The original Zafira was the first compact seven-seater on our streets and now, with the launch of the Tourer, it is even more practical. The seating arrangement has been much copied since its launch and is probably the ultimate way to get 7 people into a car.
It must of taken an age for the OCD Vauxhall designers to come up with it. It has three individual seats in the second row and two in the back row. The SE and Elite spec cars have a seat in the centre of the middle row that folds into an armrest and the two remaining seats can be moved inwards and back, affording the occupants extra leg and shoulder room. Full loaded there is not much room left for luggage but with only 5 on-board, there is ample space on the flat floor. The dash is well laid out although with the use of acres of plastic, it does all look a tad drab but everything is solidly bolted down and based on the tiny hands that will be pulling, twisting and yanking at everything in sight, it’s just as well. There are enough cubby holes and storage areas to keep anyone happy.
The engine line-up is impressive, or confusing, whichever way you want to look at it but whilst the 1.6-litre diesel used to be a noisy old lump, it is now vastly improved and as quiet as anything else in this sector and manages 86.9 mpg. For those that don’t do much mileage, the 1.4-litre is worth a look but with 7 up, it might struggle.
On the road it is supple and competent with a good driving position, great all-round vision and pretty good suspension that soaks up all but the largest bumps. My only gripe would be the funky A pillar that affords you an extra triangle of glass and a sweeping windscreen but effectively leaves you with 2 A pillars and restricted vision which, oddly, is exactly what it is designed not to do.
It does have some interesting gizmos. The Vauxhall OnStar system alerts the emergency services if you have a crash, offers a Wi-Fi hotspot, stolen vehicle assistance and engine diagnostics.
For a tall car, it corners and handles pretty well and has enough grunt to get you up the road but this car is not about power and speed. The average buyer has a horde of kids, does endless school runs and numerous tours around the Asda car park therefore versatility, space and the ease of driving are the really important things.
And in this regard, it hits the spot.
Model tested: 2.0 SE CDTi 170ps
Power: 170 bhp
Performance: 0-60mph: 9.1 seconds
Top Speed: 129 mph
Economy: 57.7 mpg combined
Base price: £25,450.00
As tested: £26,800.00