Despite the choppy ride and high pricing, the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is versatile, well-finished and drives well.

What is it?

It’s a measure of the car-makers’ faith in down-sizing that a mere 1.4 litres can be asked to haul along a sizeable MPV of seven seats and modestly luxurious interior.

More than that, this 1.4 petrol turbo costs more than the entry-level 1.8 despite offering the same 138bhp. The logic of this becomes soon apparent when you discover that it provides a sixth gear, more torque to pull it, stronger performance, better economy and emissions of 158g/km instead of 169g/km.

What's it like?

The reality is as convincing as the numbers, too. There’s a good spread of power to work with from low down to over 5000rpm,and if the engine gets a little resonant as it nears the 6000rpm rev limiter, there’s rarely much need to venture there.

That’s not because you won’t want to use the turbo’s go either, one of the most surprising plusses of this bigger Zafira being its deft way with corners. The lack of body roll is impressive for a relatively tall machine, so is its grip and chassis balance and you’ll enjoy fluidly precise steering that subtly encourages you to take advantage of its abilities.

Unfortunately there is a trade-off, the ride sometimes turning pattery and unsettled, although the suspension deals with bigger crests and dips effectively.

Another fine feature, and one more expected in such a machine, is what Vauxhall calls lounge seating, the outboard seats of the middle row sliding in-board and closer to a folded middle seat whose backrest bolsters cleverly double as armrests.

Should I buy one?

The result is a very practical and versatile machine that’s pleasant to sit in – unless you’re a bigger kid banished to row three – well-finished and almost as engaging a drive as Ford’s S-Max. A shame it’s so pricey, and short of sat nav and Bluetooth connectivity too.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SE 1.4 Turbo

Price: £24,005; Top speed: 126mph; 0-62mph: 9.9sec; Economy: 44.8mpg; Co2: 148g/km; Kerbweight: 1571kg; Engine: 4-cyls in-line 1364cc; Power: 138bhp at 4900-6000rpm; Torque: 148lb ft at 1850-4900rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual.

Join the debate

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Another traveller 5 February 2012

Re: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Oilburner 1 February 2012

Re: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

jmd67 wrote:
Does anyone know how these small capacity high output engines handle big mileages compared to the much less stressed 1.8 and 2.0 versions.

You know, over in America (for example), they think that 2.0 litres is a tiny, stressed engine that can't handle big mileages. We know that not to be true...

Is there any reason why a 1.4T should be any more stressed, whatever that specifically means?

Surely as long as the engine is producing no more power than it was designed to do, then it's not stressed, is it?

What specifically is it that people think will fail on these new downsized engines? Because, as we all know, modern engines these days are very reliable, apart from the extras like high pressure direct fuel injection, DPFs etc that they get lumbered with. Just adding a regular turbo to a proven engine block shouldn't be an issue, should it?

Lee23404 31 January 2012

Re: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

catnip wrote:

Citytiger wrote:
Maxycat wrote:
catnip wrote:
On another note, I wonder why they didn't give this larger model a name of its own...'Sintra' would have been a good one.
I seem to remember that "Sintra" was a flop in sales terms, but cannot remember what years that was. Did not Vauxhall make a "Royale" version of one of their large cars once?

From what I remember the Sintra was an American mpv that was imported by Opel/Vauxhall to compete with the mk1 Galaxy, however I think ncap rated it as dangerous and it was quietly withdrawn.

It certainly was. I just thought it would have been amusing if Vauxhal had released this new model with that moniker.

The Sintra was a compete sales disaster for Vauxhall, not helped by what I seem to remember was a 1 star euroncap score and a very poor reliability record. I'm not surprised they aren't using that name.