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Geneva show: Opel Oz keen on Mokka SUV

Ice Mokka: Opel Australia is keen to import the diminutive Mokka SUV but nothing is confirmed as yet.

Mokka a hot tip for Oz as Opel prepares to debut micro SUV, electric bike at Geneva

Opel logo9 Feb 2012

GERMAN General Motors brand Opel has issued more photos – including the first interior shots – of its Mokka sub-compact SUV ahead of next month’s world debut at the Geneva motor show – and its Australian subsidiary is interested in bringing the funky five-seater over here.

Also headlining Opel’s Geneva presence is the high-performance Astra OPC coupe, which will be joined by the RAD e electric bicycle concept and a punchy yet parsimonious new twin-turbo diesel engine that will debut in the Insignia mid-sizer.

Although the Mokka is likely to reach production too late to join Opel’s launch line-up, the brand’s Australian marketing and public relations manager Michelle Lang told GoAuto “it is definitely in our sights” and something the company will “definitely put our hands up for”.

If introduced, the Mokka will sit alongside three- and five-door versions the Corsa light car, the small-segment Astra in hatch, wagon and recently-confirmed GTC coupe body styles, plus the Insignia sedan and wagon.

52 center imageFrom top: Opel Mokka, RAD e, Ampera and Astra OPC.

As GoAuto has reported, Holden chairman Mike Devereux expressed enthusiasm for the similar-looking Buick Encore unveiled at the Detroit show last month, describing it as “cool” and “a segment-buster” – leading to speculation over its possible arrival in Australia wearing lion badges.

However, Buick and Opel products are pitched more upmarket and with a different styling language compared with equivalents from Chevrolet, the GM brand most closely aligned with Holden.

Most Holden products are re-branded Chevrolets, except the home-grown Ute, Commodore and Caprice, but even these wear the Chevrolet bow-tie in export markets.

Ms Lang was unable to comment on whether there might be a Chevrolet – and from that a Holden – version of the Barina-based Mokka in the pipeline.

She said that although the Mokka shares some properties with the Buick Encore, it will have Opel-specific technology and therefore be “a different beast”.

A comparison of the Mokka and Encore interiors reveals them to have an identical layout but with the Opel more modestly appointed, lacking the Buick’s woodgrain-effect trim and leather seats while substituting its large colour central display with a smaller monochrome unit.

Classy chrome doorhandles, gear shifter and finishing strips on the air vents, steering wheel and centre console are common to both vehicles.

The 4280mm long Mokka – just 80mm longer than a Volkswagen Golf – is claimed to seat five adults in comfort and will go head-to-head with other sub-compact SUVs like the Suzuki SX4, Skoda Yeti, the recently-launched Subaru XV and Ford’s upcoming EcoSport.

Its European engine line-up includes 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated and 1.4-litre turbo petrol engines plus a 1.7-litre diesel, paired with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions across front-drive and all-wheel-drive variants.

Opel promises plenty of on-board technology for the Mokka, with a full suite of safety kit including camera-driven driver assistance systems such as lane departure warning, forward collision alert and road sign recognition plus adaptive Xenon headlights and hill descent control.

Opel’s mid-side Insignia will also take to the Geneva show stand to showcase a new 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 143kW of peak power and 400Nm of torque yet consumes as little as 4.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, making the Insignia one of the most efficient cars in its class.

The sequential twin turbos are linked to a twin intercooler system with separate cooling circuits, the first time the technology – claimed to improve engine responsiveness – has been used on a passenger vehicle.

On the front-drive Insignia hatch, the new engine is claimed to shave almost a second from the 0-100km/h sprint, to 8.2 seconds.

Ms Lang could not be drawn on whether Opel’s most powerful diesel engine would be found under the bonnet of Australian-delivered Insignias.

The curious ‘RAD e’ electric bicycle concept features a 250-watt motor that assists the rider when pedalling and can provide a battery range of between 60 and 145 kilometres depending on the conditions and amount of assistance provided.

Opel expects electric bikes to become integral to urban transport as they enable customers to remain mobile when using a car is restricted or not possible.

Boomerang-shaped features on the RAD e are said to reference the styling of Opel’s RAK e electric city runabout concept and the Ampera range-extender EV.

The presence of the RAD e concept at Geneva is somewhat poetic as Opel, once a bicycle manufacturer, enters its 150th year.

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