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Sales of compact crossover models are booming, so it’s no surprise to find Vauxhall has treated its Mokka to a mid-life refresh. The rugged family model is already one of the brand’s most popular cars, but a new look, updated technology and a name change to the Mokka X aim to broaden its appeal even further.

Vauxhall has also simplified the range to include just three models – Active, Design Nav and Elite. There’s a line-up of punchy petrol engines and efficient diesels, plus the option of four-wheel drive.

• Best crossovers and small SUVs on sale

However, the Mokka X will need to be on top form to succeed, as this sector has exploded in size since the original made its debut in 2012. One of our favourite models is the recently revised Peugeot 2008. Stylish, well equipped and good to drive, the French-built machine is available with one of the most efficient diesel engines in the business.



Another relative newcomer is the Honda HR-V. We’ve already sampled the petrol model with a CVT auto gearbox, but this is our first chance to put the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel manual under the microscope. 



The Mokka is the only model here available with four-wheel drive, although the system only comes on the 1.4-litre turbo petrol or 134bhp 1.6-litre diesel.

Allure and GT-Line versions of the 2008 get the brand’s Grip Control set-up, which features Mud, Sand, Snow and Normal settings for the traction control, to allow light off-roading. 


Of our trio, it’s the HR-V that’s the most spacious and versatile car. Not only does it have the biggest boot, it also features Honda’s Magic Seat set-up. The Peugeot has a slightly larger load bay than the Mokka, but doesn’t get that car’s underfloor storage or greater rear legroom. 


The infotainment system in the Vauxhall is by far the best here. Not only does Intellilink bring a larger screen with clearer graphics, it gets useful functions such as Apple CarPlay. The nav set-up also has an Internet connection. 


First place: Peugeot 2008



With its blend of style, equipment and low running costs, the revised 2008 is a desirable alternative to conventional hatchback models. It also delivers a decent driving experience and promises greater security in adverse weather. It’s not quite as spacious as its rivals here, but it’s still practical, and offers more than enough versatility for growing families. 

Second place: Vauxhall Mokka X



The updates to the Vauxhall have been worthwhile, particularly the changes to the dashboard and the upgraded infotainment system. It’s also attractively priced, comes with a decent haul of kit and is powered by a refined and frugal engine. Yet the rest of the driving experience isn’t quite up to scratch, while the interior looks and feels drab compared with the 2008.

Third place: Honda HR-V



If this contest were judged purely on practicality, then the Honda would be a contender for victory. Not only is it ahead on space, it’s packed with thoughtful touches designed to make family life a little easier. However, in S guise, it misses out on some desirable kit, and while the 1.6-litre diesel is a strong performer, it’s also a noisy one.

Other options for similar money...

New: Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 110 Dynam. Nav

Renault Captur - front

Price: £19,785
Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 108bhp

The Captur is closely related to the Juke from Renault’s Alliance partner Nissan, and it stands out with smart styling and a huge array of personalisation options. The punchy 1.5-litre diesel delivers decent efficiency as well.

Used: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Tekna

MG GS vs rivals - Nissan Qashqai front tracking

Price: £19,000
Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 108bhp

Our budget will get you the keys to a flagship Qashqai 1.5 dCi Tekna that’s under a year old and has fewer than 10,000 miles on the clock. Not only is it bigger than these contenders, it’s better equipped and more refined.


  Peugeot 2008 1.6 HDi 120 Allure Vauxhall Mokka X 1.6 CDTi 110 Design Nav Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC S
On the road price/total as tested £19,820/£20,965 £19,565/£20,120 £20,445/£20,445
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000) £8,582/43.3% £8,256/42.2% £8,689/42.5%
Depreciation £11,238 £11,309 £11,756
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £751/£1,502 £780/£1,561 £817/£1,631
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £1,099/£1,831 £1,089/£1,815 £1,342/£2,237