Review: Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014)

Rating:

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.

Recently Added To This Review

29 May 2019

R/2019/082: Movement of the wiring harness connector to the fan speed resistor can in rare circumstances lead to electrical stress. Affects models between November 2004 and November 2014. Read more

19 November 2018

Vauxhall Zafira Bs with Climate Control now also recalled because same resistor bodge as used on non-climate control Zafira Bs can cause a similar wiring fire. Read more

20 September 2018

Report by reader who got 461,000 miles out of his Vauxhall Zafira A with few problems of subsequently getting 471,000 miles out of a Zafira B similarly successfully. Read more

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.

Vauxhall Zafira Diesel Automatic 2006 Road Test

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

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

Dimensions
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

86%

Real MPG

21–57 mpg

MPGs submitted

792

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

We bought a faulty car from 130 miles away - do we have to take it back to this dealer for repairs?

We bought a 2008 Vauxhall Zafira, 55,000 miles, for £2495 on 22 July 2017 and drove the 130 miles home with no issues. On the 23 July the exhaust emissions light came on, so I contacted the seller and said we would take it back as soon as we were able to. A few days later, the car developed a clunking noise on the passenger side. I contacted the seller again about this and they've said we can take the car back for repair on 3 August as this is the soonest we will have time to take the car in. I'd like to know if the car is safe to drive and who's responsibility would it be to get the car there? Also, in the three month warranty it states that if the vehicle is dealt with by another garage then it invalidates it. Where do we stand on this or are we able to reject the car as it's not satisfactory or fit for purpose?
Law here: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/consumer-rights/ The dealer is responsible for any faults that could have been present or developing on the car on date of sale for six months from date of sale. The three month warranty is irrelevant. But you do have to take it back to him for repair.
Answered by Honest John
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What Cars Are Similar To The Vauxhall Zafira (2005 – 2014)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, Family friendly, Generous head room and MPV.

Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.

What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

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

See all owners' reviews