Opel is enjoying a bit of a resurgence worldwide. We recently got our hands on one of its newer products, the Opel Mokka GS Line for a few days.

Opel was once a staple of the South African motoring landscape. From the Rekord to the Monza and more recently Corsa and Adam, their cars were a regular sight on local roads.

Then matters took a turn. Parent company General Motors (GM) shut down its SA operations and Opel went with it. GM then sold Opel to Peugeot SA (PSA) the company that owns Peugeot, Citroen and DS, among others. PSA, in turn, joined forces with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to form the conglomerate known as Stellantis. It’s all quite convoluted, we know.

The bottom line is that Opel, which was once floundering under GM ownership, has been served a new lease of life as a sister brand to Peugeot and Citroen. These two brands are adept at producing small cars and Opel will benefit from the alliance.

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Funky New Appearance

This new lease of life has brought with it new vigour, particularly from a design perspective. The latest iteration of the Opel Mokka is far cry from the dumpy model that it replaces. This newer model has minimal overhangs, a squat stance and a fresh new face. You’d hardly say the predecessor and its replacement are related.

Incidentally, the new frontal treatment is referred to as a Vizor (their spelling, not ours). It is supposed to emulate a helmet visor that covers all the elements on the face of the car, including the headlamps and Opel badge.

During our time with the Opel Mokka GS Line a few folks even had to ask what it is. Some guessed that it was of French origin and others wondered if it was some new Chinese model. But no one really figured for an Opel straight off the bat. That means the new design language is working and perhaps it will attract new buyers to the brand.

High-Tech Interior

The fresh new approach has been carried into the cabin as well. There is a wide digital display on the top-spec Opel Mokka GS Line. By the way, there are just two derivatives, the other being the ‘Elegance’. 

The wide screen is configurable ahead of the driver so you can choose what you wish to see at any given moment. This is handy when you need to use the navigation system for an unplanned detour in Jhb rush hour traffic and don’t want to take your eyes off the road ahead for too long.

Centre stage on the facia is a touchscreen infotainment interface. The system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as satellite navigation as standard. Handily, there is a mobile phone pad ahead of the gear selector so your handset won’t go flying around the place. We can’t help but think that perhaps the gear selection mechanism could be shrunk or moved to free up more space between the front seats. Speaking of seats…

The seats in the Opel Mokka GS Line feature leather coverings as standard, and the driver’s chair is electrically adjustable. There is room aplenty for four adults within the cabin. This does, however, mean that the boot is not voluminous. There is an adjustable boot floor so you can increase the volume a tad.

Check out some of the Opel Mokka’s main rivals by clicking here.

Shared Expertise

The net result of being part of a massive stable is that you get to draw on the expertise carried out by those around you. In this case the Mokka benefits from sharing a platform with current Peugeot and Citroen products. The French brands are known for producing cars that ride well, and this seems to have rubbed off on the Opel Mokka GS Line. We were thoroughly impressed by the ride quality it displayed on the roads in and around Gauteng. One passenger even commented that it rides noticeably better than his own small German crossover from Wolfsburg.

Single Powertrain

Opel SA has kept the new Mokka range simple. As mentioned, there are just two derivatives and there is only one powertrain on offer. This unit is borrowed from a shared parts bin. It is a 1,2-litre, turbocharged inline triple. The engine develops a peak of 96 kW along with 230 N.m of twist effort. The engine is no firecracker, but that healthy torque output means the Mokka can cruise around lazily at the speed limit in top gear.

Oh, we almost forget. The engine is mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission that feeds power to the front wheels. It is a smooth operating unit that requires no effort from the driver, save for having to flex your ankle a bit quickly to drop a cog for added acceleration.


We have to admit off the bat that we walked away from the Opel Mokka GS Line quite impressed. Perhaps there was little expectation from a brand that we have had little experience of in recent times. However, our impressions were underlined by a few passengers who also experienced this product for the first time and were equally enthused. We’re glad to report that Opel seems on the up and up again.

Model: Opel Mokka GS Line
Price: R539 900
Engine: 1,2-litre inline three, turbocharged
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, FWD
Max power: 96 kW
Max torque: 230 N.m
0-100 km/h: n/a
Top speed: n/a
Fuel consumption: 6,1 L/100 km