The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer makes a family transporter look surprisingly appealing and is an attractive package

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

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

6 October 2011

What is it?

Vauxhall’s solution to the S-Max problem. Don’t let the Zafira name fool you; this is bigger, better-rounded car intended to compete at the increasingly busy seven-seat end of the compact MPV market.

The Tourer will sit above the current Zafira in Vauxhall’s lineup, and is intended as a premium alternative to its humdrum sibling. Not that the pair share much DNA: the larger car sits on a bespoke platform which affords it an additional 57mm of length in the wheelbase and a substantially wider track.

It also also borrows several major chassis components from the Insignia and Astra to improve dynamic performance, and offer the saloon-like responses which has earned Ford so much critical acclaim.

Inside the Flex7 seating system – once the Zafira’s party trick – has been redesigned and the car’s cabin materials have been upgraded. The motor lineup is propped up by an aged 1.8-litre and new-fangled 1.4-litre petrol engines, but three versions of the same 2.0-litre diesel unit (108bhp, 127bhp and 162bhp) will form the vast majority of sales.

What’s it like?

Conspicuously handsome. Vauxhall’s evolutionary style has been threatening a looker for some time now, and with the bullet train-inspired Tourer it has finally succeeded where the Astra and Insignia failed. By design MPV’s cannot veer far from a preformed cube, but from boomerang headlights to ‘blade’ flanks, Vauxhall’s British-led team has produced a polished head turner.

If only the interior were equally worthy of such praise. Despite the manufacturer insisting that the cabin was shaped around its 30 storage compartments, there are too few innovative places to wedge unwanted items in the Tourer’s murky, button-festooned dash. Material choices have improved, but the real savior inside is the redesigned Flex7 seating system.

Sensibly borrowing from its rivals, Vauxhall has replaced the second row bench with three individually adjustable rear seats, which of course can be folded flat to reveal a palatial 1860 litres of load space. It has also used its own ingenuity to introduce a Lounge Seating option which transforms the rarely used middle chair via mechanical origami into a huge arm rest/sibling divider.

The effect is glibly described by the manufacturer as a provider of limousine-style luxury. It is hardly that, but families with three children (including a young one to lose in the snug third row) might just consider it a masterstroke as it does add an nifty impression of space.

Somewhat less nifty are the engine choices. We tried the most powerful 162bhp version (although more muscular options will follow) of the diesel unit and found its 9.1 second 0-60mph time adequate enough, but the watered down alternatives may flounder under the Tourer’s bulk. That doesn’t bode well for the 63mpg, 119g/km Ecoflex model, which will have to make do with the 127bhp variant when it goes on sale next year.

On Germany’s glassy road surfaces the SE model rode in a reasonably plush manner on its 17-inch wheels (the optional 18-inch alloys ruin the effect), added by a shushed sense of refinement. Despite the inherited running gear, the Tourer fails to duplicate the S-Max’s pliant agility, but is more than competent enough for its likely daily duties.

Should I buy one?

It could be argued that more so than any other class in the industry, compact MPVs only offer slight variations on each other’s theme. Intriguing seating arrangement aside, the Zafira Tourer makes no attempt to upset the apple cart, and does much the same job as a shortlist of worthy rivals.

The obvious key to its potential success – and we’ll admit it’s a subjective argument – is that the car manages to make deathly-dull family transport look surprisingly good. That factor should not be underestimated, nor should the all-round improvements made to Vauxhall’s formula.

It misses out on the sliding doors, dynamic sparkle and innovative engines which would have made it class leader, but upgraded seating, better spaciousness and enhanced refinement add substance to an attractive package.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi 165 Elite

Price: £25,165; Top speed: 129mph; 0-62mph: 9.8sec; Economy: 54.3mpg; Co2: 137g/km; Kerb weight: 1571kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1956cc, turbodiesel; Power: 163bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
16

7 October 2011

£25165? yes i know there will probably be huge discounts on offer but its still a lot of cash! nice looking machine though! i'm glad there keeping the existing Zafira going aswell as this one, it makes sense especially if the new one is so expensive! VXR /OPC Version please :)

7 October 2011

I guess this one is supposed to be the Galaxy equivalent in the market, and the ordinary Zafira the S-Max. Nice looking machine, but it does look more S-Max sized inside.

