Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012-2018) Review
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is a good value seven-seat family car, but it does feel outdated
Strengths & weaknesses
- Quiet cruiser
- Practical interior
- Smooth ride comfort
- No four-wheel-drive option
- Dashboard is a sea of buttons
- Rearmost seats most suited to kids
Vauxhall Zafira prices from £6,995 Finance from £132.26 per month
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer was one of the very best family cars you could buy a decade ago. However, it subsequently became clear that the market for spacious people carriers simply isn't there anymore thanks to the monumental popularity of SUVs, so the Zafira was quietly taken out of production in 2018. So if you want to make use of one of the most practical cars there ever was, you'll have to buy a used one.
Which is a shame. Because when approaching a family car like this with the head in control of the heart, there is plenty to recommend about the Zafira Tourer. One of its most appealing features is the third row of seats that fold flush into the floor, meaning you either have seven seats, or a huge amount of boot space.
It's also incredibly good value, even more so now that its only available on the used market, a car of this size and quality for less than £15,000 is an absolute bargain compared with similarly equipped seven-seat SUVs of around the same age.
Also in that price range are similarly neglected people carriers including the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, Ford Grand C-Max, Renault Grand Scenic and Volkswagen Touran. If you need something bigger you also have the option of a Ford S-Max, Seat Alhambra or VW Sharan. You'll like be looking at older, higher mileage models for the same price as a Zafira Tourer, but you get much more overall space for passengers and luggage.
The car underwent a facelift and simplifications to the engine range in 2016. There are three core engines for used car buyers – a petrol and two diesels, which will have differing appeal depending on your usage. Most will be happy with the smooth and economical 1.6-litre diesel, which Vauxhall calls a 'Whisper' diesel. Admittedly, there are some people carriers that feel less like a half-asleep parent, and are a little bit more stimulating to drive. The Ford S-Max is the best in that respect.
However, when sitting at 70mph on the motorway the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer makes a good case for itself as a long distance cruiser, as it's quieter than the Renault Grand Scenic or Ford S-Max.
The most important factor in a family people carrier is space and practicality and in this area the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is right up there. Pockets and compartments abound. The seats all fold flat into the floor but when in use the middle seat in the second row is narrow and there's a hump in the floor that’s annoying. The rearmost seats too aren't really large enough to seat adults for any meaningful duration, but that’s an issue in common with most cars in this class.
And even though there's a large, panoramic windscreen, the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer's small windows and dark trim means it feels less airy and spacious than the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.
The Zafira also scored a maximum five star Euro NCAP rating when it launched, but it only features two Isofix mounts for child seats, where several rivals will offer three.
|3 years/60,000 miles
|152 litres/710 litres/1860 litres (7 seats up/5 seats up/seats down)
|Tax (min to max)
Best Vauxhall Zafira for...
Best for Economy – Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6CDTi Start/Stop ecoFLEX Manual – Design
The 1.6-litre 'Whisper' diesel engine in this Vauxhall Zafira Tourer returns a claimed 68.9mpg and road tax of just £20 a year makes this a great choice for those wishing to spend as little as possible on fuel and tax.
Best for Families – Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6CDTi Start/Stop ecoFLEX Manual – SE
This is a great-value trim level and it comes as standard with OnStar, Vauxhall's concierge and connectivity service. Kids will love the 4G wireless connection.
Best for Performance – Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0CDTi 170PS Start/Stop ecoFLEX Manual – SRi
The powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine in this car provides plenty of performance and SRi trim adds sporty details like bigger alloy wheels, sports pedals and a roof spoiler.
One to Avoid – Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2.0CDTi 170PS ecoFLEX AT6 – Elite
This engine and trim level make the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer a very expensive car indeed, without much extra equipment – it even misses out on fuel-saving Start/Stop technology.
2012: Model launched. Early cars were available with a 1.8-litre petrol and 1.7-litre diesel both of which are best avoided
2013: Vauxhall introduces the 1.6CDTi diesel engine which is the pick of the range
2014: Vauxhall drop the older Zafira from its range making this the brand's only 7-seat MPV
2015: Older models of Zafira are recalled after some caught on fire but this doesn't affect the Zafira Tourer
2018: Zafira Tourer is discontinued
Understanding Vauxhall Zafira names
Trim options are Design, Energy, Tech Line, SRi, SE, Exclusiv and Elite - though not all are available with every engine.
Engine 1.6 CDTi 136PS
There are five engine choices - petrol 1.4i, and diesel 1.6 CDTi and 2.0 CDTi are the newest. Older cars also came with a 1.8-litre petrol or a 1.7-litre diesel.
AT6 means the Zafira Tourer has the optional automatic gearbox.
Economy feature Start/Stop EcoFLEX
All Zafira Tourer diesels have the ecoFLEX badge but not all get the fuel saving stop-start technology.
Vauxhall Zafira Engines
Petrol: 1.4i Turbo, 1.8-litre Diesel: 1.6CDTi, 2.0CDTi, 1.7-litre
Originally the Zafira Tourer was available with a 1.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, but this was replaced by the 1.4i Turbo. The 1.4 provides just as much performance but uses less fuel, making it a better choice, especially if you do most of your miles in town.
There was also a 1.7-litre diesel but this was an old engine and felt unrefined, so it was replaced by the 1.6CDTi 'Whisper' diesel engine. This gives really good economy and is smooth, making it the pick of the range. It can return up to 68.9mpg.
If you need extra power, there's the 2.0 CDTi unit which is the most powerful choice. However, the trade-off for the brisker performance is that it’s noisier. The price difference between used examples is only a few hundred pounds.
From mid-2013 there was also an even faster, 2-litre biturbo diesel engine, featuring two turbochargers, but this flagship was dropped from the range in 2016.
Most of its engines provide respectable fuel economy for such a big car, but make sure you find one equipped with Start/Stop technology if you can.
0 - 62mph
35.3 - 36.2mpg
Vauxhall Zafira Trims
Design, Tech Line, Energy, SRi, Exclusiv, Elite, SE
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer has a wide trim line-up with plenty to choose from. Those after a sporty look will enjoy the SRi level which adds spoilers and a bodykit, while the basic Design grade is good for those on a budget. Tech Line trim gave a lot of equipment and proved popular with company car drivers.
An equipment highlight is OnStar – Vauxhall's information service which provides a 4G internet hotspot, call centre advice and will even call the emergency services if you have an accident. OnStar comes as standard in Tech Line, Elite and SE trims.
Vauxhall Zafira Reliability and warranty
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer used to be available with a lifetime, 100,000 mile warranty, but from 2015 it was dropped in favour of a three year, 60,000 mile package instead.
The car should be reliable though, especially the 1.6CDTi models – the company invested heavily in this engine to ensure it's as sturdy as possible. Owners tend to be satisfied with the Zafira Tourer, rating it higher than a lot of Vauxhall's other cars – it came 12th out of 150 in the 2013 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey - only beaten in the MPV class by the Renault Grand Scenic.
Used Vauxhall Zafira
As with any car that's been used to ferry a family around, look carefully at interior trim as it could be as battered as a toddler’s high chair. Check all the lidded cubbies open and close correctly, then work your way through the electronic features and make sure nothing is faulty.
We advise buyers avoid the early Zafira Tourers with the 1.8-litre petrol engine, as it is gutless and thirsty, while the 1.7-litre diesel was rough and noisy. A better bet is the 1.4-litre petrol or 1.6-litre diesel.
And finally, to put minds at rest, this isn’t the generation of Zafira that suffered a spate of dangerous fires. That was the previous generation Zafira.