From £19,870
Grown-up, all-new Zafira lays down a challenge to Ford and VW’s latest generation of MPVs
Steve Cropley Autocar
15 March 2011

What is it?

Several years ago, GM Europe decided it was time for its people-carriers to grow up. First, it showed a bigger Meriva, based heavily on chassis components from the Zafira, an MPV positioned a size above.

Then, a few weeks ago in Geneva, it showed a concept version of this same Zafira’s forthcoming replacement, around 15cm longer in both wheelbase and overall length, and about 20cm wider.

The new model, due in the UK early next year at prices believed to be three to five per cent ahead of present levels, combines more advanced and refined chassis, steering and brake components from GM’s Astra and Insignia saloons with a far roomier, more stylish interior to throw out a challenge to Ford’s successful S-Max.

What's it like?

We drove two Zafira prototypes last week on winter test in Sweden and the exercise provided powerful evidence of a more sophisticated, re-purposed MPV in prospect.

The cars were a 140bhp 1.4-litre petrol turbo and 165bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Both were equipped with six-speed autos, and both engines will come to the UK, but the slightly more vocal diesel is likely to be the top seller in the UK.

Styling is hard to judge because both cars were disguised, but driving impressions are clear enough. On smooth, flowing, bitumen roads, the Zafira Tourer has a rolling smoothness and comfort well ahead of the outgoing model’s.

The car corners neutrally, copes quietly with ruts and has a flat and supple ride, aided by optional new adaptive dampers. The electric power steering is impressively responsive and seems to provide plenty of feel.

The biggest plus is dramatically improved front-quarter visibility. A new second-row seat layout allows limo-like comfort for two in the rear, but it can also be configured as a seven-seater because of two compact third-row seats, which fold into the loading floor when not needed.

Should I buy one?

A confirmed verdict will have to await assessment of production-spec cars on UK roads, but all signs are that GM has moved to correct the best-known foibles in an already well-liked model, and made it even more suitable for family buyers. If early signs are accurate, the Vauxhall Zafira is about to become a much more powerful force in family motoring.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi Auto

Price: £24,000 (est); Top speed: 120mph (est); 0-62 mph: 9.5sec (est); Economy: 45mpg (est); CO2: 150g/km (est); Kerb weight: 1800kg (est); Engine: 4 cyls, 1998cc, turbodiesel; Power: 165bhp; Torque: 258lb ft; Gearbox: 6-speed auto

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tannedbaldhead 26 March 2011

Re: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Oilburner wrote:

What's the problem with bigger cars? Well let me tell you... :) You clearly don't spend much time going down very narrow Cornish lanes during the hectic school holidays, or have to try and get a toddler into a child seat with just inches to spare from the car parked next to you. That's the beauty of the current Zafira, loads of interior and boot space in very compact external dimensions.

We looked at the new Meriva, it's not big enough inside (although pretty large on the outside!) and those stupid rear suicide doors are a nightmare for rear facing child seats.

I'm not moaning for the sake of it, the current Zafira is a god-send to parents like me, I hope they continue for a few more years whilst I've got young kids.

As I said earlier my Dad runs a MKI and raves above how clever the packaging is on the Zafira. Like Cornwall, Scotland has more than its fair share of narrow rural roads. In such an environment and making it's way and parking in cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh the Zafira's compact dimensions are pretty much a godsend.

Just out of interest has anyone ever sat in their car and thought. "Yeah I really like it but you know what? It'd be perfect if only it was a bit bigger"

TegTypeR 26 March 2011

Re: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Oilburner wrote:

What's the problem with bigger cars? Well let me tell you... :) You clearly don't spend much time going down very narrow Cornish lanes during the hectic school holidays, or have to try and get a toddler into a child seat with just inches to spare from the car parked next to you. That's the beauty of the current Zafira, loads of interior and boot space in very compact external dimensions.

We looked at the new Meriva, it's not big enough inside (although pretty large on the outside!) and those stupid rear suicide doors are a nightmare for rear facing child seats.

I'm not moaning for the sake of it, the current Zafira is a god-send to parents like me, I hope they continue for a few more years whilst I've got young kids.

This is the sort of thing that car company executives should be sat down and made to listen to, may give some of them a big wake up call.

Oilburner 26 March 2011

Re: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

What's the problem with bigger cars? Well let me tell you... :) You clearly don't spend much time going down very narrow Cornish lanes during the hectic school holidays, or have to try and get a toddler into a child seat with just inches to spare from the car parked next to you. That's the beauty of the current Zafira, loads of interior and boot space in very compact external dimensions.

We looked at the new Meriva, it's not big enough inside (although pretty large on the outside!) and those stupid rear suicide doors are a nightmare for rear facing child seats.

I'm not moaning for the sake of it, the current Zafira is a god-send to parents like me, I hope they continue for a few more years whilst I've got young kids.

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