Review: Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014)


Compact yet can house seven people. Rearmost seats fold into floor. More versatile mid-row seating than previous model. Excellent diesel auto.

Spare wheel is vulnerable to theft. Some build quality concerns. Potential catastrophes with 1.9 diesel engine. Avoid any 1.9 diesels more than 6 years old as a used buy.

Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014): At A Glance

This test is to answer an often-asked question. The World isn't exactly overflowing with 7-seater diesel automatics. So is the new Zafira diesel auto any good?

It's up against the Touran DSG, the forthcoming new Sharan DSG, the forthcoming new Galaxy 1.8 diesel automatic, the last of the old Shalambra diesel automatics. And that's about it.

What does a Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014) cost?

Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4467–4476 mm
Width 1781–2026 mm
Height 1645 mm
Wheelbase 2703 mm

Full specifications

First, the seating arrangements. As anyone familiar with the old Zafira knows, the rearmost pair of ‘Flex7' seats pull up out of the low floor. But first you have to slide the heavy, one-piece centre bench forwards, and to do that the front seats also have to be in a fairly forward position. You can then arrange a compromise in legroom for all three rows, but you can't do it individually for the centre three as you can in a Peugeot 307SW. Passengers in the rearmost seats are fairly comfortable, but they sit low and the taller among them will find themselves sniffing their knees.

To turn the car into a load carrier, you lift the centre bench upwards then slide the backrest as far forwards as it will go. According to Vauxhall's brochure you can then carry a small sofa in the back.

To achieve all that space in the back, the driving position is a bit Routemaster-like. The wheel adjusts in and out and the seat tilts as well as rises, falls and reclines. Yet the wheel is at more of a London Transport angle than you normally experience in a car. It's okay, though. You quickly get used to it.

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014) like to drive?

So what is this Tardis of spaciousness like to drive? The answer is, very nice. Rattles a bit, both from the trim and the engine from start up. But the six-speed autobox is the most intelligent of its type I have ever had the pleasure of driving. Like any efficient diesel, the 120PS FIAT Multijet takes forever to warm up. So the box holds 3rd to help the process. From a cold start it changes up very smartly to 3rd, then stays there using torque converter slip if you drop below 20mph.

On the motorway even when accelerating lightly, it stays in 5th up to around 75, which will probably make it very good for caravan towing. (Vauxhall does a sensibly priced full kit for this.) Lift off and it will change up to 6th at 70 then hold 6th down to 60 before dropping back to 5th. Slow to 40 and it drops to 4th. And it does all this in such a relaxed, fuss-free manner it relaxes you. 6th offers around 35mph per 1,000rpm.

It handles astonishingly well, too, without compromising ride comfort, even with the 215/45 RT 17s my Zafira came on. By "handling well" I don't mean it gives you race-car thrills. It just does the job with aplomb, gripping where the old Zafira would have let go, and without imposing any form of discomfort on you and your passengers.

No feedback yet on transmission life, of course, even though it's also fitted to SAAB 9-3s, Signums, Vectras and Astras. But you'll find the well-proven belt-cam 1.9 diesel engine under the bonnets of Alfas and FIATs as well as SAABs and Vauxhalls. You can also get it with 150PS and an extra 35Nm of torque, which you might need for hauling six or seven.

I actually liked this vehicle so much I'm in danger of raving about it. Partly because it was so comfortable, partly because it handled so well and partly because of its superb automatic transmission.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.6i 39–42 mpg - 157–172 g/km
1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX 110 55 mpg 12.5 s 134 g/km
1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX 125 55 mpg 11.5 s 134 g/km
1.8i 38–39 mpg 10.8–11.5 s 168–177 g/km
1.8i 140 39 mpg 10.8 s 168 g/km
1.8i Easytronic 40 mpg - 164 g/km
1.9 CDTi 120 47 mpg - 159 g/km
1.9 CDTi 120 Automatic 40 mpg - 186 g/km
1.9 CDTi 150 47 mpg - 159 g/km
1.9 CDTi 150 Automatic 39 mpg - 191 g/km
2.0i Turbo 30 mpg - 228 g/km
2.2i 34 mpg - 197 g/km
2.2i 16V Automatic 33 mpg - 204 g/km
2.2i Automatic 33 mpg - 204 g/km
VXR 29 mpg - 230 g/km

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

21–58 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

I'm looking at two used cars, one LPG and one diesel - which is the better choice?

I'm looking to buy a secondhand, seven-seater car that runs on LPG. I wanted an LPG car because I'm looking for a way to save money on fuel costs. However, I never had an LPG car before. I've shortlisted two cars but one of them is not LPG so would like your advice on which one is better to buy. The first is a 2009 Vauxhall Zafira, Petrol/LPG, 98k miles for £1150. I asked the seller if the timing belt was changed and he said no, but also told me not to worry about it because this is a petrol car and that diesel cars are the ones that have problem with the timing belt. Second is a 2007 Vauxhall Zafira B 1.8,16v design, diesel, 93k miles for £1195. It has a full service history, stamp, cambelt was changed at 88k miles and was well looked after.
Do not buy the LPG Zafira. The seller is talking rubbish - it should have had its timing belt changed years ago. And even if the service history was good (which it isn't), I wouldn't recommend buying a 10 year-old-car that runs on LPG - the costs will be huge if anything goes wrong with it. A seven-seat version of the Kia Carens would be a much more reliable choice.
Answered by Dan Powell
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What do owners think?

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  • 5 star 33%
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  • 3 star 33%
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  • 1 star 17%

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