What is it?
It’s a measure of the car-makers’ faith in down-sizing that a mere 1.4 litres can be asked to haul along a sizeable MPV of seven seats and modestly luxurious interior.
More than that, this 1.4 petrol turbo costs more than the entry-level 1.8 despite offering the same 138bhp. The logic of this becomes soon apparent when you discover that it provides a sixth gear, more torque to pull it, stronger performance, better economy and emissions of 158g/km instead of 169g/km.
What's it like?
The reality is as convincing as the numbers, too. There’s a good spread of power to work with from low down to over 5000rpm,and if the engine gets a little resonant as it nears the 6000rpm rev limiter, there’s rarely much need to venture there.
That’s not because you won’t want to use the turbo’s go either, one of the most surprising plusses of this bigger Zafira being its deft way with corners. The lack of body roll is impressive for a relatively tall machine, so is its grip and chassis balance and you’ll enjoy fluidly precise steering that subtly encourages you to take advantage of its abilities.
Unfortunately there is a trade-off, the ride sometimes turning pattery and unsettled, although the suspension deals with bigger crests and dips effectively.
Another fine feature, and one more expected in such a machine, is what Vauxhall calls lounge seating, the outboard seats of the middle row sliding in-board and closer to a folded middle seat whose backrest bolsters cleverly double as armrests.
Should I buy one?
The result is a very practical and versatile machine that’s pleasant to sit in – unless you’re a bigger kid banished to row three – well-finished and almost as engaging a drive as Ford’s S-Max. A shame it’s so pricey, and short of sat nav and Bluetooth connectivity too.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SE 1.4 Turbo
Price: £24,005; Top speed: 126mph; 0-62mph: 9.9sec; Economy: 44.8mpg; Co2: 148g/km; Kerbweight: 1571kg; Engine: 4-cyls in-line 1364cc; Power: 138bhp at 4900-6000rpm; Torque: 148lb ft at 1850-4900rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual.