Vauxhall Zafira MPV full 9 point review
The petrol engines - 1.6 and 1.8 VVT units - give decent performance, and the Ecoflex version's 1.7 diesel gives 108bhp. However, it's the diesel's extra torque that we appreciate most and which makes it better suited to the demands of a family ferry like the Zafira.
Ride & Handling
The Zafira handles very tidily for an MPV - body control is tight, and strong grip and direct steering mean you can also have fun when you leave the nippers at home. However, the firm suspension means the ride is a bit too harsh for a family-orientated car.
This is one area where the Zafira is feeling its age. You hear plenty of wind- and road noise, but it's the coarse, grumbly engines that'll give your eardrums the biggest bashing. The diesel are a bit louder than the petrols under load, but none of them are up to the standards of the class best. The gearshift is imprecise, too.
Buying & Owning
Prices aren't high to start with, and Vauxhall dealers are always willing to entice buyers with a sizeable discount. Running costs aren't steep for the class, either. Resale values are reasonable, but not as strong as some rivals such as the VW Touran. However, you do have the reassurance of a lifetime (limited to 100,000 miles) warranty on the car.
Quality & Reliability
The Zafira's cabin isn't exactly a plush environment - there are too many dull, grey plastics on show for that. It feels far from low-rent, though, and the materials are sturdy and dependable. However, the Zafira finished quite low down in the 2012 JD Power survey, with mechanical reliability rated as average.
Safety & Security
All versions come with curtain airbags that cover the first and second rows. That's in addition to twin front and side airbags that have already helped the Zafira to a five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. Every Zafira also comes with standard stability control. Deadlocks and an immobiliser are standard.
Behind The Wheel
All versions have two-way adjustment for the driver's seat and steering wheel, so any driver will have an easy time getting comfy. The dash layout is mostly clear, too, except for stereo controls that are fiddly and confusing. Visibility isn't a strong point, either - small front quarterlights mean it's tough to see some corners.
Space & Practicality
There's a plenty of space in the Zafira's front five seats, but the rearmost seats are only suitable for children. The seats aren't clever enough, either. The one-piece rear bench can be folded in half and slid up against the front seatbacks; in some rivals, however, you can slide, fold and recline each chair individually. At least the Zafira has a decent boot.
All Zafiras come with air-conditioning, a CD player, remote central locking and electric front windows, but on low-end Life and Exclusiv models, you don't get much more. Design versions add alloys, powered rear windows and rain-sensing wipers. Elite models have leather upholstery, cruise control and an MP3 socket, while SRi versions have sporty styling touches and sports suspension.