Vauxhall Zafira Tourer MPV
Price £20,195 - £29,285
- Stylish looks
- Efficient diesels
- Flexible and spacious interior
- Ford S-MAX is better to drive
- Lower-powered diesels feel rough
- Third row of seats is only for kids
At a glance
"An extremely practical and spacious interior makes the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer an attractive option."
Unusually, the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer hasn't completely replaced the standard Vauxhall Zafira. Instead, it's a more stylish and upmarket version – a rival for the Ford S-MAX. It costs roughly £6,000 more than the standard Zafira, starting at £21,000, and for that you get a more striking-looking car with more standard equipment.
The engine line-up and suspension have been updated to offer a more involving driving experience, better performance and lower running costs. We’d recommend one of the 2.0-litre diesel engines (the 163bhp one is particularly good), because the petrols cost more to run. For fast-moving families, there's even a high-performance BiTurbo model, which produces 192bhp and does 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds.
The Tourer comes in six specifications – ES, Exclusiv, Tech Line, SRi, SE and top-of-the-range Elite.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Diesel engines are cheap to run, particularly the ecoFLEX versions
If keeping running costs as low as possible is important, then we’d recommend the ecoFLEX model, which emits 119g/km of CO2 and returns 62.8mpg fuel economy. If you want a bit more performance, the other 2.0-litre CDTi engines are still relatively cheap to run, with even the punchy 163bhp version returning 52.3mpg. However, while the petrol engines are quieter and smoother, they're more expensive to tax and fuel.
Engines, drive & performance
Diesel engines offer the best performance, but the Ford S-MAX is more fun to drive
Manufacturers always struggle to make MPVs handle well, because they have to be wide, long and high, as well as being able to carry lots of people and luggage. The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a good effort, though. It always feels predictable, stable and secure on the road, with lots of grip and a lot less body lean in corners than you’d expect.
The Ford S-MAX is still more fun to drive, but the Zafira Tourer exceeds expectations all the same. The diesel engines suit the car best – particularly the 163bhp 2.0-litre CDTi and even more powerful 192bhp BiTurbo – as they're relatively cheap to run but still offer plenty of performance.
If you want a petrol, steer clear of the gutless 138bhp 1.8-litre engine and go for the the livelier 1.4-litre turbo instead.
Interior & comfort
Spacious interior seats seven in relative comfort - but only for short journeys
The Zafira Tourer is a huge car, so there’s plenty of space inside. The middle row of seats can slide backwards and forwards to increase rear legroom or boot space depending on your needs, but the third row is really only suitable for children.
The soft suspension soaks up most bumps and potholes you'll encounter, while road, wind and tyre noise is kept fairly low. If you add the optional adaptive dampers, you’ll be able to choose between Tour, Normal and Sport modes, which offer a soft, balanced and sporty ride respectively.
Practicality & boot space
Seating for up to seven with flexibility of a van-like boot
Practicality is the Zafira Tourer's forte. It has a very spacious interior that can seat seven adults reasonably comfortably, provided you sit shorter people in the back row. The seats fold individually with ease, and with five seats in place, there's a massive 710 litres of boot space. This expands to a van-like 1,860 litres if you fold down the middle row, too. A clever new set-up lets you fold the middle seat in the second row and turn it into an armrest for the two outer passengers.
Reliability & safety
Vauxhall took a tumble in the 2013 Driver Power survey, but safety should be top-notch
Vauxhall took a bit of a tumble in the Driver Power 2013 customer satisfaction survey, falling a hefty 13 places down to 26th in the manufacturer rankings.
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is still too new to feature in the survey, but the standard Zafira ranked 145th out of the top 150 cars, which is in line with Vauxhall’s poor overall performance. Most of the Tourer's components have been proven in other Vauxhalls, however, so it should prove reliable. The front suspension, 1.4-litre petrol engine and 2.0-litre diesels are used in the Meriva and Insignia.
The Zafira Tourer has yet to be crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but a five-star rating is likely. Electronic stability control and driver, passenger and curtain airbags are all fitted as standard. Buyers can also add optional lane-keeping assistance, forward collision assistance and blind-spot monitoring.
Price, value for money & options
Not as well equipped as the Ford S-MAX
Sit inside a Zafira Tourer and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the upmarket interior. There are plenty of soft-touch materials and standard equipment is good – even entry-level ES cars have 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a DAB digital radio, cruise control and electric heated door mirrors as standard.
However, all models trail the Ford S-MAX when it comes to standard equipment and value for money. Mid-range Exclusiv models add front foglights, parking sensors, trip computer, a USB port, electric rear windows and extra storage cubbies, while Tech Line models and above also include sat nav and a Bluetooth connection.
The top-spec Elite car throws in an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, electronic climate control, automatic windscreen wipers, heated front seats, plus a panoramic windscreen and sunroof. Zafira Tourer prices start at about £1,200 less than the Ford S-MAX, but its second-hand resale values are significantly worse.