Pity the hard-up hard of hearing. For decades, bargainhunting deaf car buyers have paid for sound-deadening from which they'll never benefit. But now, catering to the aurally impaired minority, comes the Mokka, a Skoda Yeti rival that offers as much of an assault on the ears as it does on the English language. Vauxhall hasn't wasted a penny on pesky sound insulation here. Crank the Mokka up to 70mph on an averagely surfaced motorway, and sign language becomes necessary for in-cabin communication. Road noise, wind noise, engine noise, the Mokka's got the full house.
Its appalling, crashy ride is partly to blame. Even on fair German tarmac, the Mokka clatters like a cutlery drawer in a washing machine, sending every road crease and crack clanging straight up through the seats. We shudder to think how it'll fare on Britain's distraught roads. The Mokka's roaring 1.7-litre turbodiesel (the only black-pump offering) contributes plenty of decibels too, droning through the stodgy cabin with the grim insistence of an adenoidal pub bore. Better to opt for the top-spec 1.4-litre turbo petrol, but bear in mind it's available solely with four-wheel drive - an electromagnetic system that throws torque to the rear axle only when required - whereas the diesel and entrylevel 1.6-litre petrol can also be had in front-drive flavour.
You could hush the Mokka a little by speccing it on small wheels - our test car rode on 18s - but that won't do much for its already divisive appearance. There's no shortage of styling here, but, to Top Gear's eyes, it resembles an overinflated Suzuki SX4 bolstered with the plastic cladding from a Rover Streetwise. For those with fully functioning ears (and eyes), the Mokka can only really be recommended for its neat packaging. Splitting Nissan's Juke and Qashqai for length, it pushes the latter close for interior space: despite a modest footprint and coupe-style roofline, there's plenty of legand headroom in the back. And, naturally, plenty of noise.
Sadly, the Mokka isn't even suitable for our over-tall, hard-of-hearing, parsimonious family. Because, despite feeling cheaply built, it isn't cheap. Prices start at £16,995 for the 1.6 petrol (avoid), rising to more than £20k if you want the 4WD 1.4-litre turbo. If you want something GM-built, odd and crossover-ish, we'd hold out for the Chevrolet Trax, essentially the same car (albeit with Chevy's own chassis tuning) and hopefully with a cheaper price tag. Better still, look towards the Yeti, which pulls off the quirky mini-SUV thing with far greater aplomb and quality. Without the need for ear defenders.
1686cc, 4cyl, 4WD, 138bhp, 221lb ft, 62.8mpg, 120g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 10.0secs, 116mph, 1354kg
Noisy, unrefined, average to drive and too expensive. A nasty blip in Vauxhall's recent upsurge.