Vauxhall Zafira Tourer MPV (2012-2018)
"The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a seven-seat MPV that’s good to drive, affordable to run and handsomely styled"
- Flexible, spacious interior
- Good safety rating
- Decent to drive
- In-cabin storage could be cleverer
- Only two second-row seats have ISOFIX
- Most rivals have more standard equipment
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a large MPV with enough room for five adults and two kids, or even seven adults at a push. A direct rival to the Ford S-MAX, Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, SEAT Alhambra and Renault Grand Scenic, the Vauxhall might not be quite as funky as the radical Citroen, but looks and feels impressively modern inside and out.
The Zafira's plentiful standard equipment is a definite strong suit, but the car's versatility is at the heart of its appeal. It can quickly be reconfigured depending on how many you need to carry – its second and third-row seats fold flat into the floor to give a van-like loading space if you have outsize loads to shift.
With all seven seats in place, the Zafira Tourer is comfortable enough for five adults in the main rows, although the middle seat can be a bit of a squeeze. The second row can also slide, adjusting legroom, while the third row is best suited to children, but can be used by nimble adults for shorter trips. The rear doors open nice and wide for improved access, but unlike some rivals, there aren’t many clever cubbies to put things in.
The engine range is quite simple for a Vauxhall, with just one petrol – a 1.4-litre turbo with 138bhp – and two diesel engines. The smaller version is a 1.6-litre with 132bhp, while there’s also a 2.0-litre model with 168bhp, which is the best choice if you plan on filling the Tourer with people or luggage. Strangely, though, the 1.6-litre can actually tow a heavier trailer, which is handy to know if you plan on towing a caravan.
For many drivers, the 1.6-litre diesel is probably the best choice, with decent power and the best running costs. It can return 62.8mpg and emits 119g/km of CO2, versus the 57.7mpg and 129g/km of the 2.0-litre engine, while also costing less to buy. Petrol versions are cheaper still, but depending on your mileage, that engine’s 44.1mpg and 156g/km of CO2 could cost you more in the long run.
Based on the same chassis as the Vauxhall Insignia, the Zafira Tourer is quite good to drive, feeling very stable in corners, with minimal body lean. The steering is accurate and has decent feel for the road, which is quite rare in this class, but really this MPV is most at home on the motorway, where it’s a quiet cruiser.
There are five trim levels and all are well equipped with Vauxhall's OnStar communications system, which links you to Vauxhall's assistance service as well as providing a wi-fi connection and destination advice – although a subscription is required. Every Zafira has air-conditioning and alloy wheels at least 17 inches across, while TechLine Nav adds sat nav and dual-zone climate control and SRi and SRi Nav offer a sportier look with 18-inch alloys and front foglights. The Elite Nav flagship boasts heated leather seats and a panoramic sunroof.
Safety is clearly top priority for families and the Zafira Tourer has a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating to reassure buyers. Front, side and curtain airbags are fitted as standard, along with ISOFIX child-seat mounts for the outer rear seats. Owner satisfaction isn't a Vauxhall strong suit, though – it finished 23rd out of 27 brands in our 2017 Driver Power survey. Not every owner is disappointed, though, and the practical, convenient latest Zafira deserves its popularity.