With its agile handling, precise speed-dependant power steering and stiff chassis, the Antara is clearly designed as a dynamic on-road vehicle with off-road abilities.
The McPherson suspension in front and a four-link suspension in the rear provide a high-quality chassis concept similar to that of the acclaimed Vauxhall Vectra and Signum models.
The front struts are mounted on a highly rigid subframe which guarantees precise wheel alignment and also compensates for lateral loads.
The compact four-link rear axle utilises three transverse and one longitudinal link to locate the rear wheels. This independent set-up makes it possible to optimise rear wheel camber and, compared the more traditional beam axle at the rear, the result is a more controlled ride.
All diesel-engined Antaras also feature a self-levelling device. Instead of the conventional shock absorbers, a regulating system with a pump integrated in the shock absorbers, reservoir, sensor, control mechanism and damper is fitted at both rear wheels and automatically adapts the Antara to loads and trailers.
Buyers who plump for factory-fit towing pack will also discover that Antara will cleverly recognise when a trailer is plugged in and automatically calibrate the ESP system to compensate. A yaw-rate sensor immediately detects any yawing tendencies in the car-trailer combination and automatically stabilises it again with brake intervention or by closing the throttle.
The Antara E comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels (with 235/60 R17 tyres) and the top S and SE Antara variants have 18-inch alloys (with 235/55 R18s). A Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is standard on the SE and monitors via sensors at each valve and activates a warning signal in the info display when more than 0.3 bar is lost.
The Antara’s intelligent active four-wheel drive system combines the benefits of front-wheel drive - such as low fuel consumption and easy maneuvering - with those of four-wheel drive. Under normal conditions, the Antara is a pure front-wheel drive car. However, power can be quickly and seamlessly distributed between the front and rear axle at a ratio of up to 50:50 when needed. The key element for this function is an electronically controlled, electro-magnetically operated, electro-hydraulic differential on the rear axle. The compact and light four-wheel drive system is fully integrated in the ABS and ESP systems and supports the driver effectively in all driving situations, such as during heavy acceleration.
The braking system comprises large, ventilated disc brakes and a modern four-channel ABS. The ABS hydraulics also takes over the brake assist function if emergency braking occurs (Hydraulic Brake Assist, HBA). The modern ESP system boasts numerous additional functions that further increase active safety, including Descent Control System (DCS), a standard feature in all Antaras. DCS allows the vehicle to safely maintain a constant speed even down steep inclines without the driver needing to brake.
During winter holidays on snow-covered roads, for instance, the system ensures that the car does not exceed a pre-selected speed, thereby remaining easy to control. It operates at speeds of up to 30 mph.
If the driver selects first gear while stationary (or "D" for automatic) before a steep slope, then allows the vehicle to roll forward without using the accelerator pedal, and then presses the DCS button, the system will maintain a maximum downhill speed of 6 mph and keeps this speed constant through brake intervention at the front wheels.
If the Antara is approaching a steep downhill slope at a certain speed in a gear higher than first (also valid for automatics), the driver can activate DCS by operating the brake pedal as the vehicle starts to descend. The system then reduces the vehicle’s speed to 10 mph and maintains this speed to the bottom of the slope. DCS also operates in reverse gear. In this case, a constant 5 mph is maintained.
It is also possible to accelerate or decelerate slightly when driving down a slope with DCS activated. When the driver removes his foot from the accelerator or brake pedal, the system returns the vehicle to its pre-selected speed. If the system is activated at a significantly higher speed, the braking effect is immediately noticeable. At the same time, a clearly audible sound informs the driver about the activities of the ESP system’s control unit, which regulates the instant brake intervention.Published 25 August 2007