Vauxhall-Opel’s rebirth

in Motoring Insight

Vauxhall started life 164 years ago as a company making pumps and marine engines, and based initially in Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall – in London –  and so hence the name. You have to go way back to 1903 to find when the company built its first car. Fast forward to 2021, and Vauxhall and Opel are now part of the French PSA Groupe. And very recently Fiat Group joined the same setup, so now the whole company has been renamed the vanilla “Stellantis” with Citroen, Peugeot, DS, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and many more falling under this made-up-word’s umbrella.

With all the technology and much more financial support, Vauxhall/Opel has managed to produce more new cars, much more quickly, due to the availability of extra platforms (chassis) and drivetrains.

I have recently tested three new cars, all UK Vauxhall badged.

The latest is the all-new Mokka, and I drove this as both the pure electric and with a 1.2-litre petrol. The Mokka is a small five-door SUV, but has plenty of interior space, and a great looking car, with lots of character. With the battery fully charged it has a range of around 200 miles (320km).

The second in the trio I drove was a Corsa electric that I had on test from Vauxhall press department, and like the Mokka has a range of 200 miles. It was quick, and as expected very quiet, but charging the car using public charging stations proved to be a bit “hit and miss” and not very reliable. But with the car charged up, it was great fun to drive, and for a small hatch, had plenty of room for five adults.

The Insignia has had a major overhaul and facelift recently and it is a handsome large five door car, with some great lines and some precision pressings in the body panels. But as good as it is, this sector of the market is losing favour with the buying public as they now much prefer a more practical SUV, and you have to wonder if the days are now numbered for this type of vehicle.

The one car out of these three that hit the right spot, and did everything right, for design, packaging and value has to be the Mokka, in either petrol or electric, they have got it absolutely right.

All these three cars were up to an exceptionally high standard, in the build quality, materials used and fit and finish, all thanks to being part of the large group with a funny name – Stellantis. As time goes on, more and more cars in the group will benefit from more advanced technology and use of shared parts, which will probably end up being not a bad thing for the consumer.

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