Vauxhall Zafira Tourer MPV full 9 point review
The 128bhp 2.0-litre Ecoflex diesel has enough pull from low revs to haul around a big family without working the engine hard. The 163bhp 2.0 diesel provides more shove through the mid-range, but fuel consumption takes a big hit. The Biturbo's greater torque kicks in lower down, but it's even less efficient. We wouldn't recommend the 138bhp turbocharged 1.4 petrol, because you need to rev the engine hard to make decent progress.
Ride & Handling
Stick to a version with 17-inch wheels and the Zafira Tourer deals with bigger bumps well, while the body stays surprisingly flat through the corners. It’s a shame the ride isn’t more comfortable around town; minor road imperfections cause the Vauxhall to jostle around. The light steering is great for parking and town driving, but it becomes disconcerting at higher speeds because you’re never quite sure what the front wheels are doing.
The Zafira Tourer’s big door mirrors generate some wind noise at speed, and there's some road noise to be heard, too. The diesel engines are a bigger issue, though, because they sound very rough, especially when you work them hard. The six-speed manual gearbox is notchy, too, but the stop-start system available on some diesel versions, works smoothly.
Buying & Owning
The trim and pricing structure is very strange indeed. Tech Line trim comes with more kit than the two trims below it, yet it costs less. Go figure. Higher-grade trims look very expensive, but immense discounts will be available on all models. The Ecoflex version of the 129bhp diesel is particularly clean and efficient for a seven-seat MPV – it returned more than 50mpg in our TrueMPG tests and emits just 119g/km of CO2.
Quality & Reliability
The Zafira Tourer’s dashboard is smartly styled, and while the plastics aren’t as sumptuous as they first appear, they’re still pretty classy. Slick switchgear adds to the general impression of quality. However, the previous Zafira finished quite low down in the 2012 JD Power survey, with mechanical reliability rated as average.
Safety & Security
Front-seat occupants are protected by front and side airbags, while window airbags cover the first two rows. Stability control is also fitted to every Zafira Tourer, and advanced driver-assist systems such as Traffic Sign Recognition and Side Blind Spot Alert are available – but only as options. The list of standard security kit includes an immobiliser, deadlocks and marked parts.
Entry-level ES cars come with air-conditioning, a DAB radio and cruise control, while Exclusiv adds parking sensors and electric rear windows. Bizarrely, our favourite Tech Line trim is cheaper than both, and adds alloys, sat-nav and Bluetooth. SRi cars have sportier design and a revised suspension, while SE swaps all that for climate control, rain-sensing wipers and the trick seating system. Elite models have heated leather seats and a panoramic sunroof.
Behind The Wheel
Slim windscreen pillars and a deep rear screen mean all-round vision is better than in many MPVs, but you still have to crane your neck for a good view when pulling out of T-junctions. There’s also a wide range of adjustment to help the driver get comfortable. However, the lever for adjusting the angle of the seat back is hard to reach, and the dashboard is overloaded with poorly marked buttons.
Space & Practicality
The Zafira Tourer has plenty of head- and legroom in its first two rows, and the three middle-row seats slide back and forth independently. However, three adults will find it a squeeze across the middle row, because the centre seat is narrower than the outer two. Access to the third row is reasonable, but adults will find it uncomfortable back there. All five rear seats fold flat, but the process for raising the second-row seats is a two-handed job, and more awkward than in some rivals.