I was impressed by a number of things: the acceleration is more aggressive than you expect; the drive is swift and grippy

I had the Vauxhall Mokka during an ad campaign for the car, and driving past the billboards (all shiny, mustard-coloured bulk) in the actual car (a cheery, school-run blue, a rounded, friendly nose) was like seeing Myleene Klass in an M&S ad for your bra. “Mmmm…” I thought. “It’s not exactly like that in real life.” It is sturdy and handsome, without being glamorous, as befits its bid for the crossover crown, vying with the Nissan Juke and the Skoda Yeti. There’s a diesel option; I had the 1.4 petrol, all-wheel drive, which acquits itself pretty neatly. If you imagine these three cars as interns, the Mokka would uncomplainingly get you a coffee, just as you’d ordered it; the Juke wouldn’t be served in a coffee shop because of its piercings and intimidating makeup; and the Yeti would get a coffee and a sandwich you didn’t really want, leaving you feeling obscurely guilty and annoyed. So far, the Mokka has the job, right? (I don’t, incidentally, believe in unpaid internships. All of these cars deserve the minimum wage.)

Despite its versatility, I was happiest in town: the fuel economy isn’t the best, but the eco alerts on the dash, even though I never really understand them, make me feel as if I’m driving responsibly. It’s an automatic and shifted gears smoothly, without complaint. The steering was biddable. If it were still an intern, you’d be wondering whether it was a little too obedient, short on initiative, a rule-taker. To resolve this, you need to get to a motorway. I was impressed by a number of things: the acceleration is sharper and more aggressive than you expect; the drive is swift and grippy. The cabin looks functional at first, designed for the kind of people who spill (wait, that’s me – this car was designed for me!), but after driving for an hour or so, I’d happily do the same again. I’ve sat in far pricier seats bellyaching about the posture and fabricating reasons to stop. Functional, user-friendly satnav and USB connections are so much the norm now that it seems faint praise, like saying “she has A-levels” or “good personal hygiene”. But there’s lots of entry-level celebrity detail, electrically controlled wing mirrors, tinted windows.

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