Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

What are your key considerations when choosing a new car – practicality, running costs, connectivity or safety?

The reality is that looks tend to trump all of the above, which is why kerb appeal is so crucial.

Now, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’d argue that the all-new Mokka is the coolest looking Vauxhall ever.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Putting aside the argument that Vauxhall’s DNA isn’t what is, because it’s now owned by the giant Stellantis group which was formed from the merger of France’s Groupe PSA (Peugeot, Citroen) and FCA (Fiat, Jeep etc), the Mokka urban crossover is a stand-out vehicle.

Battling it out against the likes of the big-selling Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, the good news for the Mokka is that it has an ace up its sleeve – it’s available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, plus a 100% electric variant.

Our focus is on the latter – the Vauxhall Mokka-e – which is competitively priced from £30,540 (after the £2,500 PiCG, or plug-in car grant) and boasts a decent 201-mile electric range.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Sharing the same underpinnings as the Citroen e-C4, Peugeot e-2008 and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense (which is no bad thing), it looks like no other car on the road.

In a nutshell, the second-generation Mokka is radical compared to its dumpy predecessor. Slightly shorter, it has smaller front and rear overhangs and a more athletic stance.

It also features the bold new brand ‘face’ of Vauxhall (known as Vizor) which “organically integrates the grille, headlights and badge into one dramatic sweeping module”.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Call me old fashioned, but being able to view that long, horizontal bonnet with the strong centre crease as you drive along is such a unique pleasure these days.

Inside, the cockpit is futuristic and minimalist. Dominated by a large central infotainment screen (7″ or 10″) and digital driver’s display (10″ or 12″), there’s a real step-up in build quality throughout the cabin.

The pure electric Mokka-e has a 50kWh battery and a 134bhp electric motor that powers the front wheels and delivers 260Nm of instant torque.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

It can be charged overnight if you have a home wallbox, while 80% of charge can be reached in as little as 30 minutes using a rapid 100kW public chargepoint. A more common 50kW fast charger will deliver around 100 miles in less than half an hour.

In real-world terms, we reckon the battery range is closer to 175 miles in everyday driving, while Vauxhall calculates the Mokka-e’s running costs are from 3p a mile.

The cabin is comfortable with plenty of space up front, even offering a lower, sporty driving position if you prefer. It’s a little tighter in the back for adults, while the boot has a useful 310-litre luggage capacity, expanding to 1,060 litres with the rear seats folded.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review
Vauxhall Mokka-e review

The Mokka-e is simple to drive and silent (none of the faint whine or audio enhancement you get with many EVs), and while it’s swift, it’s not stupidly fast. For the record, it can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 8.5 seconds.

If you want a bit of fun, then switch the drive mode from Normal or Eco to Sport, but apart from the odd blast, you’re more likely to want to squeeze out as many miles as possible.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

The benefit of a smaller battery pack is that it’s easier to see instant results from regenerative braking (which returns most of the energy from braking and coasting back into the battery while you’re driving) and the Mokka-e’s system is particularly satisfying.

With light steering and good visibility, it’s a doddle to drive and surprisingly nimble. However, because it’s more comfort than performance focused, it loses its composure when pushed on more challenging roads.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Broadly speaking, electric vehicles’ brakes tend to be disappointing and the Mokka-e is par for the course. Our test car’s system didn’t seem to be terribly progressive, but did the job.

Ultimately, even if the Mokka-e looks sportier than it actually is, it’s still a refreshing sight on our roads – especially in Mamba Green. Rivals include the MINI Electric, Honda e, Fiat 500 and Mazda MX-30.

Verdict: The Vauxhall Mokka-e is a funky, all-electric urban crossover that dares to be different. Affordable, well-equipped, safe and fun to drive, it has a unique charm.

Vauxhall

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E is a big deal for Ford.

The Blue Oval may be late to the EV party, but this SUV is worth the wait with its combination of style, performance, driver engagement and practicality.

Starting at £41,330 and rising to £67,225, the Mach-E is available with rear or all-wheel drive, and with two different battery sizes delivering a range of up to 379 miles.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

And while its “pony” badging and sculpted design are a nod to Ford’s iconic Mustang car, the similarity ends there because this EV muscle car is smooth, silent and emits zero emissions.

Your choice of Mach-E will depend on your priorities. The Extended Range with rear-wheel drive has the longest range (379 miles), while the quickest is the GT version (0-62mph in 3.7 seconds).

I tested the Mach-E AWD Extended Range (arguably the best all-rounder in the line-up), which competes with everything from the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq to the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Powered by a large 88kWh battery pack and a pair of electric motors (one on each axle), it delivers 346bhp and 580Nm, allowing an impressive 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds.

Range on this model is officially up to 355 miles, but in everyday driving, 300 is achievable, while a typical charge of 10-80% can be reached in as little as 45 minutes via a rapid 150kW DC charger.

To look at it another way, it’s possible to add 73 miles in 10 minutes, though many owners will simply plug in from home and charge overnight.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

I found the mileage covered matched the indicated range well in everyday motoring, though clearly the miles remaining will take a hit during winter and if you take full advantage of the performance available.

Naturally, the Mach-E’s acceleration is instant and rapid, and not quite as unnecessarily gut-wrenching as some electric rivals.

You can choose from three drive modes: Active, Whisper, and Untamed. Active is your default setting, Whisper is “the most relaxing way to enjoy Mustang Mach-E” and Untamed unleashes the car, sharpening the steering, enhancing the throttle response and boosting the fake interior engine noise.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Despite its two-tonne weight, the Mach-E feels surprisingly agile on more challenging roads, delivering a degree of driver engagement often missing in the EV sector.

