The Vauxhall Antara, first introduced in 2006, is the natural successor to the old Frontera. The Frontera was widely mocked as a poor attempt at an SUV, but thankfully the Antara is an awful lot better. The Antara is a five-seat compact SUV in direct competition with the Ford Kuga, the Volkswagen Tiguan, and the Mazda CX-5. It can’t quite match its rivals as a complete package, but the Antara’s beefy looks, generous equipment list, and reasonable price make it a pretty solid option.
An update in 2011 saw a facelift, with an updated design, improved technology, and the introduction of greener, more efficient engines.
Decent build quality and generous equipment, but not as impressive as rivals
Vauxhall has improved both the design and the build quality of its interiors in recent years, but the Antara is sadly lacking in the design department. Nevertheless, the cabin is solid, there’s decent storage space, and you’ll get plenty of kit as standard.
The dashboard design of the Antara is modern and functional, though it lacks the finesse of a Volkswagen Tiguan, and the contemporary design of the Mazda CX-5. Build quality is however pretty good, and there are some soft-touch materials used for the majority of the cabin. There are however some harder, scratchier plastics in the lower reaches of the cabin. It’s not the most interesting interior in the world, but the easy to use controls mean that it’s an easy car to become quickly accustomed to.
Buyers on the lookout for a compact SUV will be looking for a practical, spacious car for their family needs. The Antara is reasonable in this department, though it doesn’t offer as much storage capacity as some rivals. There is however plenty of space inside for five full-sized adults to travel comfortably, with no transmission tunnel to hinder middle legroom. The 420 litre boot capacity is disappointing though, especially when you compare it to the Ford Kuga (442 litres), and the Toyota RAV4 (574 litres).
Equipment levels in the Antara are pretty generous, no matter which model you choose to go for. The entry-level Exclusiv trim comes with plenty of goodies, with air-con, electric windows, power adjusted heated door mirrors, and Bluetooth all featuring. Four wheel drive Exclusiv models add cruise control and parking sensors into the mix, whilst Diamond trim adds leather seats, and a power adjusted driver’s seat.
All in all, the interior of the Antera is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s solidly built, has a spacious cabin, and is generously equipped. Unfortunately however it’s let down by a disappointingly small boot space, and a slightly dated cabin design.
On The Road
Lags behind the class leaders
Most SUVs aren’t especially geared towards engaging on-road driving experiences, and the Antara is no different. There’s plenty of grip to keep you safe in poor weather conditions, though the steering is too light and vague, so it’s far from being a captivating drive. Light steering does however make the Antara an easy car to drive around town. For such a big car, it’s relatively easy to park, and busy city centre traffic shouldn’t cause too many problems.
Suspension and Chassis
The soft suspension system on the Antara should make it comfortable and refined, but that’s unfortunately not the case. On poor quality British roads the Antara jumps around, especially when you drive over potholes. In town it’s not much better either, with speed bumps causing a fair amount of instability. Body lean through the corners is also pretty apparent, especially when at speed. Road, wind, and engine noise are rather intrusive on motorways as well, so it’s not the most comfortable long-distance cruiser.
Gearbox options in the Antera come in one guise only. No matter which model you go for you’re going to get a six speed manual transmission. It does the job reasonably well, though it’s not as sharp as you’d find in some rivals. The lack of automatic option will put a lot of buyers off, though the stop/start technology on the manual will at least save you some fuel.
Only one diesel engine in the range
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Antara, you’ve only got the one option. All models come with a 2.2 litre diesel engine, that’s reasonable enough, though it’s not as clean or efficient as those on offer in some rivals.
Petrolheads don’t usually buy family SUVs, so it’s understandable that the 2.2 CRTi diesel engine in the Antara doesn’t make it the quickest car in the world. The 159bhp engine has enough power for most buyers however, and it features an impressive 251lb/ft torque that’s ideal if you tow a caravan or a trailer. The 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds is also pretty reasonable, though it does feel sluggish lower down the rev range, as the turbocharger only kicks in once you really start to rev the engine.
Eco-friendly buyers are another group that aren’t enamoured with SUVs, and it’s easy to see why in the Antera. The 167g/km of CO2 emissions that come out of the exhaust are far from green, and cars such as the Ford Kuga and the Mazda CX-5 are much better for the planet. It’ll also cost £205 per year to tax, so isn’t the best option for money-savers. The 44mpg fuel efficiency doesn’t particularly help matters, especially when you consider that cars such as the Mazda CX-5 2.2 diesel achieve up to 54.3mpg.
The engine in the Antera will disappoint some buyers. It’s not especially efficient, nor is it great for the environment, but its pulling power and ability to tow caravans should make it a solid option for pleasure-seekers.
Untested by NCAP, but decent standard safety kit
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to judge the Antara when it comes to safety, as it hasn’t been tested by NCAP. The Antara is based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Captiva however, and thankfully that has. With a 4-star rating, the Captiva falls short of most modern rivals, and it’s likely that the Antara would achieve similar results. You will get plenty of safety kit as standard to put your mind at rest though, with six airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, hill descent control, and hill-start assist all featuring, even on the most basic models.
Value for money
Decent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Vauxhall Antara represents decent value for money for family buyers, but it’s not as cheap to run as a lot of its rivals. Fuel efficiency is acceptable, though you’ll get better day-to-day value out of a Mazda CX-5 or a Ford Kuga. High emissions also mean that the Antara is expensive to tax each year, which is disappointing, especially when you consider that the latest raft of SUVs can achieve similar figures to some small hatchbacks. The Antara is cheaper to buy than some of its rivals though, especially if you go for a used example.
Insurance groups for the Antera are also higher than in a lot of rivals. No matter which Antera you go for, it’ll be in group 25. When you compare it to cars such as the Kia Sportage (which starts in group 10), and the Ford Kuga (which starts in group 15), the Antara looks expensive. On the plus side, if you want to go for the high-spec Antara Diamond, you won’t pay any more than you would for a more basic model.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Antara, but is mainly of concern if you’re buying a new one. First year depreciation is a big consideration with any model, but it’s particularly the case with the Antara. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Vauxhall Antara is not the finest car in its class, but it still has elements that will make it attractive to a lot of buyers. It’s spacious interior, solid build quality, and generous standard kit make it a great family car. It’s not the best on the road however, and it’s quite expensive to run, especially compared to its more modern, greener, efficient rivals. Despite this, it’s easy to drive around town, and its rugged looks and high driving position is what SUVs are all about.
Buying a used Vauxhall Antara online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Vauxhall Antara for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Antara. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Vauxhall Antara online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Antara? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Antara, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Vauxhall Antara, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Vauxhall to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.