Vauxhall Antara (2006-2016) Review
Disastrous as a new car purchase, the Vauxhall Antara makes much more sense as a bargain used car
Strengths & weaknesses
- Cheap as a used buy
- Well equipped
- Strong engine for towing
- Poor reliability
- Feels heavy and bouncy
- Expensive to run
As a used car, the Vauxhall Antara has very strong selling point: its price. Although some models cost around £30,000 when new, they plummeted in value as soon as their first owners got behind the wheel.
You can no longer buy a brand new Antara, but it is is one of the most affordable second-hand cars of its type, although - as you might imagine - the downside is that it does have its weaknesses.
The Antara is a sport-utility vehicle (SUV), designed from the ground up as a heavy-duty off-road car, with a high driving position, plenty of interior space and the option of four-wheel drive, which costs little extra on used models.
This helps to make it more capable of driving on rough and craggy ground than many of the Antara’s rivals. But on tarmac the combination of its heft and height makes the car bounce over bumps and lean heavily in corners. Its ponderous to steer and the diesel engine is noisy too.
It’s a world away from more modern alternatives such as the Mazda CX-5, Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai. These are crossovers, which use the mechanical parts from smaller family cars to create a vehicle with a higher driving position. They might not be as capable in tough off-road conditions but their features make them more stable, comfortable and car-like to drive than an Antara.
Inside, the Antara is more appealing, with plenty of passenger space including generous storage compartments. There’s plenty of standard equipment thrown in for your money - no matter which trim level you choose - although you’ll wonder what possessed the car’s designers to put the optional sat-nav screen next to the driver’s knee.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine - the only option - might be loud, but has plenty of power for towing.
Unlike the Kia Sorento or Nissan X-Trail, there’s was no seven-seat option and practicality is reduced slightly because of the awkwardly-shaped boot with big raised sides that reduce your loading area. Reliability is also a wory: owners frequent report electrical problems.
It’s no surprise that the Antara, which was first launched on 2006, is less efficient and less polished than its more modern competition, but if you’re looking for a cut-price big SUV, then it might just fit the bill - especially if you opt for one with four-wheel drive.
|Warranty when new||Three years/36,000 miles|
|Boot size||420 litres|
|Tax (min to max)||£205 to £225|
Best Vauxhall Antara for...
Best for Economy – Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTi Exclusiv 5dr [2WD] [Start Stop]
‘Best’ is very much a relative term here, as 44mpg is pretty poor fuel economy for a diesel engine these days. This is the only engine choice in the Antara range, though.
Best for Families – Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTi Diamond 5dr [2WD] [Start Stop]
Diamond specification makes the interior of the Antara a slightly nicer place to be, thanks to the addition of leather seat facings and a driver's seat that has more adjustment.
Best for Performance – Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTi SE Nav 5dr [Start Stop]
Every Vauxhall Antara has the same engine, so there’s no difference in performance between the various models. The 9.9-second 0-62mph time is swift enough, though, and this SE Nav version has four-wheel drive, which will help it accelerate with more grip in slippery conditions.
- October 2006 Vauxhall Antara goes on sale in UK
- February 2010 Recall of 4,000 Jun ’06 - Dec ’07 Antaras for possible steering problem
- February 2011 Updated Antara goes on sale with more powerful and efficient engine, plus improved quality interior.
- September 2012: Recall of 4,400 Antaras for a possible braking problem
- July 2015: Recall of 2,800 Mar ’06 - Jul ’11 manual Antaras for ignition problem
- August 2015: Recall of 22k Nov ’10 - May ’15 Antaras for potential fire risk
Understanding Vauxhall Antara names
Engine 2.2 CDTi
There's only one engine available with the Antara: it's 2.2-litres in size and the letters CDTi indicate that it's a diesel.
The trim levels dictated the amount of standard equipment included in each brand new Antara. The cheapest was Exclusiv, followed by the slightly plusher Diamond and range-topping SE Nav, which also had four-wheel drive.
Driven wheels 4x4
Antaras with four-wheel drive may be labelled 4x4, AWD or 4WD.
Vauxhall Antara Engines
Diesel: 2.2 CDTi
The Antara’s 2.2-litre CDTi diesel engine is now badly out of date compared to the competition – particularly in terms of fuel economy and CO2 emissions. In the front-wheel-drive Exclusiv and Diamond versions, it’ll return 44.1mpg, while in the four-wheel drive SE Nav, that figure drops to 42.2mpg. Car tax is £205 and £225 respectively.
Performance is the same no matter what model you get, with acceleration from 0-62mph taking just under 10 seconds and a top speed of 117mph.
The other area where the Antara can just about hold its own is towing capacity – it outstrips the Mazda CX-5 in this regard and will still do a good job pulling a large caravan or horsebox. But otherwise, the car’s hefty weight, poor handling and significant level of engine noise on the move will leave most drivers dissatisfied.
42.2 - 44.1mpg
Vauxhall Antara Trims
Exclusiv, Diamond, SE Nav
When new, there were substantial differences between the prices of Antaras with different trim levels, which have different levels of equipment as standard.
As used cars, though, you can get a top-specification Antara for little more than the cheapest version, called Exclusiv.
Exclusiv cars have air-conditioning, heated front seats, a three-spoke leather steering wheel, front foglights, dark-tinted glass, self-levelling suspension (useful for towing), power-adjustable heated door mirrors, Bluetooth phone connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels and a central rear armrest.
The Diamond model makes two relatively minor additions in the form of leather seat facings and a more widely adjustable driver’s seat. The latter can really help with finding the most comfortable driving position, particularly if you have a bad back.
SE Nav adds dual-zone climate control, so both front occupants can select the temperature for their half of the car, automatic lights, rain-sensing wipers, a fold-flat front passenger seat (to help with fitting very long items in the car), bright xenon headlights and larger 19in alloy wheels. As the name suggests, it’s also fitted with sat-nav: one of the more unusual features of the car, because the screen is fitted close to the driver’s knee, making it impossible to look at without taking your eyes off the road.
Vauxhall Antara Reliability and warranty
If there was a car you'd want an extended warranty on, then it would be the Vauxhall Antara. Below the interior, its mechanical parts generally seem to work well, but inside, owners report rattles and eletrical problems with gadgets. It was ranked just 140 out of 150 cars in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power survey.
Used Vauxhall Antara
Because the Vauxhall Antara falls short of the standard of rival cars, it loses value quickly, making it a cheap second-hand purchase.
Low-mileage Antaras are available for around £10,000 with four-wheel drive, so if you're looking for a large and capable car with plenty of equipment, then it could fit the bill without breaking the bank. It will cost more to run - largely due to fuel costs - than more modern alternatives.
There have been four recalls of the Vauxhall Antara over the years (details in the History section above), so make sure any used example you’re looking at has had the necessary work done if it was one of the cars affected.
Prices below show typical BuyaCar discounts for our pick of used models. Search for all Vauxhall Antara offers.
|2 years old||3 years old|
|Best for performance Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTi SE Nav||£11,995||£10,500|
|Best for families Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTi Diamond||£11,000||£10,500|
|Best for economy Vauxhall Antara 2.2 CDTi Exclusiv||£11,000||£9,000|