After the latest Covid lockdown some 4,500 franchised car dealerships, plus many more used car centres, opened their showrooms to the buying public, at least dealers were hoping customers would be buying, writes David Miles.
On Monday 12 April, the opening day for the car industry dealerships, shops, pub gardens, hair salons and so on, Vauxhall had a major advertising splash for their new Mokka and Mokka-e compact SUV models seemingly having forgotten they have only recently introduced the new revised Crossland range also of compact SUV models.
I’ve yet to get an official logical answer as to why Vauxhall feels the need to continue with Mokka and Crossland ranges when essentially they compete against each other.
It might be the original Mokka was a product from Vauxhall before the brand was swallowed up by the PSA Peugeot, Citroen Group before that Group became partnered With Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, Alfa Romeo in a conglomerate called Stellantis which sounds like a mythical Greek island. Interestingly Vauxhall for both the latest Mokka and Crossland have dropped the X suffix to the model ranges
Mokka has been a very successful model range for Vauxhall, always keenly priced and bought/leased by a brand-loyal group of customers. Crossland and its larger Grandland sibling is based upon Peugeot models with seemingly a different following. Vauxhall’s Crossland is more of a version of the Peugeot 2008 compact SUV and Grandland with similarities to the Peugeot 5008.
Both Mokka/Crossland 5-door compact SUV ranges are extensive with a wide range of spec levels although the Mokka is marginally smaller with a length of 4,151mm and a boot/load space of 350 to 1,105-litres. It has 1.2-litre 100/130hp petrol and 1.5-litre 110hp turbodiesel models priced from £20,735 to £29,685 but in addition the Mokka has an ‘e’ all electric 50kWh power option priced from £34,625.
The Crossland is 4,212mm long with a boot/load space, now larger due to a sliding rear seat, ranging from 520 to 1,255-litres with 1.2-litre 83/110/130hp petrol and 1.5-litre 110/120hp turbodiesel engines priced from £19,060 to £27,490. So Vauxhall customers looking for a compact SUV styled model have a bewildering choice and no doubt price will be a factor although I think the Crossland has the edge for both price and size. So it will be down to the Vauxhall dealership’s sales team to negotiate the actual transaction price and potential customers to haggle hard to get the best price.
My test model was the Vauxhall Crossland 1.2-litre, 130hp turbo petrol engine, very widely used throughout the Stellantis Group brands. I drove the same 1.2-litre unit the previous week in the much larger new Peugeot 5008 7-seater large SUV so this award winning 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine has no shortage of power and with a healthy 230Nm of torque. Drive to the front wheels is through a 6-speed manual gearbox but like all Mokka and Crossland models, although SUV in style, there are no 4WD options.
My test model had the newly introduced SRi spec level and is priced at £23,340 but my test car had the £650 Power Orange two-coat bodywork paint and the £335 Winter Pack of heated front seats and steering wheel. The auto version I prefer with this lovely engine with the same SRi spec costs £24,740 plus the options but it is a 6-speed unit not the newer 8-speed auto used by some other Stellantis Group brands. Depending on the engine chosen there is a huge range of spec levels, SE, SE Nav Premium, the newly added SRi Nav, Elite, Elite Nav and Ultimate Nav.
The revised Crossland features Vauxhall’s latest design language including the new Vauxhall Vizor front-end grille and surrounds that has also been used for the new Mokka.
A single module now runs across the face of the SUV housing LED lights and the new Griffin logo. At the rear are new dark-tinted tail lights and a new high-gloss black tailgate surface gives the latest Crossland a wider looking stance. The side profile appears much as before with the yesteryear pram style line incorporated in the roof profile and down into the rear quarters. The roof design at the rear quarters does limit visibility.
Inside it’s a less cluttered fascia than before with a central touchscreen and thankfully proper heating and ventilation and radio controls beneath it. In all other respects its standard fair although I thought the bright red trim inserts in the door cards and fascia clashed with the exterior bodywork Power Orange colour particularly around the door frames.
The sliding rear seat with its 60/40 split folding facility does a good job increasing the boot space from 410 to 520-litres if the rear seats are not being used by adult’s legs.
But in this compact SUV segment, where to my eyes it’s the more senior people who are the main users, it’s what you get for your money that really matters as one SUV is styled very much like another.
The new Crossland starts with SE trim and comes with 16-inch bi-colour wheels and LED headlights with auto lighting. Inside owners get a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus Lane Departure Warning and Speed Sign Recognition.
The SE Nav Premium trim adds front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and LED fog lights. Inside the driver gets a new ergonomic seat for better comfort and Vauxhall’s Multimedia Navi Pro with an eight-inch touchscreen with sat-nav.
The newly added sportier looking SRi Nav models feature 17-inch bi-colour alloy wheels, contrasting roof colours, alloy-effect skid plates and dark tinted rear windows. Inside, owners get Vauxhall’s Multimedia Navi Pro with an eight-inch touchscreen and sat-nav.
The Elite models have leather seat trim, heated front seats and steering wheel as well as front and rear parking sensors with a rear-view camera.
Moving up the chain the Elite Nav models add Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment as well as wireless mobile phone charging and a 180-degree panoramic rear-view camera.
Top-of-the range Ultimate Nav models come with Alcantara seat trim, Keyless Entry & Start, as well as silver roof rails, alongside Vauxhall’s Multimedia Navi Pro with sat-nav and a panoramic 180-degree rear view camera.
With the array of engines, transmissions and wide spec level choices the new Vauxhall Crossland has a model for most tastes, except if you want an all-electric or hybrid version but with fuel efficient petrol and diesel engines at much less prices – for now why bother to go the electric route with its many difficult functional twists and turns?
My test model had latest WLTP rated Combined Cycle fuel consumption ranging from 48.7 to 49.5mpg and during my week or fairly limited Covid regulations driving over short distances, the real-life figure was 47.4mpg which was excellent and I would expect to see 50mpg plus on longer cruising speed journeys if not flogged too hard.
The Crossland in its revised and uprated guise is a neat and nimble compact SUV, high seating positions give excellent side and forward visibility with the rear quarters providing marginal views. Not having a rear view camera was not helpful but it did have parking sensors as a fairly limited guide. My only other negative performance issue was with the firm ride quality with poorer road surfaces unsettling the handling and ride refinement probably due to the sportier SRI Nav spec set-up.
I handed bask the Vauxhall Crossland still confused as to why Vauxhall still think they need the similar sized Mokka with petrol and diesel engines, why not just sell it as the Mokka all-electric version. This is a powertrain the Crossland doesn’t offer so differentiating the Crossland and Mokka ranges and simplifying the choice us customers have for similar sized models from many, many brands.
Vauxhall Crossland SRi Nav, 1.2 Turbo 130hp, manual, 2WD, compact SUV £23,340 (£24,325 as tested with £650 Power Orange paintwork and £335 with Winter Pack of heated front seats and steering wheel)
Engine/transmission: 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged direct injection petrol engine 130hp with 230Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual, 2WD
Performance: 125mph, 0-60mph 9.5-seconds, 47.4mpg on test
CO2 130 -132g/km, new VED First Year road tax £220 then £155 Standard rate, BiK company car tax 32%
Insurance group: 19E Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles
Dimensions/capacities: L 4,212mm, W 1,765, H 1,605, wheelbase 2,604mm, boot 520 to 1,255-litres, braked towing weight 840kgs, 5-doors/5-seats
For: Good value in this fashionable sector, spritely performance, agile handling, roomier, less costlier with a wider range of petrol/diesel engines than the latest Vauxhall Mokka, attractive restyled front end
Against: Firm ride at times, restricted rear quarter visibility, no electric versions unlike its similar sized Mokka stablemate, low towing weight, ungenerous warranty.
© David Miles