Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTI13 | 10 | 2011Scotcars rating

    Does the new Vauxhall Zafira Tourer deliver versatility and ecomomy? We find out


    Flexibility is the key word these days. In other words, having one car which can adapt to a whole range of jobs, combining performance with practicality, to return a lively driving experience with the more mundane school run or the supermarket trip. Vauxhall were one of the first off the mark way back in 1999 when they introduced their Zafira, the first compact – and importantly, flexible, seven seater. That saw the appearance of their Flex 7 system which provided seating for up to seven people but the seats folded away when you didn’t need them. Until then, that involved a laborious, and often back-breaking job of removing the unwanted seats and then finding somewhere to store them.

    In the Zafira, they simply folded into the floor. It was a great success and so far more than 450,000 Zafiras have been sold in the UK, with only one facelift along the way. Now the third generation has been unveiled and will be with us early next year … and interestingly, Vauxhall are going to continue to make and sell the current model at a lower price level … .although for a price difference of only a few hundred quid between the top of the range existing Zafira and the entry level new Zafira Tourer. I can’t see why anyone would do that, considering just how much better the new car is and how much equipment is included in the deal.    

    On the Road

    The new Zafira Tourer is certainly an impressive machine, sharing nothing with the existing model. It looks good with a very distinctive front end, highlighted by huge “boomerang” style headlamps. The designers have used all sorts of visual tricks on the side profile to make it look bigger than it actually is and for what is effectively just a large people-carrying box on wheels, it does project a significant image.

    There will be a choice of five trim levels and five engines – a 1.4 and 1.8 petrol and three diesels producing 110, 130 or 165PS, the latter was in the test car. The engine was a delight, ably handling a range of conditions and demands and will easily cope with a family of seven while returning lively performance. 

    Comfort & Safety

    The test car was the top of the range Elite so came stuffed with everything, including leather sports seats, tinted rear windows, ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control (for the first time in this segment)  and seven-speaker DAB radio and CD with USB and MP3 connection. On the safety front, there’s active headrests, six airbags and front and rear park assist. The test car was fitted with the new optional front camera system with four safety functions.

    The Following Distance Indication encourages drivers to keep a safe distance from the car in front by showing the distance away from the car ahead in seconds. If a critical situation develops where a collision is imminent, the Forward Collision Alert sounds an alarm and flashes a basic image of a crashing car on the display. It activated once while I was behind the wheel when I was distracted and hadn’t noticed the traffic in front had suddenly stopped … but even without the system I would have kept control. I’m not sure about the value of the car telling you it’s about to crash.

    The Front Camera also has Traffic Sign Recognition, which identifies key road signs, such as speed-limit warnings, no overtaking signs and even traffic restriction signs. It can also be fitted with Adaptive Forward Lighting to alter the level of the high-beam according to the conditions.

    The test car also came with the panoramic windscreen which sweeps up over your head to give what the designers claim is a “helicopter-like” driving experience. I liked it, but on a sunny day it’s unusable and you have to fold down the roof visor to avoid being blinded. The car is huge inside with 1800 litres of space with all the rear seats folded; even with five seats in use there’s still 710 litres, along with no fewer than 30 individual storage areas.

    Another clever option is the FlexFix bike carrier system which can take up to four bikes at a time and when not in use, folds and stores in a slot at the back of the car.  

    Should you buy one?

    If you want flexibility with style, this is it … and it’s great value for money.

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £25,165 / £25,165
    Engine / Power: 1956cc / 165PS
    How fast?: 0-62mph 9.1secs,  Max 129mph
    How big/heavy?: H1685mm W1884mm L4658mm
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 54.3mpg / CO2 137g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: n.a / Band E £115
    Alternatives: VW Touran; Renault Grand Scenic; Ford S-Max; Peugeot 5008

    User Comments

    Login or register to post comments.
    Send to friend
    Click here to add message:

Car Review Finder