7 October 2011

[quote VX220EDDIE]£25165? yes i know there will probably be huge discounts on offer but its still a lot of cash! nice looking machine though! i'm glad there keeping the existing Zafira going aswell as this one, it makes sense especially if the new one is so expensive! VXR /OPC Version please :)[/quote]

It is expensive, so it does make sense to keep the old one going. Still, a very complete car with impressive performance and economy figures taking into account it's weight. Nothing like the original though; the cost is a little excessive, although then again, it is a lot of car for the money.

A LWB Meriva with seven seats could be sold to replace the current Zafira and sold alongside the new Zafira, although I would prefer to see the older one kept on for a bit more, as it is a very good car.

7 October 2011

[quote Big S]

I guess this one is supposed to be the Galaxy equivalent in the market, and the ordinary Zafira the S-Max. Nice looking machine, but it does look more S-Max sized inside.

[/quote]

Vauxhall are aiming this car at the Galaxy / S-Max and trying to do a one size fits all job with it. The current car will continue to go head to head with the 7 seat C-Max.

As for this car...

Okay, it doesn't set the world alight but it is a solid product that no doubt find many sales. I am slightly disappointed by the lack of innovation but the biggest error in judgement has to be the lack of a sliding rear door.

 

 

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

jer

7 October 2011

[quote Fidji]£25165[/quote] I think many on this forum are surprised at the list prices for new cars. Putting aside discounts for a moment someone is buying these cars so either we are either out of touch or not rich enough to buy in to a Zafira! I think also a factor is when you are knowledgeable or in the same trade you don't fall for the froth and marketing that surrounds a product and take a more cynical view on what is value for money.

7 October 2011

[quote VX220EDDIE]£25165? [/quote]

I think we need to remember that this is the most powerful diesel engine in top Elite spec. It seems to me that it's priced more or less against the equivelent S-Max.

It's a nice looking car. I can't believe how far Vauxhall has come on recently. My wife has recently bought a new Meriva and I can't believe the difference between it and her old one. It feels like it's moved on at least 2 generations. It's now a good car in its own right rather than a cheap feeling, supermini based van with clever seats and dangerous a-pillars.

7 October 2011

[quote VX220EDDIE]£25165? yes i know there will probably be huge discounts on offer but its still a lot of cash![/quote]

its still £1500 cheaper than the new Civic range topper and from a class or two above.

Vauxhalls steadily improve, needs to be called Opel really.

7 October 2011

The Astra and Insignia fail in the looks department do they?

What short-sighted chimp wrote this article? Looks are, of course, highly subjective but to write two of the best looking mainstrean car's off in that way sure take's cajones.

I think the writer should probably hand his wages back at the months end.

7 October 2011

[quote Buzz Cagney]

The Astra and Insignia fail in the looks department do they?

What short-sighted chimp wrote this article? Looks are, of course, highly subjective but to write two of the best looking mainstrean car's off in that way sure take's cajones.

I think the writer should probably hand his wages back at the months end.

[/quote]

Looks are a personal preference. I quite like the aesthetics of the Astra and Insignia, but just because someone else doesn't like them doesn't mean that they are a 'short-sighted chimp'.

To be honest, I prefer the Astra and Insignia's looks to that of this Zafira, but as I said, it's a matter of taste.

7 October 2011

Vauxhall should hardly be applauded for the seating arrangements. The middle seat does what the middle seat of the Mazda 5 has done for years (and more recently the C-max, thanks to Mazda). Additionally the awkward mechanism for raising + lowering the rear seats has gone - replaced by the Mazda/Ford, simple, easy mechanism of pulling a strap. Finally the middle row slides individually, like every other MPV out there, as opposed to the awkward, heavy and time-consuming bench of the old model. There is nothing new, nothing innovative and NOTHING done better than any of the competitors out there.

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