£18,665 - £29,630 Price range
40 - 62 MPG
The Zafira Tourer got a mild facelift mid-2016 that changed the styling in the front to match the new Astra and also updated the interior with newer tech.
Inside, the facelifted Zafira is a welcome improvement over the old model with its simplified controls and soft-touch materials. An eight-inch touchscreen takes centre stage, with Vauxhall’s OnStar system coming as standard, and featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as desirable options. Thanks to versatile seating the Zafira is very practical – there are several ways to rearrange the rear seats if you want more luggage or passenger space.
Critics are pleasantly surprised by the lively steering, limited body roll and grip of the Zafira Tourer and say it’s more fun to drive than most MPVs. The optional adaptive dampers that Vauxhall calls ‘FlexRide’ constantly adjust the chassis to the driving situation or driver preferences via selectable driving modes.
The Zafira Tourer was the first Vauxhall to get the new aluminium 1.6-litre Whisper diesel and it immediately became the most frugal and quietest engine in the line-up. The 2.0-litre diesel on the other hand is quite industrial in its operation, but has more pulling power – useful if you’re often carting around five people or lots of luggage.
Trim levels are generous – all cars getting air conditioning, cruise control, DAB digital radio and a multi-functional steering wheel, but top-spec cars can cost a lot of money.
Inside is where people carriers really need to excel, and the Zafira has always been one of the cleverer mini MPVs. The dashboard has a premium feel thanks to aluminium trim pieces and soft touch materials. The controls are light and placed where you expect them to be, but the multitude of buttons can be overwhelming at a glance.
The thin A pillars combined with the panoramic windscreen provide good all-round visibility, but because the Zafira is one of the biggest in its class, parking sensors are highly recommended.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Passenger space
The new model has grown so there’s more space inside and the Flex7 seating is as easy to use as ever. There are many ways to rearrange the rear seats – when the middle seat is folded down you can fold up the side bolsters of the backrest and have a pair of long, padded armrests for passengers in the back. The two outer seats can also be manoeuvred inboard for more elbow room.
The rearmost seats, like in most MPVs, are only really suitable for children, but access is very easy thanks to the sliding middle row.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer boot space and storage
The Zafira’s 710-litre boot falls behind the Ford S-Max (965 litres) and SEAT Alhambra (809 litres) but is larger than the Kia Carens’ 492-litre boot. The comparatively small load space is not helped by a narrow floor and a low parcel shelf. Once you fold the seats down the 1,860 litres that open up are still behind the S-Max or Alhambra at max capacity that can pack 2,020 and 2,297 litres respectively.
There are plenty of cubbyholes inside but the reviews say the ones around the driver aren’t that usefully sized.
Despite its size the Zafira Tourer’s handing is certainly impressive, with some reviewers giving it top scores, and others putting it just behind the Ford S-Max in terms of driving pleasure.
The ride, on the other hand, has received mixed reviews. There’s no doubting the Zafira’s stability, and it “deals with bigger bumps well”, but its pothole-absorbing capabilities could be better.
There are optional adaptive dampers that are well worth the premium and are recommended by experts.
Much like the seating possibilities the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer comes with a good number of powertrain options. There’s a lot to choose from: petrol and diesel engines, automatic and manual gearboxes, and there’s also a start-stop function to aid fuel economy.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer petrol engines
Vauxhall have ditched the asthmatic non-turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol that was at the bottom of the line-up and for a good reason – without the help of a turbocharger it used too much fuel and was slow.
The new 1.4-litre turbo petrol, on the other hand, is much better on fuel achieving a claimed combined fuel economy figure of 42mpg and providing the Zafira Tourer with lively performance. 154g/km of CO2, however, means a hefty £180 annual road tax bill.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer diesel engines
Among the diesels it’s a toss up between the new aluminium 1.6-litre or the 163hp 2.0-litre, the latter has more power, of course. There’s also a more powerful bi-turbo diesel which offers 192hp but loses out on fuel economy, offering about 51mpg.
The 1.6-litre is the cheapest to run with a fuel economy of 68.9mpg and will cost £20 in road tax thanks to CO2 emissions of 109g/km. The larger engines are inevitably less fuel efficient and bump up the road tax by around £100.
Putting a 1.4-litre engine in a big MPV like the Zafira Tourer sounds foolhardy, until you realise that it’s turbocharged, and makes the same 138bhp as the naturally-aspirated 1.8. However, the small engine and that turbocharger mean better economy, and stronger torque - making it a more sensible choice than the 1.8.
