Vauxhall Zafira Review

Find out more about the Vauxhall Zafira in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Plenty of interior space
  • Wide range of trim levels available
  • Well equipped


  • Some rivals cost less to run
  • Adjustability can be an issue
  • Diesel engines not hugely refined

The Vauxhall Zafira is a seven-seat people carrier that has been on sale in the UK since its introduction in 1999. During this time, there have been three generations of Zafira produced – the Zafira A, B and C.

The current Zafira C came to market in 2011, after being publicly debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier that year.

In 2016, it was subject to a minor facelift, which introduced features such as LED headlights, LED taillights, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as optional extras. The front end was also slightly restyled to echo that of the Vauxhall Astra hatchback.

Vauxhall offers the current Zafira with a selection of three engines, a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol, a 1.6-litre diesel and the range-topping 2.0-litre diesel. A manual gearbox is the standard transmission, although there is an optional automatic with the larger two engines.

While the older Zafira B model does represent a solid choice for a cheap, second hand people carrier, buyers should be wary of the fact that they were recalled for widely publicised fire risks, and that diesel models can be expensive to repair.

Latest model

The Vauxhall Zafira was initially released in 2011, although it was subject to a mid-life refresh in 2016. The engine line-up remains the same – with 1.4-litre petrol, 1.6-litre diesel and 2.0-litre diesel available.

While the current Zafira is still a competent and fairly attractive-looking MPV, it doesn’t quite match rivals such as the Ford Galaxy and Seat Alhambra in terms of out and out space.

That said, there is plenty of head and legroom throughout the first two rows, although adults may find sitting in the third row of seats a bit of a squeeze.

Up front, there is a good level of visibility out of the Zafira thanks to rather narrow windscreen pillars, while standard-fit front and rear parking sensors help make parking in tight spaces a touch easier.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are welcome additions to the Zafira model, and allow for even easier smartphone pairing – a definite advantage over older models of Zafira.

Value for money

As far as bang for your buck goes, the latest Zafira C doesn’t fair too badly. Even the entry level Design trim level gains features such as DAB radio, a seven-inch touchscreen that incorporates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity and parking sensors. Not bad for a practical family wagon that costs £19,215.

Arguably the model to go for in the range is the Zafira Tech Line, as this gains handy satellite navigation as standard, and yet with prices starting at £20,910 it is still significantly cheaper than many of the other trim levels in the range.

Those in the market for a higher-spec model may find a second-hand Zafira a more attractive prospect, however. For example, a 15-plate Zafira SE with the range-topping 2.0-litre diesel engine can be picked up for around £11,000 – a significant saving when compared with a new SE model, which costs from £23,865.

Older Zafira B models are even cheaper again, with a tidy example likely to cost around the £6,000 mark. That said, though, be aware that the Zafira B has been known to catch fire, and the used market is awash with tired examples that will likely end up costing you money in the long run.

Looks and image

Credit where credit is due, the current Vauxhall Zafira is a fairly attractive-looking car – even for a boxy MPV. The 2016 facelift has brought the car more in line with the smaller Astra model.

Higher trim models gain attractive features such as large 18-inch alloys and sporty bodykits, although the bigger wheels might ruin the ride a touch. At the end of the day, however, you’d be smarter to opt for one of the more basic-looking Zafira models, as they are not only cheaper but they will be more comfortable over long distances, too. Who really needs a sporty-looking people carrier, anyway?

Compared with the current model of Zafira, the older Zafira B look like a far less premium car. They feature the classic boxy outline people tend to associate with MPVs, and now look severely dated – which is understandable seeing as the current Zafira was facelifted only last year.

Space and practicality

Compared with regular hatchbacks and saloons, this is where the Vauxhall Zafira really stands out – both old and new models. The seven-seat layout means this is an ideal car for school runs, as well as carting the family off on holiday. Short of a huge SUV type car, which people tend to opt for these days, an MPV is tough to beat.

The current Zafira C boasts plenty of storage options throughout the cabin, thanks to a helpful assortment of door bins and cubby holes.

Passengers will also find they ride in comfort, thanks to a generous amount of headroom and ample legroom in the middle row.  Children will sit comfortably on the third row of seats, although adult passengers may find space a bit tight on longer journeys.

As far as boot space goes, the current Zafira offers buyers an impressive 710-litre boot with the rear seats in place. This can be extended to a cavernous 1,860 litres with the rear seats folded flat.


As mentioned previously, the Vauxhall Zafira C is available with three different engines – one petrol and two diesels. The petrol engine is a 1.4-litre turbocharged unit that produces a respectable 138bhp and 200Nm of torque for a 0-60mph time of 9.7 seconds.

The diesel engine options consist of a 1.6-litre unit and a larger 2.0-litre power plant. The 1.6-litre diesel develops 132bhp and 320Nm of torque, which enables it to deal with the 0-60mph dash in 10.2 seconds.

Older models are offered with a wide range of both petrol and diesel engines, with a high-power VXR model also available at the time.

