Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Elite

8 Feb, 2012 12:09pm Luke Madden

Diesel version of stylish new seven-seater has already impressed, but now we try it in range-topping spec


It's easy to be won over by the new Zafira Tourer’s stylish looks and upmarket cabin, but family buyers should think carefully before taking the plunge. The third row of seats is only suitable for younger children, whereas the Ford S-MAX can seat seven adults. If you want a car this size, then the Ford Grand C-MAX is a better choice – and it’ll be a cheaper one, too.
Family cars used to be worthy, great-value transport, but a recent trend for luxury and style in the class has led Vauxhall to take its Zafira upmarket – enter the Zafira Tourer. The £24,565 entry-level Exclusiv version couldn’t match its rivals in our road test in Issue 1,202, so does this £27,415 top-spec Elite model appeal more?

It’s expensive, but not short on kit. There’s a panoramic sunroof and windscreen, leather, heated seats, climate control and stylish ambient interior lighting. It all feels really well built and upmarket. If outright load space is a priority, the Ford S-MAX has the upper hand, but the Zafira is better at seating five people – which is how it will be used most.

The third row of seats in the Tourer is cramped compared to the Ford’s, and there’s 162 litres less maximum boot space, at 1,858 litres. On the plus side, Vauxhall’s new Flex7 seating system makes switching between five and seven-seat layouts easy. All the seats in the middle row slide independently. The middle seat can be folded down and its sides lifted up to make armrests for those sitting in the other seats.

Under the bonnet is the flagship 163bhp 2.0 CDTI diesel, which has plenty of in-gear punch and is well isolated from the cabin. Acceleration from 0-60mph takes 9.1 seconds, but there’s an initial hesitation as you floor the throttle, which makes the car feel more sluggish than the figures suggest. This Zafira also has stop-start as standard, which helps it to return 54.3mpg fuel economy and emit 137g/km of CO2 – identical figures to the lower-powered 2.0-litre diesel.

The Zafira Tourer will appeal to keen drivers. There’s very little body roll in corners and the quick steering gives an agile feel. We’ve previously driven a Tourer with the optional adaptive dampers (Issue 1,187), and the ride was more forgiving. It settled quicker, too – our Zafira Elite bobbed up and down more on bad roads.

Vauxhall was aiming to create a family car that offered style, luxury and practicality, and it certainly delivers the first two. But it lags behind rivals in the final and most crucial aspect.

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Imagine spending the extra to get the best "Elite" model and then find out that there are no roof bars and you cannot fit a roof box. This car is made for big families and many will want to put a box or a bike on the roof. Clever vauxhall do not offer this option on their top model! Who came up with that idea?

Let's hope at this price Vauxhall can be bothered to install the glove box light, unlike the new Corsa SE I drove this week.

I haven't seen a single one of these on the road yet and I doubt I ever will. Who are Vauxhall trying to kid that this is worth £27K

Lowerhouse, the reason you get no roof bars on the Elite is because it has a full length glass roof as standard and as I've never needed to fit a roof box to my current Zafira I'd much prefer the panoramic roof - i'm sure so would my kids. As for bikes you can option the 'clever Vauxhall' rear bumper pull out bike carrier system. IronChicken you probably wouldn't see one yet, its only just gone on sale, so assume a few months for first customer delivery's. And why is £27k such a bad thing for a top of the range new Zafira? A Ford S-max is nearly £30k for its top model with a similar engine, but add heated seats, electric handbrake and DAB with USB for the stereo (all standard on Zafira) and your talking well over £30k. But hey its a bigger car so its all relative. All new cars cost much more than they should these days, if you want to pay Vauxhall/Ford/VW prices from a few yrs ago, then its the Korean brands you'll need to visit now, who in turn aren't as cheap as they used to be...

Sorry Bigger but there are other cars with a panoramic roof of sorts that still have the bars (Touran, sharan, volvo xc60 etc.) This is meant to be a flexible car and surely they could have left enough space on the roof edge to get the bars in. We have 3 kids and two dogs and yes occasionaly we add a box , and so do lots of other families we know.
We also pull a trailer from time to time for camping, but the bike carrier system is NOT compatable with a towbar, - it' one or the other. So it' not that clever.
I think it's a mistake and if you can name one other estate car or mpv where you cannot fit anything to the roof, let me know.
I do like the look of this car and may get one, but it will be the SE model!

Not much use unless you're buying new and have deep pockets. Let's face it, how many people buy £27k Vauxhalls with their own money? Errrmm..

There might be a handful of dealer demonstrators with it fitted, and that will be that, pretty much.

Useless for towing, as said above too.

Maybe £27k sounds reasonable compared to the S-Max, but doesn't that also suggest that the S-Max is too pricey too? Who is buying these cars? Who has £27,000 in cash to spend and really wants a fast depreciating Ford or Vauxhall? Even if they'll knock £5k off in the showroom, that's still £22k, more than any sane bank will lend a normal person on normal wages.

@Lowerhouse - There must be an engineering reason for Vauxhall/Opel not fitting roof bars. Most other manufactures can as they fit 'super sunroofs' which they title 'panoramic roof' (such as your exampled Touran). Perhaps the entire metal roof panel is a sheet of glass and it is bonded at the side panels edges?Who knows. But you are right, that an MPV should be as versatile as possible. Just because it suits me and my family as it comes, doesn't mean it will suit all - like yours, who require the expansion a roof box or trailer can provide. @Oilburner - I did kind of say all new cars cost too much. And yes in isolation £27k + for a Zafira is a bit of a joke, but if compared to like for like and spec for spec vehicles, its price is the norm. My advice - buy used, that way someone else can take the big depreciation hit before you, so you can end up in a pretty decent motor and perhaps the price it should have cost new!


Guess what, after having the chance to try a tourer Elite the other day it turns out it DOES have the ability to have a roof rack fitted. When the panoramic roof is optioned (or standard as on the Elite) it comes with flat strips down either side of the glass panel. These are the type you find on most regular cars like small family hatchbacks, superminis etc etc. My guess would be a nice smooth look as to why the bars are not fitted as on other Zafs.
I really want one now as it is by FAR a better car that my current Zaf!


great car.for family and co.

Key specs

* Price: £27,415
* Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
* Power: 163bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* 0-60/top speed: 9.1 seconds/129mph
* Economy/CO2: 54.3mpg/137g/km
* Equipment: Climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, leather upholstery
* On sale: Now