Practicality over style.

Introduction

The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is an MPV in its most traditional sense, offering versatile space for seven in a simple one-volume shape. While this family car body style isn’t as fashionable as the SUV has become, it’s fundamentally more practical, and Vauxhall aims to make up the style shortfall with plenty of useful infotainment and safety gear.

 

Body Style: MPV                     Seats: 7                                MRP from £20,910 - £29,120

 

Did you know? The Zafira Tourer has two shark design ‘Easter eggs’ hidden in its cabin. There are similar quirks in the Corsa and Adam.

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆(7.3/10)

It’s easy to underestimate a car that is simply built to do a job. It’s also easy to underestimate the challenge involved in building a good seven-seater, but fortunately Vauxhall hasn’t. The Zafira Tourer is designed for a straightforward purpose and, unsurprisingly, it proves straightforward to live with thanks to a spectrum of useful technologies, an improved interior and plenty of space. The fact that it drives reasonably well just improves the deal.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

 

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

We Like

Good-looking interior

Drives well for its size

Quiet 1.6 diesel engine

We Don't Like

Noisy 2.0 diesel engine

Poor ride on larger wheels

Active safety costs extra

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior:★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Any mainstream MPV is going to fare badly in the image and style stakes. The Zafira Tourer is trying a little too hard to add a sporty edge to its exceptionally bland shape, and it doesn’t really work. On any Friday in any nightclub there’s always a middle-aged man dressed like he’s 18, attempting to mix with people half his age, and the big Vauxhall comes dangerously close to that image.

This is potentially an unavoidable problem with the Zafira Tourer, because higher trim grades bring larger, more aggressively-styled alloy wheels that make the car look a bit incongruous.

Vauxhall can’t make any claims to a premium or particularly desirable brand image, but in its favour is general familiarity and brand awareness. It’s not unlikely that people who learned to drive in a Corsa before buying their own Astra might look favourably on the Zafira Tourer if they need more space.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Thanks to a recent mid-life update, interior quality has gone up. There’s a certain tightness about the dashboard that tends to loosen over time and mileage, but the interior is stylish, with a dominant black interspersed with silver accents even on entry-level trim grades. It looks more expensive than it feels.

The control layout should feel intuitive to the vast majority of drivers. The main systems are split between traditional buttons and dials, and the excellent touchscreen at the top of the centre console. It’s worth noting that some trim levels make do with a more basic interface, though.

Practicality

Arguably the key practicality feature here is the seven-seat arrangement, which can be dropped to five seats with a simple folding mechanism to collapse the third row. Doing so reveals an impressive 710 litres of luggage space. Ahead of all that, the middle row of seats is made up of three independent chairs that can each move forward and back to adjust the legroom bias.

Big rear doors and a high roof make it easy enough to install child seats – and the children themselves – but there are only child-seat mounting points on the outer rear seats. There are large storage bins dotted around the cabin, including a central bin between the front seats that moves on rails to double as an armrest.

Boot space

Min: 182 litres
Max: 1,860 litres 

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Cruise control is standard on all models, and so are front and rear parking sensors – a thoughtful touch from Vauxhall. As well as the touchscreen interface, climate control replaces manual air conditioning about half-way up the range.

DAB radio with AM and FM frequency reception is good, and an Apple iPod can be controlled via a USB port and the main screen. Bluetooth is also standard, as is compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s no CD player, though.

Higher trim grades enjoy the likes of automated headlights and windscreen wipers, plus an automated main beam-assist that switches to dipped headlights when it sees other traffic. Some also have a panoramic sunroof with an electrically-operated sun blind.

More interesting is Vauxhall’s OnStar service, which is free for a year and can connect owners via a mobile phone to an advisor in the event of a crash or breakdown. An operator is even on hand if you simply can’t figure something out about the car. It includes a wifi hotspot, but that element is only free for three months (or 3GB of data) from new.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

This is a long, tall and reasonably heavy car, not predisposed to good handling qualities. Nonetheless, the over-light steering is accurate and the soft suspension actually feels right beneath the large body, calmly controlling body-roll without becoming jarring. If you really pick up the pace, the Tourer can become bouncy – but that’s to be expected.

The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine is sweet and eager, but needs to be worked hard. The diesels are more relaxed, but while the 1.6-litre 134hp unit is by far the quietest, smoothest and best all-rounder, the comparatively gruff 2.0-litre 170hp upgrade is better for carrying heavy loads, be it people or luggage.

A respectable balance of power and handling perfectly suited to a seven-seat MPV is what you can expect from the Zafira Tourer.

Recommended engine: 1.6 CDTi 136

0-62mph

10.4 seconds

Fuel economy

62.8mpg

Emissions

119g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

As well as the reassuring backup provided by the OnStar system, the Zafira Tourer scores well for both active and passive safety. The current car hasn’t yet been tested by Euro NCAP, but its largely identical predecessor scored a maximum five-star rating, including 94 percent for adult occupant protection and 86 percent for its safety assist systems. The facelifted car is only likely to improve.