Body control is impressive, thanks to the relatively firm suspension set-up, meaning it will stay flat in faster corners. Traction is superb, as is the grip, while the steering is swift, just as you’d expect from any Fast Ford.

Meanwhile, the brakes are strong and more progressive than some – a weak point in many EVs.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

However, technology hasn’t been allowed to completely sanitise the driving experience, because even in all-wheel drive form, it’s possible to get the rear to step out.

Whether you agree with Ford’s decision to market this SUV as a Mustang or not, there’s no denying that the muscular styling is distinctive and there are enough design cues to legitimise the comparison with the automotive icon.

Signature elements include the long, powerful bonnet, rear haunches, mean headlights and trademark tri-bar tail-lights.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

The Mach-E’s designers should also be commended for having the confidence to go their own way n certain areas. For instance, the door handles don’t pop out. In fact, there are no handles. Instead, you press a button on the B or C pillars and pull a streamlined ‘E-Latch”.

Inside, there’s a 15.5-inch portrait-mounted infotainment touchscreen in the centre console, plus a smaller 10.2-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel for basic driving information, such as speed, battery percentage and remaining range.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Apart from screens, the cabin has a familiar Ford feel, so while it’s a pleasant and comfortable enough place to be, it doesn’t quite have the premium feel of some competitors.

That said, there’s plenty of space for five adults, while boot capacity is a useable 410 litres (expanding to 1,420 litres of space with the rear seats flipped). The front trunk (frunk) has a further 81 litres, though in practice this is the best place to store your charging cable.

Ford Mustang Mach-E review

So, all in all, the Mach-E is an impressive addition to the electric SUV scene. And frankly, when your biggest gripe is subjective (I couldn’t find a comfortable spot to rest my left foot), it’s a job done well.

Verdict: Ford’s first fully-fledged electric car has been worth the wait. With its combination of kerb appeal, driving dynamics, practicality and long range, the Mustang Mach-E is one of the most accomplished EVs in the crossover sector. Sometimes it’s fashionable to arrive late to a party.

Ford UK

Ford Puma ST review

Ford Puma ST

A little over a year since its launch, and the Ford Puma compact crossover has become a firm fixture in the Top 10 UK best-selling cars list.

Up until now it’s only been available with the excellent 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine in various states of tune, but now there’s the sporty ST version.

Using the same 197bhp 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder unit as the Fiesta ST (but with torque boosted from 214lb ft to 236lb ft), Ford hopes it can work the same magic with this distinctive, slightly bigger, more practical car.

Ford Puma ST

At first glance, there’s not much to distinguish the ST from the smaller-engined ST-Line, apart from ST badging and a few subtle tweaks, including twin exhaust tips and new alloys.

This is probably the right decision because too many boy racer additions would limit its appeal. Plus, if you opt for Mean Green, you stand out quite enough, thank you very much.

Inside, the biggest difference is a pair of Recaro sports seats, a flat-bottomed ST steering wheel, plus ST-branded gear knob and door sill protectors.

Ford Puma ST

Elsewhere, the ST gets the same 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and 8.0-inch central infotainment screen as a high-spec regular Puma, with built-in sat-nav, Apple and Android smartphone mirroring and a wireless phone-charging pad.

The 456-litre boot is also carried over, along with the waterproof and drainable ‘Megabox’ underfloor storage area.

Some scoff at the Megabox because it’s just utilising the space where traditionally a full-sized spare wheel would be kept. This is true, but the extra storage makes a huge difference and the Puma really can swallow a surprising amount of luggage.

Ford Puma ST

Power is sent through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, resulting in a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds, a 137mph top speed, fuel economy of 40.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 155g/km CO2.

Other changes out of sight include a suspension that’s firmer and lower, plus uprated anti-roll bars.

Sounds good on paper, but how does it go, and is it worthy of the ST badge? Well, the standard Puma drives pretty much how you’d expect a crossover based on the acclaimed Fiesta to drive, which is no bad thing.

Ford Puma ST

The Puma ST takes it up a notch or two, blending impressive engine responsiveness with quick steering, powerful brakes and excellent body control.

Accelerate hard out of a bend and the traction is superb, thanks to an optional mechanical limited-slip differential (a rarity in this price range) and specially-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

There’s no shortage of grunt from the engine, while the slick six-speed gearbox has a short shift action and the gear ratios are well chosen.

Ford Puma ST

Even the driving position, complemented by supportive Recaros, is near perfect.

Ok, it’s not quite as nimble as the smaller Fiesta ST, but Ford’s engineers have done a fantastic job crafting a compact crossover this engaging to drive.

There are four selectable driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport and Track), but with a ride that is on the firm side, Normal will do just fine for everyday driving and reserve Sport for fun on more challenging roads.

Ford Puma ST

Claimed fuel economy is pretty much on the money, though we managed to squeeze as much as a 45mpg out of it on a steady motorway run.

Competitively priced from £28,510, a Performance Pack (with goodies including a Mechanical Limited Slip Differential and Launch Control) is an extra £950, while the £600 Drive Assistance Pack adds nice-to-haves such as Adaptive Cruise Control and a rear-view camera.

Verdict: With its winning blend of dynamic drive, practicality and cool looks, the well-equipped, surprisingly spacious Puma ST sports crossover is a welcome addition to the Fast Ford family.