Vauxhall has been pursuing a versatility theme for its cars for many years. Even the lowly Corsa is available with an ingenious slide-out bicycle carrier, for instance, and the company has achieved real success with its commodious Meriva and Zafira MPVs, the larger of the two becoming a UK class best-seller.

However, it has never had a competitive contender in the Ford Galaxy/Volkswagen Sharan arena (the Sintra of the mid-1990s firing painfully wide of target), let alone a car to rival Ford’s popular and desirable S-Max.

The Zafira Tourer partly satisfies both requirements and provides plenty of the flexible in-cabin features that have made the Meriva and Zafira so popular.

Ironically, that’s why it appears to offer relatively little that’s new. However, a big effort has been made to provide a premium-quality interior, there’s an optional panoramic windscreen similar to Citroën’s C3 Visiodrive architecture, and the car can be had with a voguish, downsized petrol engine of only 1.4 litres.

The meat of the range, though, is the 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels.

First drives

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