Well equipped, attractive upmarket design, improved gearbox
Poor handling, noisy diesel engine, expensive to run, small boot for a 4x4
The Vauxhall Antara is a five-seat 4x4 in the same mould as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V and is essentially the replacement for the long-running Frontera which stopped being sold in 2003.
Its neat styling, decent equipment levels and modern cabin give it plenty of appeal but unfortunately the Antara lags behind other similar off roaders in too many key areas. The vague steering and wallowy handling do it few favours while the five-speed gearbox is poor. Elsewhere, the 2.0-litre CDTi diesel is noisy and crude which only adds to the feel that the Antara is dated before its time.
In early 2011 the Antara was given a number of updates. The aesthetics were given minor updates with some exterior design refreshes as well as small changes to the interior. The more substantial changes included a tweaked chassis, new gearbox and cleaner and more efficient engines.
You certainly cannot fault Vauxhall for the amount of standard equipment they cram into the Antara. Every model comes with ESP, six airbags, air conditioning, electric windows all round, CD stereo and MP3 connection.
There is also the choice between front- and four-wheel drive versions, as well as a single 165bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine and the much more popular 2.2 turbodiesel that comes in 161- and 181bhp forms.
If you opt for the Antara in higher grade SE trim, you also gain climate control in place of air con and leather upholstery instead of fabric-covered seats. The SE also comes with a Bluetooth connection included.
An SUV, even one with more crossover credentials than serious off-road ambitions such as the Antara, is never going to be the last word in driving pleasure. However, the Antara misses the mark set by the class leaders by some margin.
It’s easy to park and relatively compact for town driving, but that’s about the limit of its plus points as the Vauxhall has wallowy suspension on twisting roads, even with the revisions to the suspension in early 2011, and the steering has very little in the way of feel.
The engines are also noisy when asked to deliver more than a gentle amble through town traffic. So is this car worth considering to buy? Read the full Vauxhall Antara review to find out.