Unfortunately, the car lacks a spare wheel. One can be specified as an option, but a tyre inflation kit is the standard post-puncture solution. LED daytime running lights are more visible than halogen alternatives, and are standard across the range.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Colours

The only free colour choice is the sad-looking Royal Blue, which does the car no favours. Lava Red and Summit White are £285 options, but still flat. The metallic palette is uninspiring at best, spanning Mineral Black, Satin Steel Grey, Dark Caramel, which is a desperately unappealing brown, Cosmic Grey, Sovereign Silver and Flip Chip Silver. The three pearlescent options are Dark Sea Blue, Macadamia and Emerald Green.

Arguably, Flip Chip Silver is the colour that suits the car best, neither trying too hard nor failing to try hard enough. It’s the simplest option and probably the classiest.

Trim Levels

Vauxhall’s trim ranges are somewhat confusing, not following a linear scale. They pick and choose components based on an overall bias, with SRi acting as the cheapest ‘sporty’ grade and SE offering a similarly-priced alternative biased towards comfort and technology.

Design is the entry-level, but still comes with cruise control, a touch-screen interface, an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat and the same suite of media and connectivity options as the rest of the range. Tech Line provides integrated navigation on top of a basic spec, while Energy adds a few aesthetic extras and a better infotainment unit.

Elite represents the top end of the trim range, adding extras like ambient LED lighting, automated lights and windscreen wipers, dual-zone climate control and more. A panoramic sunroof is limited to Elite spec, as is a special ergonomic driver’s seat with 16 ways of adjustment.

Despite Elite technically being the best-equipped model, sat-nav isn’t standard. But Elite and SRi are two of Vauxhall’s best-selling trim grades across all their applicable models, so both are offered here with a navigation upgrade.

For Elite, this just adds to an already impressive specification, while for SRi it forms a specification highlight on a trim grade focused mainly on aesthetics.

Size and Dimensions

The Zafira Tourer is a big car, being a lengthened version of an already substantial MPV. The length should be accommodated in most single garages, barring obstructions against the wall, but the 2.1-metre width means that it would be tight fit through the door. Folding the mirrors in makes things easier, but in a medium-sized garage there will only be about 40cm either side of the car for doors to open into.

Length

4,666 mm

Width

1,884 mm

Height

1,685 mm

Max towing weight without brake

750kg

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The 1.4 petrol does quite badly for fuel economy, especially with the car loaded up with passengers or cargo. Even so, it’s well suited to an urban life where fuel economy will generally be low in any internal combustion-engined car. Its smoothness, faster warm-up and absence of particulate filter make more sense, as does the relatively low purchase price.

The diesels do better, officially averaging 62.8mpg and 57.7mpg respectively for the manual versions, but that’s likelier to be the efficiency range to expect on a long drive rather than an average.

Tyres could be expensive. Mid-range brands start at £70 per corner before fitting costs for the Zafira Tourer’s 17-inch wheel set, rising to £120 per tyre for the largest (19-inch) cost-option wheels. Emissions drop as low as 119g/km, but thanks to standard safety equipment, insurance should be reasonable.

Reliability and servicing

The only official recall for the Zafira platform in its current guise was a tiny one affecting the steering on just a few cars built during one week in April 2016. Vauxhall is usually in the lower reaches of reliability surveys, but the latest models seem to be on an upward trend.

Minor

12 months or up to 10,000 miles (urban) – £180 est.

Major

24 months or 20,000 miles – £340 est.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Less than £18,700 for a seven-seat Vauxhall MPV sounds extremely reasonable, considering the standard level of equipment is very good. There is a huge price disparity between that 1.4 Turbo Design and the Elite Nav, with the latter almost £7,000 more expensive, at a starting price of £25,495.

That’s actually not bad value for a fully-kitted-out seven-seat MPV in today’s market, and buyers are in a strong position to haggle.

Energy trim represents a big price jump on its own, from Design’s £18,665 all the way up to £21,785 – an increase of £3,120. Tech Line slots into the middle of the two, at £20,360. The SE, SRi and SRi Nav hover between £23,000 and £24,000.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

Large Families

1.6 CDTi SE – good efficiency, a smooth drive and a comfortable ride in all seats for everyone to enjoy.

Company Car Buyer

1.6 CDTi SRi Nav – Looks every inch the part with sports components, and navigation is essential for long business drives.

Cost Conscious

1.4 Turbo Design – Buying a large, seven-seat car for significantly less than £19,000 is no mean feat, and this offers massive value.

Rivals

Ford S-Max

This is the driver’s choice in the seven-seat MPV segment. Easily the best large MPV to drive, the S-Max has impressive handling.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

It’s getting old, but the qualities of space, a cleverly thought-out cabin and great diesel engines endure.

Toyota Proace Verso

More expensive van-derived MPV is much more spacious, with plenty of room for seven adults.

Kia Sorento

The Sorento makes the Zafira Tourer look cheap to buy, but it’s both more substantial and more solid, with a better towing capacity.

Volkswagen Touran

Bland styling hides a simple but effective package with a good all-round mix of abilities, impressive comfort and muscular engines.

What others say

What Car?

“The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is spacious and well equipped, but it’s not as practical or as good to drive as its rivals.”

Carbuyer

“The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a seven-seat MPV that’s good to drive, affordable to run and handsomely styled.”

 

Be part of something big

2017 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer