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I owned one of these for 18 months, and during that time, I thought it was the best car I'd ever had. We chopped in the 318 BMW for it, as I had baby no. 2 on the way, and back to lugging around the travel cot, pram, toys, bags etc. etc!!! My husband had previously driven a Frontera for three years as a company car and we'd never had a single problem with it and were impressed with what you get for the money, so we opted to buy one for me!
I was impressed with the car itself, you can just get so much in it - sorry - that's a mumsie thing! The weekly shop takes up the whole boot these days, so couldn't have coped with anything smaller. Also too, a great thing with 4 x 4's that I generally find is that it's easier to get shopping in and out of the car (once you've found a space big enough to get everyone in and out safely, also too to be able to open the large boot door!) as the floor of the boot is at just below waist height - no reaching and bending over to get things out. Only trouble is, we have a downward sloping drive to reverse down and when you open the boot, things tend to slip out! Usually the french stick laid on top!
Reliability was very good, the only problems we had with it were a week after we bought it (it was only a year old at the time), it decided to give up starting in the mornings. I ended up getting the AA out three times to it, before sending it back to Vauxhall for checking, on the back of an AA lorry! we spent best part of the day there, as the garage was a fair distance away and not worth going home and coming back again, and by the end of the day, they had established the immobiliser had packed up and was stuck on, not allowing the car to start. They replaced this and I got in it to drive it home. By this time it was 5pm and everyone had left for the day. It started fine, but the 4 x 4 light was on, although 4 wheel drive was not selected. I had to try to drive it home, as no-one was around to ask - and then proceeded to drive an hour home, at 20 mph as the car wouldn't let me go any faster!!! I eventually got home, very angrily with the two kids in tow!
I rang the garage and they told me to phone the AA first thing in the morning and get them to bring it over again, which I did, and spent another half a day sitting in their reception with two kids. It ended up that, while fixing the immobiliser, they'd left the 4 x 4 switch half on/half off. They rectfied this and I went home, with them sending me a big bunch of flowers afterwards!
My husband checked the oil that weekend, and found that they'd left the oil cap off, and had put it on the top of another part of the engine!!!! Thank goodness it hadn't fallen in and broken something while I was driving along.
After the initial problems, we took in on holiday and drove thousands of miles without any problems whatsoever.
Not the best start to owning the car - but apart from the service shambles we received, it was a good car. Great fun to drive, bit gung-ho but great fun nonetheless! We sold it and bought a Jeep Cherokee 18 months later, mainly because the spec of the Frontera we bought was extremely basic, and we wanted another 4 x 4 with a bit more comfort and specification.
Due to popular demand, I'm going to mention more about the car itself! (Sorry got carried away with the problems it had!)
The interior was fairly basic, but as mentioned previously I had the 2.2 Estate which had grey cloth/velour seats, and grey carpets. Nice dark metallic blue! It didn't have air conditioning, which was one of the reasons we decided to change it for the Jeep, but it had front and rear electric windows - and a child lock on the rear electric windows so, as you out there with children will understand, they can't open them themselves.
The sound system was reasonably good, a single CD player. Plenty of speakers all around.
I never took it offroad so I can't give an opinion on it's off-road capability, but I have driven it in severe snow/icy conditions, and it performed very well. Overall felt extremely safe in the car, especially driving kids around. They felt happy too because of the higher driving position, they could see out of the windows. Also, being only 5'4" myself, vision was extremely good. Usually I have to have the seat up as far as it will go, but with this, I could see all around with no problems. The adjustable steering column also meant I didn't have to have the steering wheel too high, which is the case in many cars without the option of adjustability.
If I were to recommend to someone about points to look for when buying a Frontera, I would personally go for the 3.2V6 model, mainly because that was the model my husband drove and apart from obviously being more powerful, it was more 'kitted out' with gadgets and features as standard - like air con, ABS, hard spare wheel cover, side steps (handy for short people like me!) etc.
Petrol consumption was reasonable, but that's what you expect when owning a 4 x 4, especially a petrol version. They are thirsty, but it didn't come into the equation as far as our decision was concerned, because it only got used for school/shopping runs, approx. 1500 miles a year! Holidays, however, for example Cornwall one year, we did have to take out a second mortgage! (only joking!). It is definately one of the better ones for fuel consumption, I have driven worse since!
Overall, I was pleased with the car. If Vauxhall service had pulled their socks up this would have been a glowing report. I liked and had fun driving it, the kids loved it, it was spacious, fairly comfortable, and we could get everything in it, which I think, unless you drive offroad, is all you really want from a 4 x 4 these days!