Price on the road from £18,565 to £25,500
- cheap to buy
- Cheap to run
- Good to drive
The Vauxhall Zafira was one of the first compact seven seater cars available in the UK. It first appeared on the roads in 1999 and was immediately popular with families enjoying the flexibility of seven seats in an MPV format. Fast forward to the present day and the Zafira has struggled to maintain its position as the default choice for MPV buyers against strong competition and new models. Vauxhall addressed this by bringing out the Zafira Tourer in 2011 to compete with larger more modern cars such as the Ford S-Max. However Vauxhall have kept the Zafira in their line up for now as a cheaper and smaller option and as such it is still worthy of consideration if you need a cheap, compact seven seat MPV.
There is a good amount of room for passengers in the front two rows but third row passengers are not well catered for and only suitable for children. With all seats in use there is just 140 litres of boot space and barely enough for a couple of shopping bags.
Many rivals now have three independent seats across the middle row and this allows a lot more flexibility in the seating arrangements. The Zafira has a 60 / 40 split folding middle row and there is not enough room to fit three child seats next to each other.
There is a choice of four engines. A 1.6 litre and a 1.8 litre petrol engine or a 1.7 litre diesel with a 110 PS and a 125 PS power rating. All engines give good fuel economy and decent performance. The petrol engines achieve around 40 miles per gallon combined with the diesels around the mid fifties. Even the 1.6 litre petrol model has reasonable performance with a 0-60 mph time of 12.5 seconds and a top speed of 115 miles per hour with the base diesel model achieving similar numbers. Move up the range and the 1.8 litre petrol gets to 60 mph in just over ten seconds and has a top speed of 122 miles per hour. The higher powered diesel engine is similar with a 0-60 time of 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 117 miles per hour.
Behind the wheel
The steering wheel and driver’s seat are fully adjustable so everyone should be able to find a comfortable driving position. The suspension is well set to keep handling tight and this actually makes the Zafira quite a fun car to drive.
With lots of legroom for the front and middle seat passengers the Zafira creates a reasonably comfortable environment. The third row seats are only suitable for children and the suspension is a little on the firm side.
The latest Zafira gained five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test. There are front and side airbags and a curtain airbag that extends down the first two rows. This doesn’t extend to passengers in the third row.
You are always going to get exceptions but overall the Zafira has a good reputation for reliability. It is well made and should stand up well to the demands of family life. All Zafiras come with a lifetime warranty which covers the first registered keeper up to 100,000 miles.
The Vauxhall Zafira is quite a cheap car to run. All the engines available have good fuel consumption. As you would expect the 1.7 litre diesels are the best returning over 55 miles to the gallon but even the petrol engines are good with the 1.6 returning 44 mpg and the 1.8 returning nearly 40 mpg. Vehicle tax is not too expensive either especially if you opt for a diesel which comes into group E. Expect insurance costs also to be relatively low with most of the models being between insurance groups 16 to 20.
Having been there at the birth of the seven seater mpv car class the Zafira has in many ways been left a bit behind by bigger, more flexible offerings. Vauxhall themselves have responded to this with Zafiras sibling the Tourer. Thankfully they have kept the original Zafira in their line up as it is a cheap, compact seven seater that continues to serve families well.