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The Top Gear car review: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
For:Luxurious update of Vauxhall’s popular MPV
Against:Prices have risen to match its newfound luxury
1.6 CDTi ecoFLEX Exclusiv 5dr
It’s all about the engine here: the new 1.6 diesel is excellent. Combine that with Zafira Tourer’s looks and you have a halfway decent MPV.
Yes, the Zafira has a swanky new name and a snazzy new look, but it’s still an MPV at heart
The Zafira finally gets desirable: meet the new ‘Tourer’, an MPV you might actually want to be seen in…
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What we say:
The Zafira turns premium with a sleek look and super-luxurious interior - but has prices to match
What is it?
The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer arrives to complement the current Zafira range rather than replace it. Like the old one, it is a compact MPV with three rows of cleverly-folding seats, but instead of aiming for the mass-selling mainstream, Vauxhall is going slightly upmarket with this one. That’s why the old one remains on sale: it’s a Zafira for those who find this new quasi-premium one too expensive.
Mind you, there’s no doubting what the extra brings, for this Zafira Tourer is possibly the best-looking MPV out there, not to mention the most luxurious and upmarket Zafira there has ever been.
Behind the wheel reveals another big improvement brought by the Zafira Tourer: it is much better to drive than the old one. Even the standard model on 17-inch alloys does a surprisingly impressive job of softening the road surface.
The handling is not bad either though, with fair poise through corners and decent precision from far less rubbery steering. Vauxhall will even let you buy adaptive dampers, complete with Sport setting, if you want to make your Zafira Tourer even more agile. We wouldn’t bother though, given how good the regular one is.
Ignore the cheapo 1.8-litre entry engine and choose the pricier 1.4-litre turbo instead. It has the same power and doesn’t sound like it would be much fun, but the sweet and significantly torquier nature works surprisingly well. Of course, most Zafira Tourers will be diesels, and the familiar 2.0-litre CDTi is inoffensive: the standard one is a bit slow but Vauxhall’s now fixed that with the punchy 195bhp BiTurbo.
On the inside
Here is where the Zafira Tourer really excels. The dash is all smooth surfaces with swishes of trim and really neat red lighting strips. It is much more upmarket than the old one – so long as you avoid the boggo ES trim, that is. As standard, it has seven seats which fold flat into the floor in a multitude of ways (and, unlike before, the middle seats are individual rather than a fixed bench).
The neat option is the Lounge Seating of more expensive variants: here, when the middle seat is flattened, two long armrests flip up from its edges like leathery wings. The outer two slide in and back by 5cm too: the result is more shoulder room and space to stretch out.
Prices mark a significant hike over the old model. They start at £21k, with the old model dropping to £18k. Despite this, we’d still advise sidestepping the basic ES trim and choosing Exclusiv instead. The ecoFlex stop-start diesel version now averages nearly 69mpg, which results in decidedly tax-friendly CO2 levels. Even the 1.4-litre will do nearly 45mpg.