Zafira does without Astra VXR's UK-tuned suspension
Aggressive looks work well, but VXR Zafira makes little sense
237bhp turbo 2.0-litre shared with Astra
Wheel, gearlever and front seats come from VXR Astra
Supportive seats and chunky wheel, but people in the back aren't so lucky
Rearmost seats fold flat, fold them all and it becomes the fastest van on the roads
Should this badge really be on an MPV?
6-spoke alloys match those of VXR Astra and Vectra
Zafira convinces neither as a performance car nor MPV
Unlike Astra VXR, hot Zafira doesn't get UK-specific suspension settings
Is Vauxhall’s Zafira VXR the most pointless car since the automatic Mitsubishi Lancer Evo?The combination of 237bhp two-litre engine and six-speed gearbox has already made the hot Astra one of the most brutal performance cars on the market, and not to everyone’s taste as a result. So the same drivetrain under the Zafira MPV is surely a combination that takes niche to new extremes.Inside, the Zafira’s packaging is typically clever — plenty of oddment space, the same trick seating arrangement as on the bread-and-butter models. Indeed, there’s precious little to indicate that you’re sitting in something special – a touch of aluminium on the dash, a bit of VXR branding and a ‘Sport’ button that weights up the steering and improves the already-impressive throttle response.You sit high enough, though, to be conscious that this is not a performance hatchback. The gearstick certainly doesn’t help – it’s topped by a huge, square, heavily-stitched knob that’s hard on the hand and a pain on long journeys.On the road the Zafira is just bonkers. The chassis plainly struggles to cope with press-on driving and the stiffened settings make the ride uncomfortably harsh around town.Suffice to say you’d need wipe-clean upholstery if you were planning to take the kids along to watch you wheel-twirl your way round some country lanes on a Sunday morning thrash.That, if anything, is the Zafira’s biggest problem. It’s too harsh a package for everyday MPV use, and still too much of an MPV to make it an effective performance car. The end result is an amusing diversion for a day or two – but I can’t for the life of me think who’d actually want one of these for daily use. Same as the Lancer, really.