The 2.0 CDTi diesel manages to simultaneously provide some of the strongest and weakest features of the Zafira Tourer. A fat wad of torque pulls this big Vauxhall ahead with the kind of stout enthusiasm that can make short work of journeys. There’s little noticeable delay before the turbo is boosting, to provide a solid seam of power from 1300rpm to 3500rpm.
However, the fact that it tapers off some way before 4000rpm is a clue to the old-school nature of this engine. More modern competitors offer wider powerbands and deliver with less rattling fuss. Not that you’ll need to study the rev counter and rates of progress to deduce that this engine needs some manners.
You hear a lightly industrial chatter from the moment you fire it up, and the noise doesn’t entirely subside even when the engine has warmed up. Of course, it’s far from unbearable; the soundtrack is elevated to greater prominence by the Zafira’s general quietness. But the lack of polish makes it harder to forget that you’re occupying a voluminous vehicle with a suspiciously van-like silhouette.
Wet weather prevented the 2.0 CDTi from thrusting the Zafira to 60mph in the claimed 9.1sec when we tested it at MIRA proving ground – we managed 10.4sec – but the snappier 6.8sec required to propel it from 40mph to 60mph in fourth, for example, gives a better idea of how brisk this Zafira can be.
Better still, it manages decent economy, our 38.1mpg aided by a reasonably unobtrusive stop-start system. Like most cars with stop-start, the system defaults to ‘on’, but it can be turned off in slow-moving traffic via an ‘Eco’ button on the centre console.
The 1.4-litre turbo is a more refined offering, and would be our choice if economy isn’t your top priority.