The 3rd generation Mokka was launched in SA during April and I was most impressed at the launch drive down in the Western Cape. However, living with a car for a week can be a very different experience as opposed to a few hours behind the wheel on smooth country roads. A full test period is always the real chance to evaluate a new car.

Although the Mokka shares its platform and mechanicals with it's Stellantis sibling, the Peugeot 2008, it's still imbued with dollops of original Opel DNA. A sporty, slightly harder ride comes standard but it's never overly harsh or crashy. It simply invites you to enjoy driving and to rev the little turbo engine a bit more than you would usually be inclined to do.

The 1.2L 3 cylinder turbopetrol engine delivers 96kW and 230Nm to the front wheels and employs an 8 speed torque convertor automatic gearbox. Peugeot models have a 6 speed version.

The Mokka fits into the category of top-end highly specced crossover/suv with a sporty touch or almost coupe-esque body style. Generally the Mokka, and it's competitors in the segment, are designed with style over function and can be somewhat compromised in rear accommodation. I was very surprised when our 1.9m tall friend commented that he was amazed by how much leg and headroom he had when sitting in the rear seat.

Boot space of 311L is average for the class and can be expanded by folding down the 60/40 split rear seats if needed.

The Mokka is available in 2 models in SA, Elegance and GS-Line as tested. Both employ the same powertrain but the GS-Line then adds the full safety suite of active cruise control, forward collision warning and braking, lane keep assist and blind-spot warning. The Opel intelligent lighting system is way above average and automatically adjusts for various driving conditions. Another feature is traffic sign recognition.

On the surface, GS_Line is distinguished by a contrasting black roof and 18" black alloys. On the inside, full leather seats include warming and a massage function for the driver (not the passenger to the disappointment of Mrs R). Plus a 9" infotainment screen in place of a 7" unit.

The only picky point I found with the Mokka is that the peppy engine as I've described encourages enthusiastic driving at the expense of fuel economy. An average figure of 8.4L/100km for the test period is testament to this fact.

The Mokka GS-Line is currently priced at R519 900 with the Elegance being R50 000 less. In this case when you factor the value of the extra specification, let alone the fact that you cannot put a value on safety, I consider the GS-Line model to be my pick.

A 4 year/ 60 000km service plan is standard.

Alan Rosenmeyer:    MotorMatters: