Vauxhall Antara

The Essentials

  • Price from £20,660
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 46.0mpg
  • What is it? A practical, well equipped small SUV, but the Antara isn't the last word in style or fun.

Great

  • There's masses of kit
  • Generous with safety measures
  • Plenty of room for the kids

Gripes

  • Engines are frustratingly slow
  • It's expensive to buy and run
  • Can't see where the bonnet ends
  • Drive

    It handles well but that's about it

  • Inside

    All good, solid stuff but there's no real pizzazz

  • Safety

    Stability control and front, side and curtain airbags are standard

  • Reliability

    Vauxhall's reliability record isn't the best

  • Space

    Lots for passengers - just tell them to pack light

  • Standard and extras

    Excellent. Mid-range trims get luxury items like climate control and a chilled glove compartment

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Antara is reasonably sporty to drive compared with other small SUVs. There's decent grip and, because the suspension keeps body movement firmly in check, the Vauxhall isn't as wallowy as you might expect on winding roads. The downside is a rather stiff ride.
    There's a choice of two 2.2-litre diesel engines; one with 161bhp and the other with 181bhp. Both are smooth and flexible, with plenty of pulling muscle to call on when you need it. You can choose between two- or four-wheel drive, and a manual or an automatic gearbox.

  • What's it like inside?

    As with most 4x4s, the lofty driving position gives a penthouse view of the road ahead, and there's a good range of adjustment for the seats and steering wheel. There's plenty of space for five people, with lots of head- and legroom all-round. Reclining rear seats and a flat floor make life especially comfortable for those in the back, however the Antara's boot is smaller than many rivals'.
    The cabin feels solid, with an attractive design lifted by silver inserts and circular air vents. Most of the materials are classy, too, although the interior isn't as posh as a Peugeot 3008's.
    All Antaras are well equipped, with even entry-level Exclusiv models getting alloys, air-conditioning and heated front seats.

  • How reliable is it?

    Possibly. The Antara doesn't sell in large enough numbers to be included in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey, but other Vauxhall models fared badly in the most recent study. In fact, the overall manufacturer league table, only Chevrolet kept Vauxhall off the bottom.
    Safety provisions are much more encouraging: all Antaras come with front, side and curtain airbags as standard. There's also a stability control system to help keep you out of trouble in the first place and a hill descent system to help out on slippery slopes.

  • Should I buy one?

    The entry-level, front-wheel drive Antara makes most financial sense. It's keenly priced, undercutting key rivals like the Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan, and further discounts are available from your Vauxhall dealer. However, resale values are pretty ropey, and many rivals boast better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.