SOME rivalries will never die.
Dogs will always chase cats. City and United fans will never drink in the same pub. And I can’t see Trump playing golf with Biden at Turnberry.
In the car world, there’s no bigger rivalry in the UK than Ford v Vauxhall.
Some of you will remember Anglia, Cortina and Escort versus Victor and Viva in the Sixties and Seventies — and the battle between the two has been constant ever since.
Bringing things well and truly up to date, we now have two crossovers: Puma v Mokka.
Puma enjoyed a good first year last year — so much so, it was Britain’s ninth best-selling car, ahead of the Nissan Juke.
It will be interesting to see how Mokka gets on this year because it’s a serious rival — and in some ways, a more attractive car.
Whereas the old Mokka was fugly and didn’t give Ford too much to worry about, this new one will.
Partly because it looks ace but mostly because there’s more choice. You can have petrol, diesel or 100 per cent electric.
Ford won’t have an electric car for the masses until 2023, which gives Vauxhall — thanks to PSA ownership — a serious headstart.
Now let’s talk new Mokka.
At just over four metres long, it has the footprint and innards of a Corsa but rides higher and is without doubt the best-looking Vauxhall for some time.
Especially in SRi trim with its red window stripe, black roof, black badging and 18in bi-colour alloys that spin up like a Catherine wheel. Very similar to the GTX concept we drove in 2018. Tidy.
That full-width “visor” at the front of the car — think motorcycle visor — is the face of every new Vauxhall from now on. It incorporates the lights and sensors, the eyes of the car, and is part of what Brit designer Mark Adams — a top bloke — calls a “visual detox”.
Things get even better inside with a thoroughly modern display panel — housing 12in and 10in screens on higher-spec models — combined with simple buttons and switches for all the things that need buttons and switches. Like volume and lights and air-con and the dastardly lane assist. Take note, VW.
Cabin space is good. Visibility is good. Standard kit is good. And it goes well too.
Especially the Mokka-e. Electric cars are smooth and quiet and easy but have a wicked streak — instant torque — which means they can charge off into the distance with a dab of the right foot. The extra weight of the batteries in the floor also gives it good body control.
I actually preferred the EV to the petrol Mokka, which felt a little crashy on big 18in wheels but otherwise is decent. The Puma is better in a hurry.
Something else irritated me. The boot button. Are you kidding me? Some muppet positioned it down low in the number-plate recess which always gets mucky. Which means your fingers always get mucky.
And why no capless fuel filler? Like Ford and others.
Finally, we should talk money.
Key facts: VAUXHALL MOKKA
- Price: £20,375
- Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
- Power: 100hp, 205Nm
- 0-60mph: 10.6 secs
- Top speed: 116mph
- Economy: 51mpg
- CO2: 124g/km
- Out: Next month
Key facts: VAUXHALL MOKKA-E
- Price: £30,840
- Battery: 50kWh
- Power: 136hp, 260Nm
- 0-62mph: 8.7 secs
- Top speed: 93mph
- Range: 201 miles
- Out: Next month
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Prices start at £20k for the petrol Mokka, £23k for the sweet-spot SRi and nudging £31k for the Mokka-e.
That’s too much of a jump for my liking but an electric car will save you thousands of pounds in fuel, tax and maintenance costs in the long run, as well as giving you the added glow of being a good citizen. Electric VXR to follow.
So, what are you thinking now? Puma or Mokka? Blue team or red team? Let the battle for your cash commence.
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