From £18,444
Usefully improved, with new diesel unit, a 2WD model — and many refinements. It needed them

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Antara

A midlife revamp improved the Vauxhall Antara crossover, but poor residuals make it a far better used buy

  • First Drive

    Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTI

    Usefully improved, with new diesel unit, a 2WD model — and many refinements. It needed them
  • First Drive

    Vauxhall Antara 2.4i E

    Good-looking, and far more agile on-road than a Frontera, but avoid the petrol version.
Richard Bremner Autocar
9 February 2011

What is it?

It’s still modestly handsome, the Antara SUV, but it’s far from Vauxhall’s most polished product and last year sales fell spectacularly from a not-that-high 1421 in 2009 to a decidedly poor 380 in 2010.

Vauxhall says this 73 per cent tumble came about because it deliberately stopped promoting the car in anticipation of these upgrades, but it’s also because it knew the original edition wasn’t up to snuff, figuring that a proper sales push would be more effective with a reworked Antara.

The makeover has been fairly extensive, even if the car looks pretty much the same as it did before, the chief identifier being a new grille.

Besides a pair of all-new diesels, the chassis, NVH and interior have all been reworked in a bid to civilise the Antara – and there’s now an entry-level front-wheel-drive version costing £19,995. The 2.2 CDTi diesel engines come with either 161 or 182bhp, the lesser model serving 258lb ft to the 295lb ft of the more potent edition, both peaks arriving at 2000rpm. So there’s plenty of torque underfoot, channelled to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The petrol option is no more.

See the test pics of the new Vauxhall Antara in action

What’s it like?

Chassis changes involved extensive retuning to reduce roll, sharpen steering precision and improve the ride, hardware highlights including new MacPherson strut top bushes, a stiffer front anti-roll bar and hydraulically damped trailing arms for the multi-link rear suspension.

The steering gear is more rigid, while the NVH improvements run to hydraulic engine mountings, additional lamination of the windscreen and attention to everything from the front body frame to the door seals, the air intake and more. Read the list in full and it’s easy to conclude that GM was less than happy with the manners of the original Antara.

That the interior gets an electronic parking brake, more storage space, upgraded seats, new door trims, classier instruments and improved lighting suggests that it wasn’t completely happy with what was in the cabin, either.

For the most part, this detail attention has been effective, as are the new diesels. The Antara certainly isn’t the best compact SUV in the class, but it isn’t the most expensive either – particularly as a front-driver, in which form it’s brisk enough to break 62mph in 9.9sec.

A shame, then, that the manual gearchange is obstructive (it’ll improve, says Vauxhall) and the central storage box forces you to crank your arm oddly when going for second in the left-hookers we tried. In right-hookers it will be sixth, if not fourth too. More relaxing (if rather more money) is the 4x4 auto. It’s well matched to the engine and allows the Antara to advance with soothing authority, especially as it now handles rather tidily, both in two and four-wheel drive formats.

As promised, it rolls less and steers with greater precision, grips pretty well and resists understeer, the net result being a high-riding estate that handles quite engagingly for one of its type, if with a firm ride.

The interior? It’s mostly better, but it tries too hard to hide its cheapness; bolt-heads at the bottom of the centre console cubby are evidence. In addition, the electronic handbrake is too fiddly, the centre stack dated and the optional sat-nav system obtuse.

Should I buy one?

Truth is that though a better car and worth considering at its base price, this is really a Chevrolet Captiva and not worthy of the standards set by the latest European-engineered Vauxhalls – nor the best of the opposition.

Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTi

Price: £19,995; Top speed: 117mph; 0-62mph: 9.9sec; Economy: 44.8mpg; CO2: 167g/km; Kerb weight: 1885kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 2231cc, turbodiesel; Power: 161bhp at 3800rpm; Torque: 146lb ft at 4200rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

See all the latest Vauxhall reviews, news and video

Join the debate


10 February 2011

I am torn by this car. In isolation, this is a good looking, reasonable driving soft roader. Consider its price and the fact its a Vauxhall, I just don't think this car good enough. Then if you factor in the price and its Chevy cousin........

I can't imagine anyone in the Vauxhall or Opel head office is pleased to be selling this.



It's all about the twisties........

11 February 2011

Without a doubt the new version looks a lot better than the old one lets hope the 2.2cdti 16v 163bhp engine is better than the old 2.0cdti 150bhp unit. i am a Vauxhall fan but i'm afraid to say the Kuga looks a better car :(

11 February 2011

So that's why I've hardly seen any of these on the road, Vauxhall made a decision not to promote them. They must have made that decision pretty soon after it was launched...

