Watch out Dakar, the Mokka’s coming

How do you make the Vauxhall Mokka interesting? Give it a V8 and take it rallying obviously.We at Top Gear love the idea of participating in the Dakar Rally. Sure, our attempts could almost certainly be filed under ‘ambitious but rubbish’, but it would at least be exciting. The 2014 Dakar, held back in January, has been dubbed the toughest yet in the event’s modern-day South American home, less than half of the vehicles that started managing to make it to the end.

Dara Vauxhall Mokka

Darar Vauxhall Mokka

Car, truck, quad and bike manufacturers around the world are now getting their gear in order for Dakar 2015. Opel has followed Peugeot’s lead, unveiling its entrant at the recent Moscow Motor Show. The base for its wannabe desert conqueror? The Vauxhall Mokka

Obviously, the rally machine has been extensively modified from the Mokka that so underwhelmed us when we drove it: the suspension’s been raised, a long range fuel tank has been fitted, the bodywork has been reinforced with carbon fibre and, it’s been tweaked a little in the engine department.

A 340bhp 6.2-litre V8 replaces the 1.4-litre four-cylinder found in the garden-variety Mokka, and it drives all four wheels via a proper sequential gearbox. In truth, this rally version is absolutely nothing like the original. It’s almost unrecognisable, in fact; only the ‘Mokka’ daubings down the side and production-spec light clusters form any connection with the car you can buy at your local Vauxhall dealer. Which is probably a good thing, if we’re being honest.

What would be your choice of car to take desert rallying?