Vauxhall Antara review

Our Rating: 
2012 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Although dated, the Vauxhall Antara still represents a lot of car for the money

Rugged looks, competitive price, lots of standard equipment
Cheap interior plastics, high running costs, limited choice

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Despite having macho looks and a reasonable price tag, the Vauxhall Antara has struggled to make a significant impact on the increasingly competitive UK SUV market.

In 2012, Vauxhall gave the Antara a facelift, added a new engine to the range and updated the interior. However, a reputation for poor reliability means the Antara has been overshadowed by more competitive rivals such as the Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota RAV-4 and Hyundai Santa Fe.

There are only three trim levels in the Vauxhall Antara range, Exclusiv, Diamond and SE Nav. The only petrol engine available is an elderly 2.4-litre unit, which is exclusive to the Exclusiv trim. The rest of the Antara range is powered by the more satisfactory 2.2-litre CDTi diesel unit.

Across the range, the Vauxhall Antara is available with two or four-wheel-drive, and all models benefit from decent hill decent control. 

Our choice: 2.2 CDTi (163) Exclusiv AWD

Engines, performance and drive


Behind the wheel of the Vauxhall Antara, it's easy to get comfortable thanks to the diverse and adjustable driver's seat. What's more, the high driving position also gives you a great view out.

There are two engines available in the Vauxhall Antara range. The first is a 2.4-litre 16-valve petrol, which produces 165bhp, while the second is a 2.2-litre CDTi which is available with either 161bhp or 182bhp.

The front-wheel-drive versions of the Vauxhall Antara come with a six-speed manual gearbox, while 4x4 models are also available with a six-speed automatic system.

In terms of driving, the Antara offers precise steering and good body control. However, it simply can't match the Ford Kuga or Volkswagen Tiguan in terms of driver enjoyment. 

MPG, CO2 and running costs


While the Vauxhall Antara is cheap to buy and packed full of standard equipment, its major downside is the thirst. It's expensive to run, and even when fitted with start-stop technology, it's pretty dirty when compared to its rivals.

The 2.4-litre petrol does 32.1mpg and emits 206g/km of CO2 - the 2.2-litre CDTi is hardly better. The 182bhp car will achieve 42.2mpg and emit 177g/km, while the 161bhp unit achieves 44.1 mpg with 167g/km of CO2.

Best 4x4s to buy now

What's astonishing though, is when fitted with the automatic gearbox and 4x4 transmission, the Vauxhall Antara manages a poor 35.2mpg and emits an equally abysmal 225g/km of CO2 - to put it into perspective, this is only 50g/km less than a Ferrari 458.

To add insult to injury, residual values are poor, and our experts predict that the Vauxhall Antara will struggle to return 40 per cent of its value after three years.

Interior, design and technology


Unlike the unimaginative exterior of the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Vauxhall Antara has striking looks, but you'd be hard pressed to call it pretty.

When it facelifted the car in 2012, Vauxhall brought the Antara slightly more up to date with the manufacturer's new corporate grille and large Griffin logo, so its face fits in with the rest of the Vauxhall range. 

Interior space has also been improved, and the latest Vauxhall Antara has lots of extra storage space compared to the pre-facelift model. The standard of the interior and the instruments have also improved, so it's certainly a step-up over the previous generation car. Sadly though, the quality isn't there compared to its rivals.

Air conditioning, heated front seats, front fog lights and tinted windows come as standard across the Vauxhall Antara range, as does Bluetooth connectivity. Exclusiv and Diamond models get 17-inch alloys, while SE Nav cars benefit from 19-inch ones. SE Nav cars also benefit from Xenon headlamps, a sat-nav (unsurprisingly), rain sensitive wipers and electronic climate control. 

Practicality, comfort and boot space


Where the Antara lags behind its rivals in most other departments, it won't come as a surprise that it also trails them in the practicality stakes.

The boot of the Antara has a capacity of 420 litres, which expand to 1,420 litres when the rear seats are folded. Like the rest of the car, it isn't bad, but it lags behind rivals such as the Toyota RAV-4 and Hyundai Santa Fe which are a lot more practical.

Vauxhall Antara CDTi SE Auto dashboard

Still, the Vauxhall Antara comes with a large tailgate, which has a low loading lip - so putting large items of luggage in isn't a problem at all. Plus, SE Nav models come with a folding front passenger seat as standard, so you can carry even larger items. 

The interior of the Vauxhall Antara is pretty spacious and there's plenty of headroom and legroom in the back. As well as a foldout armrest, you'll find useful storage cubbies and lidded compartments, too.

Reliability and Safety


The Vauxhall Antara has yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, but all versions come with lots of safety equipment, which includes front, side and curtain airbags.

There are also a whole host of driver aids which include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, hill start assistant and adaptive brake lights which flash rapidly during an emergency stop.

As a manufacturer, Vauxhall didn't rank in the top 33 manufacturers of our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, and the Antara didn't feature in our top 150 cars, either. 

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Highly underrated by everyone except those that own them. An excellent car worth looking at with an open mind and you might be surprised

bought an 2009 Antara last September. It had been serviced by Vauxhall for the first 2 services but they hadn't filled in the anti perforation inspection part of the service book. I went to a local Vauxhall dealer today and was told that even though they had broke their own rules they wouldn't even consider repairing it. This means that if you own a Vauxhall car they can invalidate their warranty and you are left with sub standard car that will rust and they just don't care as they already have your money. I am going to trading standards with this to see how it can be that I have less than 4 year old car that is in this state. The rust is starting to come along the top of the chrome strip that is on the tailgate with the name and model on it. This is my first and will be my last Vauxhall. Has anyone else had the same problem?

I bought my antara in December 2012 and for an SUV for £20k I must admit it not bad, yes you could buy a landrover for £35k+ and say the antara doesnt live upto its rivals but it is more than 35% cheaper. I get fuel economy of around 39.5mpg with the 2.2l front wheel drive. The interior is spacious, and sturdy looking and very comfortable, if your looking for a SUV for a price of a family saloon, you can't go wrong with an Antata.

Last updated: 14 Jul, 2014