With its stylish looks, high quality interior and massive level of standard equipment, the new Vauxhall Antara is the sort of car which could start to make drivers of bigger SUVs start to think they’ve been short changed – especially since the Antara’s prices start at only £19,850 on-the-road.

On sale now and due to arrive in showrooms from July, the Antara comes in three distinctive trim levels, each offering comprehensive levels of standard equipment which could cost up to £6,000 if ordered as options on some rivals.

Even the entry-level Antara E has standard kit that you’d expect in a much more expensive car, and has a quality feel that makes some larger 4x4s look decidedly down-market. Included in the price is ESP, Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive, a Descent Control System, air conditioning, remote control ultrasonic alarm, front fog lights, silver-coloured roof rails, 17-inch alloys and a CD with MP3 compatibility and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

Moving up to the Antara S, additional standard equipment includes 18-inch alloys, climate control, heated front seats, cruise control, Automatic Lighting Control, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, heat-reflective windscreen, self levelling suspension and chrome detailing on the door handles and exhaust tailpipe.

The top model Antara SE is exceptionally well specified, with a DVD sat-nav, six-disc CD changer with MP3 capability, a built-in Bluetooth phone kit, xenon headlamps, leather seat facings, electro-chromatic anti-dazzle rear-view mirror and electrically foldable door mirrors, front and rear parking distance sensors and an on-board tyre pressure monitoring system.

The only option will be the innovative Flex-Fix integrated bike carrier system, as first seen on the New Corsa and priced at £475. This special rack slides out of the rear bumper in seconds and allows two bikes to be carried safely without having to worry about storing and fitting complicated roof bar systems or attaching complicated frames to the tailgate.

As well as the visible equipment, Antara promises to be a great car to drive, thanks to speed-sensitive power steering, Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive system and dynamically-tuned sports chassis. Whereas some SUVs have a tendency to pitch and wallow through bends, Antara has been designed to offer rewarding, car-like handling.

The Antara operates as a normal front-wheel drive car in everyday use, providing the sure-footed handling which most drivers are familiar with. The car automatically switches to four-wheel drive when the car’s ESP electronics sense that the extra traction is needed. As well as giving the driver greater reassurance, the set-up delivers economy benefits over permanent four-wheel drive systems – delivering 37.7mpg on the combined cycle for the 2.0CDTi manual and producing 198g/km of CO2 – comparable to similarly-sized hatchbacks and estates with petrol engines.

Antara E is available with a choice of a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and manual gearbox or a 2.0-litre CDTi 16v diesel with a manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. The Antara S and SE are available with the 2.0-litre CDTi engine with a manual or auto ‘box.

A full breakdown of trim levels and prices is given below:

Antara E 2.4i 16v manual: £19,850

Antara E 2.0 CDTi 16v manual: £20,995

Antara E 2.0 CDTi 16v automatic: £22,395

Antara S 2.0 CDTi 16v manual: £22,595

Antara S 2.0 CDTi 16v automatic: £23,995

Antara SE 2.0 CDTi 16v manual: £26,295

Antara SE 2.0 CDTi 16v automatic: £27,695