The Vauxhall Zafira has a cabin that screams old school Vauxhall and dates from a time where there was not an overwhelming compulsion to give everything a premium look and feel. So what you get is a soundly executed cabin of reasonable quality and engineering commonsense with absolutely no sense of occasion whatsoever.

It is nothing if not functional. The Flex7 system allows all bar the driver’s seat to fold forward to create a gargantuan load area, bigger even than that of Mercedes E-Class Estate, the largest conventional estate on the market. 

Hilton Holloway

Associate editor
Vauxhall has taken the Zafira’s existing strengths and made even more of them

Even with five of its seven seats in place it’ll swallow 645 litres, which is only a fraction less than the vast Benz will manage with its rear seats raised. Only when all seven seats are in place does the capacity shrink to a small but still not entirely useless 140 litres.

Turn your attention to human occupancy and you’ll find that for the usual complement of two in the back and two in the front, the Zafira is splendidly effective. There’s plenty of everything: leg room, head room and stowage space and while the middle seats don’t slide individually, the bench moves forward to allow you to vary the ratio of space allocated to passengers and their luggage.

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To raise the rearmost seats you need to slide the bench forward but then they flip up easily enough and are accessed via a aperture behind the middle seat row that’s small but adequate given the likely proportions of the small children who’ll be using them. 

Indeed while the Zafira is technically a seven seater, it’s more helpful to think of it as a five plus two, the rear most seats lacking sufficient leg room for anything other than very small people and, usually, very short journeys too.

Up the front, the driving position is sound and suitably elevated, and helped by both a height adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel at moves in and out as well as up and down. 

Unfortunately the dash design has not aged as well as the exterior of the car. Slabs of largely unrelieved grey plastic punctuated by grey switches weren’t that stylish back in 2005 and really make the car feel its age today.

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