2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
Opel took a long time to present a successor to the successful Frontera. In the test, however, the diesel revealed some weaknesses, as Stefan Zaumseil found.
The steadily increasing number of off-road vehicles and SUVs registered in spite of stricter emissions regulations have prompted Opel to resume old, well-loved habits. And so that the relapse is not too expensive, the Opel Antara was developed together with the Chevrolet Captiva. The bar is high - after all, its predecessor, Frontera, was the best-selling off-road vehicle at the beginning of its career. Its exterior is like a cocktail, a colorful mixture of design elements. The knobbly nose is similar to the new M-Class, the diagonal bar in the hood of a Volvo XC90 and the waistline rising towards the rear resembles that of the BMW X3. Thanks to the radiator grille in corporate look, the Antara is immediately identifiable as an Opel - with underride protection, large plastic side strips and long legs as an SUV.
At least 4.57 meters long and 1.85 meters wide, the Rüsselsheim-based Korean promises generous space inside and does not disappoint. Especially in the rear seats, tall people can look forward to knee and headroom, at least on the outer seats. However, the thigh support is too short, the lateral support is a bit poor and you have problems finding a comfortable sitting position.
The trunk volume of 370 liters is rather SUV-untypically small and is still below that of the Opel Astra. The 1420 liters of luggage space with the rear seats folded down are also below average, but the loading sill is uncomfortably high at 78.4 centimeters.
Not always comfortable
In the first row you don't sit well with every body size either, the seats are comfortable and offer good long-distance comfort due to their rather firm upholstery. The space and the feeling of space are generous - just like at the rear. Despite a wide range of adjustment options, it is difficult to find an optimal seating position for the driver because tall people in particular get knee contact with the center console too quickly.
On the one hand, this may be due to the seats that are too high and, on the other hand, the lack of footwell length. Unfortunately, the storage options are not too generous - apart from the usual door shelves and seat pockets, there is no other shelf, especially there are no cup holders in the front and rear of the center console.
Processing leaves a lot to be desired
The dashboard of the SUV from the Rüsselsheim-based company also follows the corporate design and not only looks a bit more playful, but also significantly higher quality than that of its brother Captiva. The typical round air inlets with chrome surrounds are not missing, as are the aluminum applications in the steering wheel. The cockpit with the all too sparse round instruments is clear and easy to read. All the controls in the center console, dashboard and steering wheel are where you would expect them to be, well structured and easy to use.
As in Astra and Co., the switch for the cruise control in the turn signal lever is very stiff and leads to unmotivated flashing actions. This is particularly due to the quality of workmanship, which is generally poor, because despite the pleasant feel of the materials, many gaps are noticeably outside the norm. And for chirping and rattling noises - albeit quietly - you don't even have to drive on bad roads; just starting the diesel engine is sometimes enough.
Engine often overwhelmed
The 2.0 CDTi from VM develops 150 PS (110 kW) at 4000 tours, the maximum torque of 295 Nm is already available at 2000 rpm. While the engine in the Astra impresses with its subtle running noises and good driving performance, it is far removed from both attributes in the Opel Antara. Always acoustically present, the common-rail turbodiesel shows that it is often overwhelmed with the 1.8 tonne weight of the off-roader. Tough twelve seconds pass in the «sprint» to 100 km / h and the top speed is already reached at 174 kilometers per hour.
The chassis is tightly tuned, but the side inclination is noticeably large and rough transverse joints are clearly noticeable. The drive, which acts as a front-wheel drive car on normally grippy roads, takes fast corners with noticeable drive force in the steering wheel. Thanks to the rear-wheel drive, which can be steplessly switched on via a multi-plate clutch, handling is unproblematic despite significant understeer. The fact that the chassis of the Antara rumbles loudly at every opportunity - for example manhole covers - is uncomfortable.
The transition from the country road to dirt roads is then, as expected, loud and uncomfortable. In addition to the class-typical ground clearance of 200 millimeters, there is also a descent control system on board, which is intended to facilitate the passage of slippery mountain paths. As is typical for SUVs, you should refrain from driving off-road - however, it is definitely enough to pull the horse trailer from the paddock. Last but not least, the test consumption in the third mix was by far the most unpleasant surprise: 12.3 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers is far too much for an SUV of this size and in no way corresponds to the required performance.
At 29,660 euros, the Opel Antara 2.0 CDTi costs around 300 euros more than its Korean counterpart and is similarly equipped: all-round airbags, ABS, ESP, automatic level control, fog lights and ISOFIX child seat attachments as well as air conditioning, window lifters and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors are standard. Xenon headlights are nominally available for an extra charge of 1700 euros, but only in the "Cosmo" equipment line, which costs over 5000 euros more - but is equipped with additional details such as an electrically adjustable driver's seat and rain sensor.
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