Used Vauxhall Antara
In the 1990s Vauxhall attempted to get a foothold in the 4X4 market with the Frontera. This car didn't sell as well as hoped, but in the mid-2000s, with 4X4's becoming one of the fastest growing car markets every manufacturer was desperate to get a piece of the pie.
Enter the Antara in 2007 and again Vauxhall didn't quite have the success they had hoped for, teaming up with Chevrolet to design and produce it. Whilst the Antara is a decent all round family car on the road, it isn't the most capable off-roader. Fortunately (and bizarrely) a 4X4 ability off road isn't the best test of its success, but in a market flooded by every car-makers attempt at an off road vehicle it just didn't stand out enough to be hugely successful.
Bang for your buck
At just over 4.5 meters long this is a big car. One of the things that let it down however was a lack of a 7 seat option that its sister car, the Chevrolet Captiva did have. Nevertheless it is a spacious car inside and despite being longer than the 7 seater Zafira it comes with sleek styling that manages to hide this extra bulk. There is also loads of room for luggage and over 1400 litres of space with the seats dropped flat.
As it's a Vauxhall you know you probably aren't going to be turning many heads and the interior is just like all their other cars available around the same time. Unlike other Vauxhalls though chances are if you pick one up you won't have to worry too much about more than one person on your street owning one.
There are two engines options for the approved used Vauxhall Antara, one you will want to look for and one you will probably want to avoid. The 2.4 litre petrol engine was phased out by 2010 as it was a thirsty and noisy beast and also was only available in the basic trim. The more popular 2.0 litre diesel originally had 3 trim choices, though this was simplified to 2 in later models. It also came with automatic transmission for those who wanted it.
What you'll pay
If you are on a budget then the 2.4 litre petrol used Vauxhall Antara is the cheapest on the market. An older diesel however will set you back around £8500 and up, with new models nearing up to £13,000
What to check
Like most Vauxhalls the Antara is a reliable and sturdy car. The parts used and engines are well tested so there isn't any huge faults for you to look out for. Just make sure you are not buying from an off-roading enthusiast. If they greet you on their drive in camo gear then make sure you have a good look around at the underside of the car and the alloy wheels for signs of heavy ware/scratches/abrasions. Whilst a capable car the Antara will not stand up to the kind of heavy abuse some people put their 4X4's through.
Picking up parts for the Antara isn't going to give you a heart attack. Like most Vauxhalls they are cheap to replace, with things like spark plugs and air filters setting you back around £5 and £11 for example. A new cam belt should only cost you around £60.
How it drives
Like many of the other 4X4 on the road today it just doesn't hold up to the likes of Land Rover and Jeep when you hit the mud. When driving it will mostly stay in front wheel drive mode, with the electromagnetically operated hydraulic clutch kicking in when it gets slippery or icy and sending power to the back wheels as well. As long as you stick to the road the Antara will treat you well.
This is not to say it isn't a solid car. With loads of space and good handling the Vauxhall Antara for sale makes a great family car. If you do go for the petrol engine then you will find it a bit slow, noisy and thirsty, with the car struggling to make even 29 mpg. Not the greatest consumption around, considering the price of fuel these days.
The diesel however is a much better option and will get you to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds and then go onto a top speed of 112 mph. It does get noisy as well if you push it too hard, but treat the Antara well and you can expect to reach a much healthier fuel consumption of around 37 mpg.