YOU are bound to notice one particular version of Opel’s Mokka-e electric crossover as it swishes by. I could almost hear people say: “What’s that?” as I passed in the vibrant green car on test (there are several other colours).
t drew attention when parked too, the major difference being, of course, that I could answer people’s questions. I summarised the answers: It’s the Mokka-e electric car, made by Opel. They call it a compact crossover. They say it can cover 324kms on one charge. There are other colours.
The vibrant hue that aroused such attention is, surely, part of a message that the company is going ‘green electric’ at pace after spending a good while playing catch-up.
And they are trying to back that perception with claims that the design, exterior (striking) and interior, is part of the brand shedding its (not always deserved) ‘boring’ image.
So, behind all the colour and contours how did it perform? There is a simple answer. As is the case with a lot of mainstream electric vehicles these days, it did mostly what it said on the tin.
It moved smoothly and quietly, was easy to drive and covered ground without fuss or noise intrusion. Battery range? Well, that’s another day’s work.
With the growth of EVs, some say the days of talking about cornering and handling/ride quality as vital elements are fast-fading check points.
Admittedly, there is much more focus on non-mechanical elements but we still want a bit of ‘drive’ surely? Yes, but it is often overshadowed by the intense focus on the likes of the infotainment and interface system; how easily it can be accessed, utilised and what it can do.
As far as the Mokka-e was concerned the two-screen system worked quite well, though I did have a few mumbles with the Voice Control commands in the earlier stages of acquaintance. No doubt they were due to my lack of clearer diction.
But to show that electric can turn on the style when called on too, I flitted around with the three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. The outcomes were obvious for two of them: you use less power and drive accordingly with the Eco, and you get a bit more in Normal.
But I did feel the effect of Sport mode. That brought a much sharper edge to proceedings altogether. So much for those who dismiss electric as boring: this produces 136hp and good torque (pulling power) from a standing start.
Added to that was a decent level of feedback from the drive. I felt the car was set up to deliver more of a solid rather than sporty/energetic performance (with Sport mode being the exception).
Of great importance is the way they have laid out the interior, particularly the front of cabin. Dominating it is a heavily carved out, strong wrap-around central dash-display which is angled sharply towards the driver, making it easy to quickly check information or access input.
I won’t say it’s the snazziest interior around – the dash/display was strong rather than visually subtle – but it shows lots of verve and a push to be different.
From the outside, and partly due to the effect of the effervescent green exterior, the car looked bigger than it was. In reality it isn’t much bigger than a Corsa so there was only moderate rear-seat and boot space.
And I was surprised there were no steering-column paddles to let me choose the level of energy regeneration from slowing down.
I like them. They give that sense of immediate involvement and control. Equally important, they reduce the level of braking as soon as you get the hang of them.
As time went by, I gauged slowing- down speeds more accurately but given the choice I would still go for the finger-tip paddles.
Indeed, every ounce of energy is needed if you are to approach anything like the 324kms they claim the 50kWh battery can manage between charges. I’d say in real-world driving you could knock 40kms/50kms off the claimed range.
So much depends on how and where you are driving, of course. A short trip down the motorway cut sharply into the estimated remaining range on my test car. Yet a long 90 minutes in warm, post-lockdown gridlock added estimated range. It was one of the best examples of the two sides to an EV I’ve seen.
Would I buy it? I’m not sure. It is competitively priced and well set-up for everyday driving. Maybe I just expected a bit more pzazz given that mad green colour. My perceptions might change with the subtle grey-coloured one, perhaps. Colours do that, you know.
Opel MOKKA-e factfile
:: Small electric crossover, 136hp, 50kWh battery, claimed 324km range.
:: From €33,038 in SRI trim (€34,444 for Elite); road tax €120. :: Spread of safety elements, driver assists.
:: SRi spec has heated front seats, climate control, sports alloy pedals, leather-effect seat trim, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two extra USB ports in the rear, black painted roof, 17ins alloys.
:: Elite trim (on test) adds driver seat massage, leather upholstery, 10ins t/screen with nav, enhanced 12ins multi-colour driver instrument cluster.