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Launched at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show and with sales commencing the following year, the Antara is a five-door compact crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) produced by German manufacturer Opel under the Vauxhall marque in the UK. Replacing the outgoing Frontera in Vauxhall's model line-up, the Antara was based upon and shares the same underpinnings with the Chevrolet Captiva. The Antara underwent just a single generation of production, with a mid-production facelift in 2012 making subtle changes to the styling and engines on offer. The now discontinued Antara offers a great value for money alternative to models such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Rav-4.
The Antara is available across the range in two-wheel or four-wheel drive, and a choice of two engines. The sole petrol engine is a 164bhp 2.4-litre 16-valve unit, while the 2.2-litre turbocharged CDTi diesel is available in power outputs of 161bhp or 182bhp. Engines are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox in front-wheel drive models, while 4X4 versions have the option of smooth six-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 updates in the Antara saw improvements made to the chassis, gearbox and engines, and the adoption of stop/start technology means that later Antara models have seen enhancements in fuel economy figures across the board.
The Antara offers excellent value for money, and the generous levels of standard equipment included across the range is arguably its best attribute. The trim levels to choose from are Exclusiv, Diamond and SE Nav, the former of which replaced the old 'S' trim after the 2012 facelift. Some differences in equipment occur between front-wheel and four-wheel drive options, but generally basic Exclusiv trim models are fantastically equipped with air-conditioning, all-round electric windows, USB connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels, Hill Start Assist, Bluetooth, rear privacy glass, electric parking brake, heated front seats, roof rails and front fog lights as standard. The generous 420-litre boot capacity further adds to the family practicality of the Antara.
The Vauxhall Antara offers great levels of standard equipment for such a competitively priced SUV. More exciting and up-to-date models are on the market, but the Antara still offers all-round family practicality and reliability.