To anyone of my generation, in-car entertainment when growing up meant playing I-Spy, spot the signs and, if you were really lucky, in-car bingo.
ICE in the 21st century is an altogether more sophisticated touchscreen technology affair, with the emphasis firmly on connectivity.
What that means in practice, whether you like it or not, is the ability to use smartphones and tablets on the move – and in the case of the Vauxhall Mokka X that means up to seven digital devices connected to the car by Wi-Fi at any one time.
If this idea fills you with dread, then that probably identifies you as a driver of a certain age and while I, like many others, have serious misgivings about the potential distractions even of hands-free mobile phone conversations, these are not, on the whole, shared by the young.
So can you make life safer at the wheel by simply using your voice to control a mobile phone and a complex satellite navigation system, and also listen to music and read and send text messages while driving? In the Mokka X you can.
All this technology is wrapped up in smart interior, bold muscular bodywork and the first Vauxhall to carry the “X” identifier for the company’s future sports utility and crossover vehicles.
With prices starting at about £17,600, a choice of four trim levels, all-wheel or front-wheel drive, manual or automatic transmissions, and a range of petrol or diesel engines, the Mokka X builds on the popularity of the successful Mokka model.
The Design Nav model driven here was impressively equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights and silver roof rails and a peppy 140 horsepower, 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Inside the cabin is a new Astra-inspired dashboard with a large touchscreen housing Vauxhall’s IntelliLink system, as well as the innovative OnStar ‘personal connectivity and service assistant’ – but more of that a little later.
The all-wheel drive system improves the on-road stability when there is reduced grip on the roads, while also giving extra traction off the beaten track. In everyday use, the Mokka X 4x4 system runs as an economical front-wheel drive car. Its all-wheel drive system activates when the car is stationary to prevent wheel slip, and if you hit a pothole or an ice patch the power is instantly transferred to the rear axle to give extra stability.
Among its highlights, literally, are optional new LED headlights that adapt lighting patterns automatically to give the best possible light performance without dazzling other road users.
More truly useful technology comes with Vauxhall’s OnStar system which is standard and automatically reacts in an emergency, alerting an adviser if the airbags are deployed in a crash. A smartphone app also allows remote locking/unlocking of doors, online vehicle location and honking the vehicle’s horn and flashing its lights. You can also call up information about the car such as oil condition or tyre pressures on your phone.
But as technology advances, I can see a growing market for cars which come fitted not only with a blocker for mobile phone signals, but whose in-car entertainment is a two-button radio that can only receive BBC Radio 4 or Radio 2 – perfect for grumpy old folk.
Model: Vauxhall Mokka X Design Nav 1.4i Turbo
Insurance group: 13E (1-50)
Fuel consumption (combined): 43.5mpg
Top speed: 116mph
Luggage capacity: 12.6 cu ft
Fuel tank capacity: 11.6 gallons/53 litres
CO2 emissions: 152g/km
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles