Grown-up, all-new Zafira lays down a challenge to Ford and VW’s latest generation of MPVs

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a super-stylish MPV but lacks sliding rear doors

15 March 2011

What is it?

Several years ago, GM Europe decided it was time for its people-carriers to grow up. First, it showed a bigger Meriva, based heavily on chassis components from the Zafira, an MPV positioned a size above.

Then, a few weeks ago in Geneva, it showed a concept version of this same Zafira’s forthcoming replacement, around 15cm longer in both wheelbase and overall length, and about 20cm wider.

The new model, due in the UK early next year at prices believed to be three to five per cent ahead of present levels, combines more advanced and refined chassis, steering and brake components from GM’s Astra and Insignia saloons with a far roomier, more stylish interior to throw out a challenge to Ford’s successful S-Max.

What's it like?

We drove two Zafira prototypes last week on winter test in Sweden and the exercise provided powerful evidence of a more sophisticated, re-purposed MPV in prospect.

The cars were a 140bhp 1.4-litre petrol turbo and 165bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Both were equipped with six-speed autos, and both engines will come to the UK, but the slightly more vocal diesel is likely to be the top seller in the UK.

Styling is hard to judge because both cars were disguised, but driving impressions are clear enough. On smooth, flowing, bitumen roads, the Zafira Tourer has a rolling smoothness and comfort well ahead of the outgoing model’s.

The car corners neutrally, copes quietly with ruts and has a flat and supple ride, aided by optional new adaptive dampers. The electric power steering is impressively responsive and seems to provide plenty of feel.

The biggest plus is dramatically improved front-quarter visibility. A new second-row seat layout allows limo-like comfort for two in the rear, but it can also be configured as a seven-seater because of two compact third-row seats, which fold into the loading floor when not needed.

Should I buy one?

A confirmed verdict will have to await assessment of production-spec cars on UK roads, but all signs are that GM has moved to correct the best-known foibles in an already well-liked model, and made it even more suitable for family buyers. If early signs are accurate, the Vauxhall Zafira is about to become a much more powerful force in family motoring.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi Auto

Price: £24,000 (est); Top speed: 120mph (est); 0-62 mph: 9.5sec (est); Economy: 45mpg (est); CO2: 150g/km (est); Kerb weight: 1800kg (est); Engine: 4 cyls, 1998cc, turbodiesel; Power: 165bhp; Torque: 258lb ft; Gearbox: 6-speed auto

Join the debate

Comments
15

24 March 2011

The Zafira has always been a good and clever car - most years of its life it has been the best designed vehicle in the Vauxhall range. I am pleased that in the new model they have fixed the forward quarter visibility. Pity they have made it wider though. Wider cars we do not need.

24 March 2011

Will the drivers improve though?

24 March 2011

lol it's usually the dads on there own in the outside lane with their foot to the floor. I can never decide if they are racing to get home or escape.

24 March 2011

Is it really going to be 20 cm wider?

Cars are getting too wide.

24 March 2011

[quote artill]

Is it really going to be 20 cm wider?

Cars are getting too wide

[/quote]

My Dad still runs an Mk1 Zafira he's had from new. The whole appeal of the car was the amount of space and versitility offered from a car that took up so little road space combined with being a surprising good car to drive. If he wanted a bigger car he'd have bought a Ford Galaxy. (Mind you, I spose if he waits a generation or two the Meriva will be the size of the MK1 Zafira)

24 March 2011

Looking at the size increase, they really should have differentiated it from the current Zafira and called it, say, Zafira Max (using the old Vauxhall designation of Astra and Astra Max van as opposed to Ford's C-Max).

This really does seem to be stepping up a size in to Galaxy territory.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

24 March 2011

All this talk of increasing size would be relevant if this car was replacing the current Zafira. This new car is more of an S-Max rival with the existing Zafira continuing in production for all those people who prefer a compact 7 seater.

24 March 2011

[quote TegTypeR]they really should have differentiated it from the current Zafira and called it, say, Zafira Max[/quote]

I am being dim, it's called the Zafira Tourer. Doh!

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

24 March 2011

[quote artill]

Is it really going to be 20 cm wider?

Cars are getting too wide.

[/quote]

Will Vauxhall please be polite enough to write to Tesco and ask them to repaint all their car parking spaces for the arrival of this model please?

25 March 2011

[quote Orangewheels]Will Vauxhall please be polite enough to write to Tesco and ask them to repaint all their car parking spaces for the arrival of this model please?
[/quote]

or you could just take up two spaces and that way theres little chance of someone denting your car :)

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