During a road test such as this, it’s always a pleasure to unfurl the subject car’s secrets over a matter of time and a number of sections and we hope you feel the same about receiving them that way. But today that’s not going to happen because the single most remarkable aspect of the Vauxhall Zafira you’re looking at now is already obvious: the fact we’re writing about it at all.
For this is a car that first went on sale in 2005, the year in which YouTube hosted its first video. In an era where product cycles are so short cars are almost always replaced within seven years and sometimes as few as five, the fact it has survived not only the passage of time, but the arrival of an all new model, the Zafira Tourer, which itself has been revised in autumn 2016, stands as testament to the rightness of its original design.
And a characteristic of a section of the general public. It was Citroën who first spotted that some cars need not be in the first nor even the second flush of youth to sell.
What they needed was to be cheap and the kind of car bought through need rather than want, circumstance rather than choice. Hence its Xsara Picasso continued to sell well into its dotage not just because it was available for a knockdown price (although at £9995 it was), but also because for a certain constituency of the car buying community, they didn’t require anything more and responded positively to not being asked to pay for abilities that held no value for them.
This same principle explains the existence of the Zafira for three years after it was effectively replaced by the larger Zafira Tourer in 2011. The old Zafira undercut the new Zafira Tourer by a significant margin at the bottom end of the range and a sizeable one at the top.
Even so it’s not that much cheaper give the gulf in age and ability. The question is then, how much can you haggle off the price with the dealer (a lot) and can a car as old as the Zafira then be made to make sense?