Some diesel engines, such as the 1.9-litre CDTi found in the Zafira B were the subject of a number of well-documented problems, so buyers should be wary if considering one. A smart choice for a used Zafira B would likely be one that features the 1.6-litre, 113bhp petrol unit.

Running costs 

As far as running costs go, the Zafira C won’t exactly blow you away, although you won’t end up spending an arm and a leg on fuel, either.

The most economical of the range is the 1.6-litre diesel, which features a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 62.8mpg, while CO2 emissions stand at 119g/km.

The flagship 2.0-litre diesel unit is only slightly behind the smaller 1.6 in terms of fuel economy, with Vauxhall claiming it can manage 57.6mpg on the combined cycle. CO2 emissions for this engine stand at 129g/km.

The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine is the least economical of the line-up, with a combined fuel consumption figure of 42.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 158g/km.

That said, though, a petrol Zafira is considerable cheaper to buy new than its diesel equivalents, so those buyers who might only be using the car for short irregular trips will likely find the petrol option the most appealing of the bunch.

Things to look out for

The Zafira B has had a bit of a hard time in the press recently, due to the fact that a worrying number of them have caught fire. These prompted safety officials in the UK to ask Vauxhall to carry out a full safety recall, which it did in 2015. Unfortunately, fires continued and a second full recall was issued in 2016.

Because of this, if you are considering purchasing a used Zafira B, be sure to check with a Vauxhall dealer that the recall work has been carried out in order to address the issue that was causing the fires.

The 1.9-litre diesel engine that was available with the Zafira B is also known to be problematic at times. Issues include water pumps failing, inlet manifolds failing, and blocked diesel particulate filters.

Again, ensure that any Zafira B you might consider buying has been inspected so as to avoid any costly or dangerous issues from arising down the line.

New Zafira C models come with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty as standard. However, the brand hasn’t scored amazingly in reliability surveys so it might pay to extend the standard warranty if buying from new.


The Vauxhall Zafira has a rather large number of rivals, which includes everything from the large Ford Galaxy, Seat Alhambra and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, to smaller seven-seat MPV models such as the Renault Grand Scenic and Volkswagen Touran.

As mentioned earlier, the Zafira C doesn’t quite stack up to the likes of the Ford Galaxy or the Seat Alhambra when it comes to interior space on offer, but then again it is significantly cheaper than both for an entry level model.

While the Zafira drives in a quiet and refined manner, being behind the wheel isn’t as exciting as it is in some of its rivals. But then again, it is an MPV and cars such as this are never going to provide huge amounts of driving fun.

Depreciation warning

Those who buy a Zafira new will likely find depreciation becomes a problem, purely due to the fact that Vauxhall produces so many and there is an abundance of them on the used market.

That said, though, while this might be an issue for people looking to buy a new example, it gives those shopping around for a second-hand example much more scope to secure a Zafira that is well-equipped and well-priced.

Trims explained

The trim levels for the Vauxhall Zafira are numerous and at times, rather confusing. They are as follows.


Design is the entry-level trim for the Zafira. It includes standard features such as alloy wheels, DAB radio, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as Bluetooth connectivity.

There's also cruise control and front and rear parking sensors.


Vauxhall pits Energy models as the next trim level, even though it is considerably more expensive and Tech Line is cheaper.

In addition to the features Design models have as standard, Energy models gain sat-nav, front fog lights, chrome window trim, tinted rear windows and silver roof rails.


Over and above the features offered on Design models, the SRi gains sports seats, front fog lights, tinted rear windows, sports seats and pedals as well as a leather steering wheel.

Considering you don’t get satellite-navigation, £23,880 seems like a fairly high asking price.


As you might have guessed, SRi Nav is the same as the SRi specification, except it gains satellite navigation.

This seems to be a difficult trim to recommend, considering Tech Line models also features sat nav but cost a significant amount of money less.


Next up is the SE specification. Over Design models, this gains front fog lights, lounge seating, a leather steering wheel, an electronic parking brake, automatic lights and wipers, an alarm and climate control.

Prices start from £23,865.

Tech Line

Next in line is the Tech Line trim, and this is where things get confusing. A quick look through Vauxhall’s website suggests that SE and Tech Line Zafiras have exactly the same standard equipment, yet Tech Line gains satellite navigation and lounge seats, even though it costs £3,000 less than SE models.

Makes you wonder what the point of the SE trim is.


Elite models feature all of the same equipment as SE models do, although Vauxhall includes 18-inch alloys, a panoramic windscreen and sunroof as well.They also gain heated front sports seats, which is a nice touch.

However, satellite navigation is conspicuously absent.


  1. Zafira is available with two diesel and one petrol engine
  2. Plenty of practicality from the seven-seat layout
  3. Older Zafira B models were recalled over fire concerns
  4. Trim levels are confusing, and seem to contradict one another
  5. Tech Line models would be the one to go for if buying from new
  6. Boot space is a healthy 710 litres with the rear seats up
  7. Some rivals are more spacious than the Zafira
  8. New Zafiras come with a three-year warranty as standard
  9. Generally is quiet and refined to drive
  10. Rivals offer a more dynamic drive

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