While Opel as a brand has been out of the New Zealand market for decades, it’s back in 2022 with promises of hybrid and electric cars for everyone.

Can New Zealand handle yet another brand in our small market? DriveLife headed to Auckland to get the low down on the brand’s return to our country.

Opel in Europe

According to Opel in New Zealand, 75% of kiwis want to do the right thing, this is why they wanted to bring Opel to market here. Read into that what you will. Back home in Europe, it’s the fastest-growing German brand.

But it has a huge history, having been around 120 years, and is now “successful in one of the most sophisticated markets in the world”. Opel has seen 21% market share growth in Europe, and 110% market share increase in B2B markets.

The entire Stellantis group (that owns Opel and other brands) is investing 30 billion euros for EV development for the period 2021-2025, across all Stellantis brands. They are serious about EVs, and with the impending banning of sales of petrol or diesel in Europe in 2035, they have no choice. This investment includes building a Giga factory in Germany, and they currently have 12 electrified models across the Opel range in Europe. In 2024, they will have a complete EV offering, with only EVs for sale in Europe from 2028. Even at the moment, they say their European EV market share is higher than their overall market share, so they are on their way.

Opel Mokka-e

2022 Opel In New Zealand

In New Zealand, every Opel sold will qualify for a rebate through the Clean Car Programme. To make their cars affordable, Opel’s goal is to make them as accessible and affordable as possible through various finance options, with their EV models available from $179/week.

You might think that’s all very well, but with the delays in new car deliveries, there’s no point putting your money down. The first boatload of Corsa and Mokkas have arrived, and are heading to one of the nine Opel dealers around the country. Next year the number of dealers will increase to ten. Eighty per cent of that first shipment is sold, so there’s stock here now for purchase.

There’s another boatload on the way and due in December, and Opel NZ has purposely held some of those cars back from preorders, so there will be cars available to purchase.

Since announcing it was coming to New Zealand, the distributor has had 5,000 leads so far, with a mix of around 60/40 of people wanting an EV over an internal combustion engine (ICE) Opel.

You might wonder why Opel didn’t simply launch in New Zealand with EVs only and dump ICE altogether, but that wouldn’t align with their accessible pricing model. EVs are still much more expensive than an ICE-powered car.

Next year will see us get the Astra model, initially as an EV (late February or March) and the ICE version early January. The Grandland, a medium SUV model, is also due in Early January.

They understand that while they have lots of enquiries for new EV buyers, those buyers may not be familiar with charging and using an EV. To counter this, each dealership will have a be “how to EV” wall display, including Wall Boxes charging units at home. 

Opel Mokka-e boot

2022 Opel Mokka And Corsa In New Zealand – Specs and Pricing

Both models, the small SUV Mokka and the small hatchback Corsa, will include ICE models and EV-only models, with no hybrid options.

The Corsa-e SRi is priced at $59,990, while the Corsa SRi (ICE) is $36,990. Currently, New Zealand will see only the top-spec SRi model being sold here. You can also “iOwn” the Corsa-e for $179/week.

The iCE version of the Corsa or the Mokka uses a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that outputs 96kW of power and 230Nm of torque. It uses an 8-speed automatic gearbox. We saw this drivetrain recently in our Peugeot 208 GT review.

Opel Mokka-e

Both EV models have a 50kWh battery pack, and can fast charge at up to 100kW. The onboard charger is 7.4kW while the WLTP ratings for each are 383km in the Corsa-e and 363km in the Mokka-e.

Interestingly, the petrol-engined Corsa doesn’t have adaptive cruise control, and the same goes for the base (Edition) model of Mokka.

Both are front-wheel drives and the electric motor has an output of 100kW of power and 260Nm of torque. This will get the Corsa-e to 100km/h in 8.1 seconds, and the heavier Mokka-e to the same speed in 9.0 seconds. All Corsa and Mokka EV models can fast charge in 30 minutes says Opel, and both are at Level 2 for autonomous driving.

The Mokka comes in 3 models for New Zealand, two are ICE and one is a full EV:

Edition: $38,990

SRi: $44,990

Mokka-e: $69,990

The Mokka-e is also available on the iOwn finance package, at $199/week.

The new-car factory warranty is 5 years, while EVs include an 8-year, 160,000km battery warranty. All EV models come with a 230-volt charger for home use.

Launching a new hatchback into the light car segment is tough, especially when some brands are dumping hatchbacks altogether. But Opel suggests this segment is up 16%, so perhaps they are on to something here.

The Mokka launches into the Small SUV segment, which is the second biggest segment for car sales but is the most competitive.

Opel Mokka-e

2022 Opel Corsa

We got some light details on the small hatchback Corsa. All have black roofs and bonnets to align the car with Opel’s design vision of “Bold and Pure”. There’s a fully digital 7” instrument panel and 7” central touchscreen across models, and since New Zealand only gets the top-spec SRi, there are adaptive LED Matrix headlights as standard as well as adaptive cruise with stop/go functionality.

2022 Opel Mokka

You can tell that Opel is targeting younger buyers with the TV advert that was shown. Part of the advert even said, “Less blah blah”. This all aligns with their target market, and their motto for the Mokka of “Less Normal, More Mokka”. I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty catchy.

The Mokka SRi models have a black bonnet and roof as standard, with things like adaptive cruise control and adaptive LED Matrix headlights, depending on the model. There’s a 12” digital instrument display, and a 10” central screen under Opel’s Pure Panel concept.

2022 Opel Mokka-e And Corsa-e In New Zealand | Quick Drive

We’d only get a 15-minute drive in two models today, the Corsa-e and the Mokka-e. I grabbed a Mokka-e and saw there is also some red trim on the outside of the car, following the roofline. It does make the car look a little bit more funky, and like the inside, this red trim is on all exterior colours of Mokka except for green.

First impressions of the interior are generally good. It’s all black inside (although the Edition model of the Mokka has grey upholstery) and the gear lever is a small toggle, but is easy enough to use.

Up front, the car feels very open with the dash seemingly a long way away. There is some stylish red stitching on the seats, and red trim across the dash. Like the exterior, apparently this red interior trim is on all colours except for green.

The doors and dash have fake carbon fibre on them but it’s reasonably tasteful. On my short drive, the seats feel great and supportive, with excellent side bolstering.

Driving the car feels a lot like driving the Peugeot 208 EV, I guess that’s expected since both the Mokka and Corsa are built on the 208’s platform. That’s no bad thing, and even on a short drive the car impresses with smoothness and agility in tight Auckland streets.

Sport mode gives the car a reasonable kick in the guts for performance, and it certainly feels faster than its 0-100km/h time suggests. Probably like most small EVs, it’s 0-50km/h where they really shine, and this is no different for the Mokka-e.

Brake regeneration (regen) is not controlled by steering wheel paddles, instead there is a toggle switch down on the centre console. It only has two settings; Standard and High. Honestly, I couldn’t feel any difference between those settings, and the actual regen seemed very light, almost like it wasn’t doing anything at all. We’ll wait to do our full review to check this out.

2022 Opel Corsa-e

Wow, the screens are so much smaller in the Corsa. Interesting that Opel has gone to a steering wheel-mounted dashboard, so it moves up and down with the steering wheel as you adjust it. The screen is quite small but the clarity is there. The digital speedo is very small, and the traffic sign recognition sign is tiny.

Again, the car feels like the 208 EV, and is black inside like the Mokka-e. However, there are some very sporty red racing stripes on the seats, and it was good that Opel is even offering an SUV when everyone else seems to be dropping them.

I only got a few minutes in the Corsa-e, but we’ve booked one in for a full review next month.

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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