Vauxhall Zafira Tourer review
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a more spacious and luxurious seven-seater that's designed to rival the Ford S-MAX
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer slots into the Vauxhall range above the existing Zafira. Although the latter car is a little long in the tooth, Vauxhall claims there's still plenty of demand for it, so both cars can be sold alongside one another. The older model starts at £18,570 while the Zafira Tourer costs £20,145. The extra money buys you a modern and luxurious cabin with a real quality feel and plenty of standard equipment. There's a good range of engines, with frugal diesels - including Vauxhall's excellent new 1.6 - and petrol turbocharged units. It's also a sharper and more comfortable drive than the Zafira and comes with a more spacious and practical cabin.
Our choice: 1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX S/S SE
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer features the manufacturer's latest design language used on cars like the Adam and Astra. On the seven-seater this includes boomerang-style headlights and a 'tick' shape on its flanks. Compared to the current Zafira, it features a much classier look, and looks more modern than the ageing Ford S-MAX, too. The cabin represents a step up in quality for Vauxhall, with a dash covered in soft-touch materials and higher-spec models coming with full leather upholstery and leather-lined door panels. The centre console is a bit cluttered but all the switches feel solid. Some models get a panoramic windscreen, adding to the feeling of space. A few classy touches like ambient interior lighting give it a premium feel.
The engine line-up consists of a naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre petrol with 138bhp, a turbocharged 1.4-litre with the same power and three 2.0-litre diesel engines putting out between 109bhp and 163bhp. However, the best balance between economy and performance is Vauxhall's new 1.6-litre turbodiesel. Not only is it frugal - offering over 60mpg and 109g/km of CO2 - it's much smoother and quieter than the 2.0-litre powertrains. It also comes with a revised six-speed manual gearbox, which has a much slicker shift action. The remaining diesels provide plenty of go, low running costs but don't quite have the refined driving experience of the 1.6. The 1.8-litre petrol feels strained so, if you can afford it and you're after a petrol engine, it's worth going for the turbo. Handling is good for a car this size but it feels more stable and predictable than thrilling. A Ford S-MAX is the choice for keen drivers.
The Zafira Tourer gets a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, acheiving a high 94 per cent adult protection rating, and a strong 83 per cent rating for children, too. Electronic gadgets will help to prevent a crash in the first place, like forward collision alert, blind spot monitoring and lane keep assist. The older Zafira came 47th in our list of the 2011 Driver Power top 100 models, and the new Zafira Tourer should prove equally reliable.
Practicality has to be an MPV's strong suit and thankfully the Zafira Tourer has plenty of clever functions. The seven-seat arrangement features a second row of three individual seats that can be moved forwards and backwards, folded individually, and the middle seat can even be folded away while the outer seats move further back to allow passengers more room. The third row of seats can be folded completely into the floor to maximise boot space. With five seats up, there's 710 litres of space and with only two seats up there's 1860 litres.
The Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX was the cheapest in the range to run, boasting CO2 emissions of just 119g/km and 62.3mpg. However, the new 1.6-litre diesel trumps this with better fuel economy and a 10g/km drop in CO2 emissions. That said, the lower-powered diesel models have been tuned for economy, blunting response, so if you regularly travel with lots of people and luggage in the car, it may be worth considering the 163bhp 2.0-litre. The Zafira Tourer is quite a heavy car, so we'd try to avoid the cheaper purchase price of the 1.8-litre petrol engine, as it will be more expensive to tax and fuel.