"The interior is highly practical, and with prices undercutting Ford's S-MAX, the Zafira Tourer is an attractive option"
Think of the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer as a stylish, upmarket replacement for the Zafira and a direct competitor to the Ford S-MAX. It's sold side-by-side with the regular car, but with prices from £21,000 – about £6,000 more than the car it effectively replaces. The engine line-up and chassis have been updated for a more stable, involving drive with better performance and cheaper running costs. Our pick would be one of the 2.0-litre diesels – the 163bhp engine in particular – as we expect the petrols will be costly to run.
It's always difficult to make a great-handling MPV, but the Zafira Tourer gets close as it always feels stable and predictable. There's a lot of grip and not too much body roll, although a Ford S-MAX is more fun. The diesel engines suit the car best, particularly the 163bhp 2.0-litre CDTi, which is cheap to run with plenty of power. We’d recommend avoiding the 1.8-litre 138bhp petrol engine, though. The turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol is much better.
The Zafira Tourer is a big car with plenty of space. The middle row of seats slides back and forth to improve legroom for rear passengers, but the rear seats are only suitable for small children. On the move, the suspension soaks up rough roads and external noise is kept low. Add the optional adaptive dampers, and drivers can choose between Tour, Sport and Normal modes for a softer or stiffer ride.
Most of the Zafira Tourer's components have ben proven in other Vauxhalls. The front suspension, 1.4-litre turbo engine and 2.0-litre diesels are used in the Meriva and Insignia, and all the parts have a good reliability record. The Zafira Tourer hasn’t yet been crash tested, but a five-star rating is likely. Buyers can specify lane-keep assist, forward collision assist and blind spot monitoring, too.
The spacious cabin seats seven and adults can sit comfortably in the second row, although they will struggle to fit in the rearmost seats. The seats fold individually depending on what's needed. With five seats up, there's 710 litres of space and with two seats up there's 1,860 litres. A clever new set-up lets you fold the second row middle seat and turn it into an armrest for the outer passengers.
Value for money
Entry-level cars have electric windows and air-con; some even offer parking sensors. As you move further up the range you get automatic climate control, panoramic screens and tinted windows. Zafira Tourer prices start at £1,200 less than the Ford S-MAX.
If you’re worried about running costs, go for the ecoFLEX model; it emits 119g/km of CO2 and offers 62.8mpg economy. For a little bit more power, the other 2.0-litre CDTi engines – even the 163bhp – are quite cheap to run, returning 52.3mpg. Although the petrol engines are quieter and smoother, they are costly to tax and fuel.