of the sensors and camera, which provided a very good clear image and AI system to park it as if directly looking down. It just needed care pulling away from a kerb or into a line of traffic from a sliproad or junction.
Anyone experiencing an electric car for the first time always comments on how quiet it is. The Mokka-e produces the usual thrum from the motor when running and its note changes to a whirring as speed rises but it's never loud or annoying. Some road shocks can be felt and heard and the way the car shuts down over a period can produce unexpected clicks and knocks.