Vauxhall Zafira Tourer MPV review
Our Rating

3.5/5

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer MPV review

With a highly flexible seating arrangement, the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer can go from carrying seven people to a wardrobe in a matter of minutes.

The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a large seven-seat MPV, able to carry your extended family or double up as a load-lugger bigger than some vans once the rear seats are folded down. It’s the largest MPV in Vauxhall’s range above the Zafira and Meriva and competes with the Ford Galaxy and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

With a large range of engines and trim levels available, it’s possible to choose almost exactly how fast and luxurious you want your Zafira Tourer to be, so it can appeal from everyone to taxi drivers, chauffeurs and active families.

Performance

Most Zafira Tourer’s will have a high annual mileage, so the 2.0-litre diesel is a very popular choice. It is available with 128bhp or 163bhp and you can even plump for a BiTurbo version with 192bhp. While this might be useful on the German autobahn, the entry-level model should suit most British drivers. Even better is the 1.6-litre diesel with 134bhp, which gets this seven-seater to 62mph in a reasonable 11.2 seconds. It’s also more refined than the 2.0-litre, which has an older design.

A petrol wouldn’t be our first choice in a vehicle of this size, but if you’re only making short journeys, the 1.8-litre or 1.4-litre turbo (both with 138bhp) could be worth a look, particularly the turbocharged engine which pulls reasonably well from low revs.

The 1.4-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel (163bhp) are both available with an automatic gearbox, while the rest of the range come equipped with a manual.

Ride and Handling

There’s hardly any bodyroll in corners and the steering is precise.

While the Zafira Tourer might be designed with the ultimate in practicality in mind, it drives in a surprisingly car-like fashion. There’s hardly any bodyroll in corners and the steering is precise and well-weighted, instilling confidence in its abilities. Thanks to its long wheelbase, the Tourer feels in its element on the motorway, requiring little effort to drive over long distances. Despite being sharp to drive for an MPV, it’s still not quite top of the class, but only because the Ford S-MAX is almost freakishly fun to drive. Happily the Tourer doesn’t rely on overly stiff suspension to ensure it handles well, so bumps are mostly well insulated from the cabin. Strong brakes with a nicely progressive pedal ensure the Tourer stops swiftly, even with seven people on board.

Interior and Equipment

In top trim levels the outer two chairs in the middle row can push back and inwards offering first-class passenger comfort that Vauxhall calls ‘lounge seating’. The middle seat folds down to become an armrest.

There's plenty of room for tall occupants of the front seats, while the seats in row three don't offer much legroom and are really best suited to children. The middle row in all Tourers has three seats - each of them capable of holding an adult, which again can't always be guaranteed in an MPV - are separate and can be individually moved backwards and forwards through a range of 210mm. There's also a choice of four recline angles. The boot measures 710 litres with five seats in place, expanding to a huge 1,860 with all the rear seats folded flat. In the top two trim levels, SE and Elite, things become even more impressive, as those models are equipped with something called Lounge Seating. With this system, the central seat folds up and offers two very long armrests to the passengers on either side, whose seats can be moved backwards and inwards, leaving a phenomenal amount of space around them.

Cost

Fuel economy ranges from a poor 39mpg with the 1.8-litre petrol to an impressive 69mpg in the 1.6-litre CDTi.

Prices for the Zafira Tourer start at just over £20k, but for that you get the 1.8 petrol engine, which probably isn't the best in the range, and the relatively sparse ES trim level which does without alloy wheels. Prices for the Exclusiv start at around £22k, both the SE and the sportier SRi at £24k and the Elite at £25k.  Fuel economy ranges from a poor 39mpg with the 1.8-litre petrol to an impressive 69mpg in the 1.6-litre CDTi, which is the engine we’d pick. The latter is fitted with stop/start as standard to save more fuel when waiting in traffic and sits in a very low tax band. The 2.0-litre diesel falls in the middle, offering between 51mpg and 55mpg and road tax costing under £150 annually. Vauxhall models tend to suffer quite heavy depreciation, particularly petrol and lavishly equipped versions.

Our Verdict

The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer’s strongest asset is its highly flexible seating, allowing it to transform from an airport shuttle into a medium-sized van in a matter of seconds. The amazing thing is, you don’t need muscles or space in your garage to store the rear seats, as everything folds down easily and neatly. Despite its large size, an impressive chassis means the Tourer is also good to drive, especially over long distances. Not every engine is particularly good, but choose a diesel – particularly the new 1.6-litre – and driveability and running costs are both improved.

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