Review: Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012 – 2018)

Rating:

Originally sat above standard Zafira B in Vauxhall line-up before eventually replacing it. Has same Flex7 seven-seat system. Spacious interior.

Expensive. Not particularly outstanding in any area.

Recently Added To This Review

30 August 2019

Report of engine management light and service warning message on 48k mile February 2016 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer SRI CDTI 1.6. Always dealer serviced on time. AdBlue always added when light came on. Dealer... Read more

27 August 2019 R/2019/286:

Fixed roof luggage carrier railes may become loose. Fix: Check and replace the fixed roof luggage carrier railes if necessary. VINs: W0LPC9EM0D2075960 to W0VPD9ECXJ1157482 . Build dates: 23-11-2011... Read more

9 November 2018

Report of 2012 Zafira Tourer Elite Auto with 23,000 miles fitted with LED DRLs within a cluster as assemblies. The LED bulbs cannot be replaced. One Running light in an assembly has an intermittent fault... Read more

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012 – 2018): At A Glance

The Vauxhall Zafira Tourer was not originally a replacement for the ageing Zafira but a bigger and more up-to-date model designed to compete with more stylish MPVs like the Ford S-MAX. In reality it’s more of the same from Vauxhall, so while it’s a perfectly competent people carrier it’s doesn't break any new ground.

The cabin features seven seats, the third row of which folds flat into the boot floor. It’s a familiar Vauxhall system but one that other manufacturers have started to do better – it’s easier to fold, unfold and access the rear row on a SEAT Alhambra or a Citroen Grand C4 Picasso than it is in the Zafira Tourer.

That said, there’s plenty of space in the cabin if you keep it in five-seat configuration, with a huge, easy to access boot and room for adults in the middle row. The middle row has three individual seats, each of which can be moved backwards and forwards plus recline. Larger passengers will struggle for shoulder room, but most will fit comfortably.

Ride comfort is very good, while the handling is predictable and secure – safety was clearly top priority for the engineers in charge of the way the Zafira Tourer drives. The result is something that’s fairly easy to get to grips with. Traction is good and steering is well weighted, but the gearboxes could be more slick and precise.

Vauxhall offers a somewhat confusing array of trim levels and a broad selection of engines – but most will need nothing more than the 1.6-litre CDTi diesel. It’s economical, produces plenty of torque and has low emissions of 109g/km. There are other engines, of course, including the familiar 1.8i petrol and 2.0-litre CDTi, which offers the most power in 195PS form.

Unfortunately the thorn in the Zafira’s side is its price. It’s more expensive than the likes of the superior Citroen Grand C4 Picasso and Ford S-MAX, so unless you can get a good deal or discount there’s not much reason to choose it over its rivals. However, if you can get a Zafira Tourer for a decent price it’s a perfectly respectable seven-seater.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 2011 Road Test and Video

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Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4658 mm
Width 2099 mm
Height 1685 mm
Wheelbase 2760 mm

Full specifications

The Zafira Tourer uses Vauxhall’s Flex7 seating arrangement, which is shared with the standard Zafira. The Tourer is a little larger than a regular Zafira though, meaning the system is better employed on this car. It’s fairly straightforward and easy to get to grips with, with fabric pulls in the seats to move them around. The middle row is made up of three individual seats, each of which can be reclined or moved back and forth on runners. Shoulder room is a little tight with three adults across, but it’s not too bad.

The back row will probably spend a lot of its time folded flat into the boot floor, but if you want to fold it out for use it’s very easy. You have to remove the tonneau cover, which annoyingly can’t be stowed in the cabin, but then it’s a case of tugging the fabric pull – the seats clunk into place without much effort. They’re small in terms of knee room though and so better suited to smaller children. Access to the rear row isn’t bad, but it isn’t great as alternatives like the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

With all the seats folded the Zafira Tourer has a huge load capacity of 1860 litres, but even with the middle row in place there’s plenty of room in the back, especially with the seats moved forward on their runners. If you have a dog or tend to shift bulky items like gardening gear then you’ll find the Zafira Tourer very practical. That practicality is helped by a flat boot floor, which makes sliding heavy objects in and out very easy. There's also a secondary floor cover that folds to cover any gaps left by shuffling seat configurations around.

Up front the Zafira Tourer is similar in its layout to the latest Astra, which is good news on the whole. Material quality is generally good, with a feeling of solidity through most of the plastics. That said, there are a few disappointments – the brushed metal trim is actually sprayed plastic and the layout of the centre stack is confusing and cluttered. There are just too many buttons, making it a chore to find the right one. Furthermore, while the instrument binnacle is fairly clear, 30mph isn’t marked properly, just 20mph and 40mph. Not ideal in town.

