Good-looking, and far more agile on-road than a Frontera, but avoid the petrol version.

What is it?

This is the 2.4-litre petrol version of Vauxhall's new soft-roader, the Antara. Vauxhall isn't planning to sell many; the petrol Antara is only available in bottom-of-the-line 'E' trim, and it's expected only to make up around 5 per cent of sales, which is no more than a few hundred cars a year. It's also the only Antarar that comes in at under £20,000.

What's it like?

It looks pretty sharp, and is certainly more stylish than the old Frontera. Despite being the sister car to the new Chevrolet Captiva, the only panel they share is the windscreen. The Vauxhall is also only a five-seater.

The cabin is far classier than the Captiva's, even in base trim.

Most of the time, the Antara is front-drive, but an electro-hydraulic differential can divert up to 50 per cent of the power to the back wheels as necessary.

Is this really a petrol? It sounds decidedly rough. Only looking at the rev counter, and its higher-than-the-diesel redline, confirms that this car runs on petrol.

So you’d think that at least with a petrol you’d get more power than the diesel. But you’d be wrong. With 138bhp, this 2.4 petrol has 10bhp less than the 2.0 diesel, as well as 74lb ft less torque.

The five-speed manual gearbox is also notchy and unpleasant, and the steering feels very vague (though it is accurate enough once you’re used to it).

At least the ride is good. It's comfortable, and the body is kept pretty well in check. The Antara is an effective mile-coverer.

Should I buy one?

Not this one. The Antara's a nice package, but only if you go for the diesel, which is more refined, more fugal and emits less CO2. It's well worth the extra £1100.

Rory Lumsdon

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