Initial impressions are positive - critics say it’s a torquey engine, and relatively smooth until you get to higher revs, though you probably won’t be driving it like a sports car anyway. It’s a decent performer, with 60mph arriving in under 10 seconds.
Average economy is 44.8mpg, and road tax costs aren’t too drastic. Higher-mileage drivers might want to consider the even more economical diesels, though. Testers also comment that the diesel engines make for much more relaxing progress.
Testers say it’s a little rattly at low revs, but not terribly so. More of concern is the performance on offer. 130 horsepower doesn’t sound too bad, but the Zafira Tourer is a large car and it only just hauls its bulk along - with a full complement of passengers and luggage it might begin to struggle.
There's an even lower power diesel on sale as well, although it hasn't been reviewed yet, based on what these critics have said about this engine it certainly wouldn’t be worth considering.
The CDTi’s main issue is a paucity of power, so with an extra 30-odd horsepower the 165 should be much more capable of hauling along car and family. Testers say the engine is smooth and refined at speed, albeit a little rattly at lower revs and lower speeds, but you could live with it.
Performance isn’t bad either, at 9.1 seconds to 60mph and a top speed of 129mph. For a relatively large car, an average of 54.3mpg isn’t bad either, though of course this will head south rapidly the more people and things you pile on board. Still, the experts say the engine is torquey, so it’ll be able to handle a bit of extra weight.
This engine is expected to be the Zafira Tourer’s biggest seller, combining decent pace with good economy - so it needs to be a good’un. Luckily, it’s not too bad.
The main complaint is that it gets quite noisy at higher revs, but drivers shouldn’t have to venture up there too often, since there’s enough torque to pull the car along, even with a family and their paraphernalia on board.
With CO2 emissions of 119g/km, and average fuel economy of 62.8mpg, it should prove inexpensive for those families to run, and this makes it the recommended choice in the Zafira Tourer range. It’s better than the petrol turbo, and more economical than the more powerful variant of the diesel.
The MPV also gets other driver assists like the intelligent front camera system which alerts the driver in case of an unintentional lane change or if a frontal collision is imminent.
It can read and remember speed limits, and it also indicates the distance between you and the vehicle ahead. To top it all off, it received a five star Euro NCAP rating too.
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer range is priced a bit lower than the Ford S-Max and SEAT Alhambra models but those rivals get more standard kit.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Design
The entry-level Zafira gets the bare minimum of equipment required for family life including air-con, cruise control, roof rails, a Bluetooth phone connection and all-round electric windows.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Energy
With equipment levels almost identical to the Design trim, the Zafira Energy is more focused towards convenience and comes with tinted rear windows, front fog lights and roof rails painted in silver.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Exclusiv
The Exclusiv trim level adds more colour and style as well as some convenient equipment. This is the first trim level to get all-round parking sensors as standard while the interior gets more storage areas, a front centre armrest and ambient lighting in the roof.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SRi
The SRi is the sporty trim level aiming to bridge the gap to the Ford S-Max and comes with sports chassis, pedals and seats, stylish 18-inch alloys, a leather wrapped steering wheel and a rear roof spoiler.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SE
SE trim adds a bit of luxury and some useful labour-saving devices. This is the first trim level that gets the FlexSeat seating arrangement, automatic wipers, ambient lighting in the front doors, chrome-effect window surrounds and Vauxhall’s OnStar system, which offers a handful of useful features such as a wi-fi hotspot and can contact authorities in the event of a crash.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Elite
The top-of-the-line Zafira Tourer tries really hard to feel upmarket – you get leather upholstery, heated front sports seats with extendable cushions,sat-nav, four-way electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, a panoramic windscreen as well as a panoramic sunroof.
Both the Mokka X and the Zafira Tourer are available with the option of LED headlights. For full details, read our dedicated Vauxhall Mokka X and Zafira Tourer LED headlights guide.
The Zafira Tourer should definitely be on your shopping list if you’re in the market for a good-looking MPV that drives well. The interior is pleasant, the Flex7 seating option is a bonus for families and trips to the dump, the level of refinement and frugality is also commendable.
It might not be as driver-oriented as the Ford S-Max, but handles well for its size and scores high on safety too. It’s a sensible MPV choice.
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