1997 Vauxhall Frontera 2.5 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Very nice, apart from that black smoke


I seem to have a lot of black smoke coming from the exhaust, especially when I'm changing up a gear, but even on the flat, when I go to change, it lets out a puff of black smoke. I have had this 3 weeks, and had it back in garage twice; I am thinking of forgetting the deal. Is this black smoke normal?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th March, 2005

13th Mar 2005, 08:15

It is a diesel. They all make black smoke. This is because of unburned fuel being chucked out of the exhaust. All diesels do the same. It is quite normal.

15th Sep 2005, 10:28

I have a 97 Frontera 5 door estate. I bought it when it was 3 yrs old. I change the oil and filter about every 6000 miles and use Castrol Magnatec GTD. There is no black smoke except a little on start up which is normal. If your vehicle is putting out a lot of smoke. if it is a diesel perhaps it needs the injectors overhauling. If it is petrol a good service may help if not get rid because the rings may be shot.

9th Dec 2010, 05:20

My Frontera used to give black smoke until I found that the turbo collector had to be soldered. After that, no smoke. Great Jeep.

1997 Vauxhall Frontera Sport Niagra 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Frontera? FUNtera more like


Stiffened clutch after only 10,000 miles. Caused by incorrect fitting at garage.

Head gasket fading, causing minor coolant leak into combustion chambers.

General Comments:

I've had my car for just over 3 years now. By now, most people are looking for a new car. I'm not. I still love my Frontera.

A lot of people (and I mean a lot) seem to think that Fronteras are slow, lumbering, thirsty, and unreliable. They couldn't be more wrong.

In my experience, the Frontera reflects the driver. If you drive in a shabby way, the car will not settle and feel jittery. Drive smoothly and confidently, and it shines. In the right hands the Frontera is very capable on tarmac, I would go so far as to say its the best off-roader on tarmac. It will go where it's pointed, if you push this car a little too hard, you get a little bit of under-steer to tell you that you have gone too far, then the under-steer morphs into delicious, controllable over-steer. Just like a good car should. Wet roundabouts suddenly become a theme park ride, for all the right reasons.

The brakes deserve a mention too. Given that this is a true off-roader, the brakes do a very good job. A good firm pedal, just the right amount of travel, and copious amounts of feel. Add to that the huge stopping power they have. These brakes can match the deceleration of brakes on most modern large family cars, with very little brake fade. To be honest that sums the whole car up really, you drive by the seat of your pants. No electronic gubbins in the way, it's just you and the car.

I normally manage about 27mpg. That is quire respectable given the way I drive the car, the car's weight, drive train, and aerodynamics.

I can normally break just about any car. I'm usually any cars last owner. Yet, this Frontera takes the abuse, and still comes back for more. That doesn't sound like a car with reliability problems too me. This is the longest I have had a car for, and not killed it in some way. Even the servicing is cheap. The usual oil/filter change costs less than £15. This is motoring for the frugal.

Off road is where the Frontera really shines though. I've tackled hills, mud, water, sand and any other obstacle with ease. For the simple reason that the Frontera is a serious 4X4. It has part time 4X4, and low ratio transfer box, huge axle articulation, and no articulated axles. Compare that to the Freelander. Permanent 4X4, 3 open diffs. No low range transfer box, and articulated axles.

The interior is pretty bland, but who cares? It does it's job. Besides, who looks at their dash board while driving? On all the MK2 versions the steering wheel is leather bound, thick rimmed, adjustable for height and gives good feedback. You can always tell if the wheels are about to give up the ghost. The seats are very firm and supportive, with a good range of movement. The rear seats have huge amounts of leg room, although getting in and out is an acquired skill.

I've left this cars best feature till last. The air top. Just undo 6 hand nuts, and 4 catches, and the car becomes a convertible. The rear side glass, the rear door glass, and the roof come off. Yet you still have full roll over protection, from the 2 inch roll over bar.

So there you have it, a car that's reliable, fun on road, unstoppable off road, and it's a convertible. What more do you want?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th June, 2003

3rd Nov 2006, 02:02

Take it you're happy with it then!!! Same here, love our Frontera to bits. We have a 20lt petrol R reg, it's just like a tank, go anywhere anytime! And just keeps going.

Like you say, you have to drive them, they don't like to be messed about with, just get in and give them some stick. And if it's not broken, don't fix it. I only ever go under the bonnet if I need to (about twice a year to look at oil level) and that's it.

A fantastic car, loads of fun to drive... and it's not for sale!!! If you want a real laugh just have a look at the Freelander survey!!!

7th Nov 2006, 08:28

Can you add an extra seat to a Vauxhall frontera?

7th Nov 2006, 08:29

Can you add an extra seat to a Vauxhall frontera?

9th Jun 2008, 07:03

Yer I own one in Australia over here it's a holden but as you say drive it confidently and she loves it over heer I do a lot of 4wding and it rockets though the sand mud and rock what ever I throw at it but I do find it hard and expensive to find parts for and I often have to look under the bonnet im afraid but over all I like it. Its solid