Vauxhall Mokka X Elite 1.6 CDTi (Price, as tested, £25,630)

ON THE ROAD: THE Mokka certainly looks the part if a chunky, rugged SUV is what you're after.

Appealing to both male and female drivers, it provides decent opposition to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai or Renault's Captur.

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There's a wide range of engines to choose from. We drove the 1.6 CDTi which was a capable performer in most areas. It might not be quick off the blocks, but when the power comes in you won't find it left wanting.

The steering could do with a bit more feel to it and the ride is not as settled as it might be, but it's pretty well-mannered otherwise.

ON THE INSIDE: VAUXHALL has redesigned the interior of the Mokka and it's all the better for it. Not that there were any major moans about the original, but this latest version is far fresher and cleaner. It takes many of its cues from the Astra. The infotainment unit is easy to use and intuitive.

The Mokka is pretty well mannered on the road, but there is a little body roll around corners.

The Mokka offers a good driving position, and I like the fact you can stretch your left leg out fully. You can see pretty much everything you want out the front. The view out of the rear isn't as good because the window is on the small side.

WHAT DO YOU GET: STANDARD features include Silver-effect 18-inch alloy wheels with 215/55 R 18 tyres; Alloy-effect protective front skid plate; Side-protection mouldings; Silver-effect roof rails; Front fog lights; Stainless steel exhaust tailpipe; Leather-covered steering wheel; Steering column adjustable for reach and rake; Steering wheel mounted audio controls; Front centre armrest; 60/40 split flip and fold rear seat; Dark-tinted rear windows; Alloy-effect door sill covers; R4.0 IntelliLink system; smartphone projection, Apple CarPlay and Android Autol; 7ins colour touchscreen; AM/FM/digital radio and Bluetooth audio streaming.

In addition there's – Bluetooth mobile phone portal; USB connection with iPod control; Aux-in socket; Dual-zone electronic climate control; Cruise control with speed limiter; Multi-function trip computer; Automatic lighting control; High beam assist; Rain-sensitive windscreen wipers; Electro-chromatic anti-dazzle rear-view mirror; 12-volt rear power outlet behind front seats; Electrically foldable door mirrors; Electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors; Electrically operated front and rear windows; Remote control central locking; Vauxhall OnStar, your personal on board assistant; Switchable electronic stability programme; Anti-lock braking system; Traction control; Hill start assist; Tyre pressure monitoring system; Driver’s and front passenger’s front, side-impact and full-size curtain airbags; Remote control alarm system; Front and rear parking distance sensors; Emergency tyre inflation kit in lieu of spare wheel; LED daytime running lights; Leather seat facings; Ergonomic sports front seats; Electrically heated front seats; Electrically heated steering wheel; Rear seat centre armrest with drinks holders.

HOW PRACTICAL IS IT: FERRYING the kids around is no problem in the Mokka as it copes with little ones well. Larger rear seat passengers might complain a little about leg room and if you draw the short straw of sitting in the middle you might you have to sit with your knees up.

Folding the seats isn't a straightforward matter. Having not looked at the instructions, it took me a few minutes to work out I needed to flip the bases up first.

With the seats up there is 356 litres of space, with them folded that increases to 1,305 litres.

The Northern Echo:

RUNNING COSTS: VAUXHALL say it should be possible to get 65.7mpg from our car on the combined cycle. We managed a more modest 50mpg. CO2 emissions are 114g/km.

VERDICT: BETTER for the updates, but still a little way behind sector leaders.

ALTERNATIVES: NISSAN Qashqai, Ford Kuga