The Vauxhall Antara is a heavy, slightly dated midsize SUV. And while it’s probably not top of anyone’s shopping list, its good looks, spacious cabin and long list of standard safety equipment mean that it still represents good value for money in its class.
Although it’s been around for quite a while now, the most recent, facelifted Antara still has enough of a stylish, contemporary appearance to show its face in the midsize SUV crowd.
It has chiselled good looks and a commanding road presence that can’t be matched by some of its more conservative-looking rivals. We’re looking at you, Volkswagen Tiguan.
In general the Antara is pretty striking – if not actually that pretty. We’re talking about rather an old-fashioned appearance here. It looks like it wants to be covered in mud, not wax.
In general the Antara is pretty striking – if not actually that pretty.
What’s it like to drive?
The Antara’s lofty driving position offers a great view out through the windscreen. As with all similar SUVs, its additional height doesn’t do the handling any favours. The Antara does offer precise steering and relatively good body control over gentle surfaces, while falling short on twisty roads due to a wallowy suspension set-up that allows the car to lean too much in corners. As a consequence of that soft suspension, the Antara is more at home on motorways and smooth A-roads.
When it comes to power and acceleration, the Antara’s 2.2-litre diesel engine makes light work of motorway journeys, with more than enough poke to get you out of trouble on narrower arteries and byways.
The Antara’s lofty driving position offers a great view out through the windscreen.
That high driving position, combined with a standard adjustable driver’s seat, makes it pretty easy to get comfortable behind the Antara’s wheel. The dashboard features an easy-to-read graphic display, with remote controls for the stereo mounted on the leather-clad steering wheel.
The Antara comes with a host of standard features across the range, including air conditioning, heated front seats and Bluetooth, while higher-spec SE Nav models get built-in sat-nav and electronic climate control. Four-wheel drive Exclusiv trim adds cruise control and rear parking sensors.
The interior is relatively well-made, with decent materials and sturdy switchgear. It’s a definite improvement over the previous generation Antara, although there’s rather too much hard plastic dotted around the cabin to keep it in line with higher-quality rivals. It feels old hat compared to fresher designs by other companies released at the same time, including Toyota, Nissan and Mazda.
Thanks to the Antara’s height there’s plenty of front and rear headroom. Legroom is decent, too, and three normal-sized adults will be able to travel in relative comfort in the back, with reclining seatbacks being a nice additional touch for those who want a nap on long journeys.
There’s plenty of storage space in the cabin, with numerous cubbyholes and compartments for smartphones, loose change and wallets, and there are cupholders in the front and rear armrests as well. Boot space is decent with enough room to pack for a long weekend away.
Dropping the rear seats down flat allows you to carry bigger loads, which should be easy to get in and out of the Antara thanks to its large tailgate and low loading lip. SE Nav models come with a standard folding front passenger seat, so transporting larger, longer items won’t be a problem.
Running costs and reliability
As the Antara is an older model, its depreciation will by now have levelled off, making it good value against newer, more expensive rivals. Fuel economy falls a little behind the competition, with the Antara’s 2.2-litre diesel engine returning around 44.1mpg.
What we love
We love the Antara’s impressive list of standard safety equipment. All models comewith6airbags and a tyre-pressure monitoring system, as well as electronic stability control and traction control. More impressive still is the Antara’s hill-descent control system, which ensures that the car won’t get away from you while negotiating steep slopes, and hill-start assist, which prevents you from rolling backwards when pulling away on sharp inclines.And let’s not forget that the Antara can tow up to 2,000kg, which is enough to haul a caravan or a speedboat.
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Having a Vauxhall Antara parked on your driveway may not make your neighbours green with envy, but it’s a worthy choice if you need a relatively stylish, good value, no-nonsense family workhorse to cope with everyday life.
This review was