What is it?
Vauxhall’s solution to the S-Max problem. Don’t let the Zafira name fool you; this is bigger, better-rounded car intended to compete at the increasingly busy seven-seat end of the compact MPV market.
The Tourer will sit above the current Zafira in Vauxhall’s lineup, and is intended as a premium alternative to its humdrum sibling. Not that the pair share much DNA: the larger car sits on a bespoke platform which affords it an additional 57mm of length in the wheelbase and a substantially wider track.
It also also borrows several major chassis components from the Insignia and Astra to improve dynamic performance, and offer the saloon-like responses which has earned Ford so much critical acclaim.
Inside the Flex7 seating system – once the Zafira’s party trick – has been redesigned and the car’s cabin materials have been upgraded. The motor lineup is propped up by an aged 1.8-litre and new-fangled 1.4-litre petrol engines, but three versions of the same 2.0-litre diesel unit (108bhp, 127bhp and 162bhp) will form the vast majority of sales.
What’s it like?
Conspicuously handsome. Vauxhall’s evolutionary style has been threatening a looker for some time now, and with the bullet train-inspired Tourer it has finally succeeded where the Astra and Insignia failed. By design MPV’s cannot veer far from a preformed cube, but from boomerang headlights to ‘blade’ flanks, Vauxhall’s British-led team has produced a polished head turner.
If only the interior were equally worthy of such praise. Despite the manufacturer insisting that the cabin was shaped around its 30 storage compartments, there are too few innovative places to wedge unwanted items in the Tourer’s murky, button-festooned dash. Material choices have improved, but the real savior inside is the redesigned Flex7 seating system.
Sensibly borrowing from its rivals, Vauxhall has replaced the second row bench with three individually adjustable rear seats, which of course can be folded flat to reveal a palatial 1860 litres of load space. It has also used its own ingenuity to introduce a Lounge Seating option which transforms the rarely used middle chair via mechanical origami into a huge arm rest/sibling divider.