- ROAD TEST
PEOPLE carriers by nature have tended to look more functional than flattering.
Among the best, and most popular, for close on 15 years has been the Vauxhall Zafira.
It heralded the brand’s Flex 7 seating plan whereby the rear row of seats could be folded into the floor to create much-needed extra space in a compact package.
All the Zafira really needed was more scope for breathing space, something addressed with the larger Zafira Tourer.
That this car has proved a hit with buyers is no coincidence because not only is the Tourer longer and more spacious, it has taken a step upmarket too.
Large, boomerang-style, lights and wing-shaped daytime running lights add drama to the Tourer’s face along with a double mesh grille while the cabin, with its soft touch surfaces and durable fabrics, has an executive feel.
And that extra length means centre and back row passengers can enjoy less cramped legroom plus more flexibility in moving the seats.
Perhaps best of all though is the ease of access to that pair of individual rear chairs.
Because the middle row seats can be moved both forwards and upward, passengers can hop in and out without any squeeze or contortion.
Another smart move is that the middle row – also individual seats – can be moved backwards or forwards independently, unlike the standard Zafira’s one-piece bench.
More than 30 different stowage compartments mean there’s plenty of scope for hiding – or losing – oddments and with five of the seven seats in place the boot space is estate-like.
Out on the road the Tourer drives and handles more like a saloon or hatchback than a stretched MPV and the choice of engines up for grabs is extensive.
Most recent addition to the line-up is Vauxhall’s new generation 1.6 CDTi Start/Stop diesel, a powerful 136bhp unit capable of returning an average 68.9mpg along with low CO2 emissions of 109g/km.
It means there are now five diesels and a pair of petrol engines in the Zafira Tourer range, including the tested 2.0 CDTi powerplant which delivers smooth performance via a six-speed manual gearbox and plenty of punch.
It fits this car nicely and, combined with Start/Stop, is good for close to the official Combined fuel figure of 62.8mpg.
MODEL: Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi EcoFLEX Tech Line
ENGINE: 1,956cc diesel.
POWER: 130bhp at 4,000rpm.
PERFORMANCE: 0-60 in 10.6 sces, top speed 120mph.
ECONOMY: 53.3mpg Urban, 70.6 Extra Urban, 62.8 Combined.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 119g/km.
BiK RATING: 18%.
INSURANCE: Group 15 (1-50).
PRICE: £22,075 on the road.
RATINGS (out of five):
LOOKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
RIDE AND HANDLING . . . . 4
PERFORMANCE . . . . . . . . . 4
VALUE FOR MONEY . . . . . .4