Vauxhall Antara 4x4 takes a trip around Tewin

Rock 'n' roll legend Marty Wilde, who lives in Tewin, tells of his 50 years in the business as he tests the new Vauxhall Antara 4x4

Tell us about yourself and what you're doing at the moment.Most people probably remember me as one of the rock 'n' roll pioneers of the 1950s. I began in 1957 with a skiffle group and my break came when I was 17. Tommy Steele's manager signed me up, which is when we started to do rock 'n' roll. I've performed ever since and this year is my 50th anniversary. I slackened off when my daughter Kim's career started to take off and I began writing for her. All her early numbers like 'Kids in America', 'Cambodia', 'Four letter word' and quite a few others.

How much do you enjoy motoring?I adore travelling and drive to and from my shows. Cars have always been a hobby and I still buy many of the car magazines. When I was a teenager I had some flash cars including an Austin Healey 3000, which was gorgeous, an MGA, a big old Ford Sunliner, an early Mini and Jaguars of course. My first car was an Austin A30, which was dreadful, and I've got a photograph of me by the roadside with the bonnet up!

What do you drive and what would your dream car be?I drive a Lexus LS430, which I bought because it's probably the quietest and most comfortable car in the world. Probably, my two favourite cars were a Honda NSX, which was an incredible vehicle, and one of the last Jaguar E-Types which went like a bat out of hell. I don't really have a dream car, but I would probably like a big Bentley.

How much are you influenced by badges on the bonnet?A lot, because if you've got a quality badge on the bonnet - you know you're looking at the very best engineering.

How would a Vauxhall Antara suit your lifestyle?A 4x4 suits my lifestyle and I like the fact that this has a diesel engine, as it saves money over petrol-engined versions. The Antara seems good value, it's well equipped and the interior feels tough and well made. The steering feels light and direct but my wife would probably want an automatic gearbox. I like the steering wheel with the controls on it and it has all the right extras for me, such as air conditioning. Space-wise, it's pretty good too.

How does the Antara drive?I think it drives pretty well. The gearing is good and it's an impressive car. Acceleration is good and it's surprisingly quiet for a diesel-powered off-roader. It has something of the bulldog about it and you just know it's going to you get to your destination.

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So, how do you rate the Vauxhall Antara?Overall, I was impressed by the Vauxhall Antara. As a 4x4, it's surprisingly good on the road and I could get used to it very easily. It's a rugged car and should be ideal for families who want a practical runabout which can hold bikes, sports equipment and two or three kids.Article taken from October issue of Hertfordshire Life

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