Almost half a decade since last having a 4x4 in their model range, Opel have returned to the SUV segment. This time, their new weapon is more of an urban crossover instead of an oldschool SUV with body-on-frame and decent off-road capabilities. Or at least that's the kind of marketing the Russelsheim-based company is using to promote this model.
Opel's connection with the SUV segment was first made official in 1992, with the launch of the first generation of the Frontera SUV. Not long after that, the larger Monterey was also entering the Opel SUV family. Its fate wasn't as prodigious as that of the Frontera little brother, which also received a second generation, unlike the Monterey, which was withdrawn in 1999.
Sadly, even though it was the better seller of the two, the compact Frontera didn't manage to pass the test of time to a third generation, thus ending the Opel SUV story in 2003. Both the Monterey and the Frontera were actually bastard children from the General Motors-Isuzu union back then. None of them has any major Opel R&D pumped into them.
In fact, the Frontera was a rebadged and slightly re-styled Isuzu Rodeo/Wizard, while the Monterey was nothing but an Isuzu Trooper underneath those few German touches.
Coincidentally, the new Opel Antara is also having a similar fate concerning its origin, since it's not actually an Opel except for a few minor features in the interior and an exclusive exterior design. Underneath all that metal skin you can pretty much find, depending on what you want, a Holden/Chevrolet/Daewoo Captiva/Winstorm or a Vauxhall Antara/Saturn Vue. All hail globalization!
If that doesn't scare anyone away, maybe you'd also like to know that the Opel Antara is not even built in Germany, but in South Korea, along a part of its rebadged brothers. Last year, a new plant in Saint Petersburg, Russia, also began to manufacture the Opel SUV for the European market. We took an Antara equipped with a 2.0 CDTi diesel engine to the test, in its 150 hp guise.Continue reading