Vauxhall Antara SUV (2007-2015) - Interior & comfort
The Vauxhall Antara 2.2-litre CDTi in Exclusiv trim, costing around £21,000 before dealer discount, is our pick
The Vauxhall Antara lacks the visual and dynamic sophistication of its more successful rivals. However, it's at least more exciting-looking inside than the dull Volkswagen Tiguan. The Vauxhall's engines are noisy and its motorway ride is a little too firm, so it's not a good long-distance cruiser.
Neither is it very impressive on twisty roads, where the soft suspension allows it to lean a little too much in corners. It should be quite comfortable around town as a consequence, but that soft suspension means the car also bounces around on uneven roads.
Three trim levels bring increasing amounts of equipment, but the basic Exclusiv model should be adequate for most buyers. The options list isn't that extensive, but it does include a DAB digital radio for £195.
Vauxhall Antara dashboard
The Antara's lofty driving position will suit buyers who like that king-of-the-road feeling you get with an SUV. Yet despite the raised view out, it's hard to judge where the steeply sloping bonnet ends. Between you and that bonnet, of course, is the dashboard. It features a graphic display (the top-spec SE Nav has a multimedia stereo unit), while the leather-covered steering wheel has remote controls for the stereo.
The SE Nav model features a secondary sat-nav display lower down in the centre console, too. It all looks smart enough, but seems a little dated now when compared to the freshest designs from Toyota, Mazda and Nissan.
What the Antara lacks in dynamic ability and efficiency, it makes up for with a very generous standard equipment list. In addition to items already quoted, basic Exclusiv trim features automatic self-levelling suspension, silver-effect roof rails, power-adjustable heated door mirrors and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
In fact, a 159bhp 2.2-litre CDTi manual Antara Exclusiv, costing around £21,000 before dealer discount, is our pick of the range. If you must have four-wheel drive, Exclusiv gets better still, with larger 18-inch alloys, parking distance sensors and cruise control.
Diamond trim puts the accent on luxury, with leather seat facings and a power-adjustable driver's seat. SE Nav brings sat nav and a host of technical features, as well as more practical ones including a fold-flat front passenger seat. It's expensive, however, with the list price of a 179bhp 2.2-litre CDTi Antara SE Nav 4x4 automatic approaching £29,000.
That's around the same price as the equivalent Mazda CX-5, which will hold its value much better on the used market.
Fortunately, it's not really possible to spend a small fortune upgrading your Exclusiv to Diamond specification, only to lose it all come resale time. Instead, options are confined to practical things such as roof boxes and a very handy pull-out bicycle carrier called FlexFix that stows away in the rear bumper when not needed. On the multimedia side of things, options include DAB digital radio and various sat-nav and touchscreen systems.