Standard equipment is fairly good. Entry level models get creature comforts like air conditioning, cruise control and DAB radio. The range is a bit confusing, though – there are six trim levels – ES, Exclusiv, Tech Line, SRi, SE and Elite, each of which is offered with differing engine variants and different levels of equipment. That makes picking the ideal variant a bit tricky and adds confusion when buying. Regardless of engine choice, the Zafira Tourer is a little bit on the expensive side – similarly equipped rival cars typically come in at a bit less, so try and drive a bargain. 

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012 – 2018)

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.

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What's the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012 – 2018) like to drive?

The highlight of the Zafira Tourer is its impressively comfortable ride. It absorbs most potholes and speed bumps very comfortably, keeping the cabin serene. Indeed the Zafira Tourer is easy to drive, with light, accurate steering and fairly little body roll at most speeds. If you press on hard, then the car will wallow around a bit, but for everday driving it's more than competent. The only thing that lets it down down a little is the manual gear change, which feels stiff.

That said, the Zafira Tourer isn’t as good to drive as alternatives like the Ford the S-MAX, which has sharper handling and better steering. Indeed, while the Zafira Tourer is comfortable and refined, it’s not quite as relaxed as the likes of a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, which is effortless to drive and very smooth. In fact there’s not much going for the Zafira in terms of the way it drives. It’s not bad – it’s just not very good.

Vauxhall offers a fairly large selection of engine variants, most of which are familiar from other Vauxhall models. The entry point is a fairly old-fashioned and gruff 1.8-litre petrol, which might suit some buyers who aren’t too fussed about refinement and economy. However most of those who demand a petrol-powered model are better off with a 1.4-litre turbo, which is a bit more expensive but is far better all around. It’s more modern, more efficient and doesn’t lose out in terms of performance.  

Most buyers will go for a diesel – and there are plenty to choose from. Vauxhall produces a 2.0-litre CDTi with a selection of power outputs – 130PS, 165PS and an impressive 195PS if you go for a BiTurbo. The 130PS and 165PS diesel engines are getting a bit long in the tooth now, but they're proven engines used in various other Vauxhalls. Refinement isn't at Audi levels, but you'll get decent performance thanks to good torque figures. 

The 195PS BiTurbo is a bit more up-to-date, but it's expensive and better suited to a car like the Astra. There’s also a 1.6-litre CDTi diesel which is ideal for most buyers. That’s thanks to its low emissions of 109g/km, which make it cheap to tax each year, along with decent fuel economy. The 1.6 CDTi manages an official 68.9mpg and while you aren’t likely to see that in real world driving you shouldn’t be paying huge fuel bills.

It'a a reasonably hushed engine, with next to no noise at lower engine speeds. Push on and it becomes audibly gruff, albeit in a muted sort of way - there must be some good sound-proofing between the engine and the cabin. It's no ball of fire - the Zafira Tourer is a heavy car - but the 1.6-litre diesel will propel you up slip-roads and past slower traffic without breaking a sweat. The balance it provides between efficiency, refinement and performance make it the best engine on offer. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.4 Turbo 42–46 mpg 9.9–10.2 s 144–158 g/km
1.4 Turbo Automatic 39–41 mpg 10.2–11.0 s 160–169 g/km
1.6 CDTi 63–69 mpg 10.6 s 109–119 g/km
1.8 39 mpg 10.9 s 169 g/km
2.0 CDTi 110 55 mpg 11.5 s 134 g/km
2.0 CDTi 130 55 mpg 10.6 s 134 g/km
2.0 CDTi 130 ecoFLEX 63 mpg 10.6 s 119 g/km
2.0 CDTi 165 50–53 mpg 9.1–9.3 s 139–150 g/km
2.0 CDTi 165 Automatic 50 mpg 9.3 s 150 g/km
2.0 CDTi 170 54–58 mpg - 129 g/km
2.0 CDTi 170 Automatic 46–58 mpg - 129–161 g/km
2.0 CDTi 195 BiTurbo 50 mpg 8.5 s 149 g/km

Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer (2012 – 2018)

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

76%

Real MPG

23–59 mpg

MPGs submitted

311

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 Tourer (2012 – 2018)?

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

What's the best used seven seater on the market?

I’m looking for a seven-seater about five years old. When all seven seats are up it would still need room for a double pushchair and shopping?
A Vauxhall Zafira Tourer might be a good option. It's very versatile with a reasonable boot even when all seven seats are in use, although it might still be a bit tight for a double pushchair. If you need something bigger, you'll be in the realms of van-based people carriers like a Ford Grand Tourneo Connect.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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