12 February 2011

Very odd - and unfortunate. First, we have a manufacturer that decides to produce a second rate vehicle. Second, the manufacturer apparently decides not to promote the vehicle, in tacit acknowledgement of its sub-standard quality - and, also, presumably to avoid embarrassment. This is the 21st century. This sort of carry-on is dismal and, frankly, insulting to consumers. How about the 300+ people who purchased one last year and the 1,000+ who purchased one the year before. How do they feel now? How would you feel after reading the article above? If I was one of them, I'd be wishing that I'd held on to my money and caught the bus. At least there is dignity in riding a bus. Engelbert

12 February 2011

[quote Autocar]sales fell spectacularly from a not-that-high 1421 in 2009 to a decidedly poor 380 in 2010[/quote]

I had no idea that Antara sales were that low. There may have been little or no promotion, but in an expanding sector (the 'compact SUV' class) those are woeful figures. Makes you wonder why Vauxhall didn't just quietly drop it from the range. The new model will have to sell a few thousand, surely, to make its UK re-launch and promotion worthwhile? Is that at all feasible this year? I've no idea...

12 February 2011

Renault took the hint and dropped the Koleos, Vauxhall should do the same.

20 February 2011

I never actually realised Renault stopped selling the Koleos, it would be interesting to see the sales figures for this car! But yeah i agree if this facelift does nothing for sales Vauxhall should just quietly drop it out of the range! but then Vauxhall have a history of carrying on with slow selling models anyone remember the Vauxhall Sintra.

5 August 2011

Just bought an Antara 2.2 CDTI SE auto in July 2011, but have issues with Vauxhall customer services. The car should have day running lights and front door lights which are not working. Nobody since the picking the car up has answered my questions. It is shame as the car is nice to drive and for the money is a good alternative to the sportage or IX35.

16 September 2014
I have an 2013 Antara, an se nav 184 4x4, it's simply the worst car I have ever owned and the customer service is even worse. Every dealer throughout the country has the same fob you off excuses word for word. As of today I have been to four different dealers in four different counties of England.

One of the faults was a complete lack of power steering forcing my wife to mount the pavement nearly killing four children! The cause? No power steering fluid, one month after a dealer service. With no evidence of a leak any where in the system, why was there no fluid? Vauxhall dealer wasn't interested.

List of faults are...

Climate control not working properly causing massive and instant window misting, dangerous on a motorway.

No power steering because there was no fluid.

Four brand new shocks at one year old.

Terrible clutch and gear change.

Awful drive chain noises, whining, rumbling. Vauxhall say they all do that!

A connector 'fell' off of an injector, I say fell off because Vauxhall say that can happen. I can't even pull them off!!

I bought a car with auto lights...they're simply on all the time so I have two on switches for the lights.

I bought a car with DRL's, it has none, Vauxhall say the headlights are DRL's.

The DPF is an environmental disaster.

It uses more fuel than an oil tanker, mostly due to the DPF!

Wind noise through the drivers door is deafening, Vauxhall still can't fix it.

The sat nav was over three years out of date at time of delivery, Vauxhall want £129 to update a system that is brand new!

The sat nav is next to useless always taking you the long way no matter what the settings are set at.

It is noisy and bumpy and damn right uncomfortable.

Pay for a factory fit tow bar and the dealer fits it, or rather gets a mobile tow bar fitter in to do it that I could have got to do it at half the price. AND the wire to run the fridge and charge the battery on a caravan isn't connected, the dealer wanted another £345 to fit one wire even though they knew I towed a caravan, why else would I want a 13 pin socket fitted!!

Every day there is a different noise, knock, rattle or vibration. It plays more tunes than Cliff Richard!

The hand brake doesn't always engage which is very dangerous, the dealer says" they all do that" so it must be okay!!!

There are more faults, so many I cannot remember them all. I've got a new car on order at great expense to me, funnily enough it isn't, and never will be a Vauxhall. Vauxhall need to sort out their reliability issues, it isn't just the Antara that breaks down) and they seriously need to give their dealers lessons in customer service. Awful company to deal with and the lifetime warranty isn't worth the paper it is written on if and when the dealer lies about the cause of the fault, guarantee it'll be the owners fault costing thousands of pounds to rectify!


I have used paragraphs but it seems Autocar's website won't allow them and bunches up the writting!!!

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