UK Car Road Test

Vauxhall Zafira 2.0 DTi Comfort 2000

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Oh my favorite? an MPV to drive! 

And its from that renowned maker of MPVs and exciting cars in general Vauxhall!

And its a Diesel!

What have I done to deserve this exactly. Have I really been so bad as to be sentenced to the long term hard labour of trying to write about such an uninspiring sounding a vehicle.

Small is beautiful (sometimes)

First nice surprise for me at least were the relatively compact dimension of the Zafira, at least giving me hope that the ride would not transpire to be a step up from a transit van.

      

Second nice surprise was that styling efforts had been restrained by the designers to a very conservative overall look, the Zafira gets top marks by not going down the road to daftness like the Picasso or the Multipla.

The light clusters and bumpers are neatly integrated and the heavy rubber bump strip breaks up the cars line and curves neatly around the wheel arches framing the ever so average wheel trims.

The body bears lots of black trim matching the black roof rails, offset only by the splash of chrome across the grill.

What more can you say its an (mini) MPV it looks like an MPV, its not the most unattractive of MPV's.  

It does the job

Inside despite Vauxhalls best attempt at dodgy seat patterns, the Zafira is remarkably car like. And that's what I like about it most, you can almost forget you are driving an MPV.

Stereo and air conditioning simple, if not a little dated in appearance.

Basic cup holders, 
basically holds cups

Seating position aside that is which is very sit up and beg. The Interior is remarkably uninspiring and reuses as much standard Vauxhall Hatchback/Saloon items as possible in a fairly remarkable exercise in platform engineering.  That of course means the usual splattering of multi shades of Grey and very plasticky plastics. (its a Vauxhall what do you expect).

New at a price of over 17K I would find it awfully depressing to have bought one new, second hand and after Vauxhalls usual rate of depreciation it would grate far less.

The clocks are plain but clear and concise. Note the little red dot at the 30mph position, I am not sure whether that is a warning or an ambition.

Interior seating is flexible and for the most part generous. Aside from the back pair of the seven seats. The back two sit flush to the floor line and are really only suitable for children, which to be fair is probably what they were designed for. Elbow pockets are cut into the rear wings to help give a little extra stretching space. 

As with many MPV's once the full compliment of seats is onboard boot space is severely limited. 

 

 

Comfort Features
Adjustable Steering Column
Adjustable Steering Column
Drivers seat Lumbar Support
Drivers seat Lumbar Support
Front Door Bins
Front Door Bins
Head Rests (front & rear)
Head Rests (front & rear)
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Pollen Filter
Pollen Filter
Rear Reading Lights
Rear Reading Lights
Split rear seats
Split rear seats
Time Clock
Time Clock
Velour Trim
Velour Trim
General Features
Chrome Trim
Chrome Trim
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Mirrors
Colour Coded Mirrors
Digital Odometer
Digital Odometer
Heated Rear Window
Heated Rear Window
Rear Load Cover
Rear Load Cover
Rear Wash Wipe
Rear Wash Wipe
Roof Rails
Roof Rails
Tinted Windows
Tinted Windows
Luxury Features
Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter
Cigarette Lighter
Electric Mirrors
Electric Mirrors
Electric Windows front
Electric Windows front
Heated Mirrors
Heated Mirrors
Radio Cass Remote
Radio Cass Remote

As  with most MPV's the Zafira is fairly well equipped with all the usually suspects. What attracts most though for many people is the range of seating flexibility and the plethora of storage bins, cupboards, pockets, trays, ledges and hidey holes. Strangely the Zafira makes little use of the dash space or dash top, And lacks obvious details like front arm rests shame.

 

 

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Engine BHP  
Turbo Diesel 4 Cylinder 16 Valve 99
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
4 Double 4 Turbo Charger
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
109mph 13seconds 69
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
34.4mpg 51.4mpg 43.5mpg Diesel

On paper the engine is top notch the Direct injection 16 valve Turbo diesel sounds the business.  But with 99bhp is at least 15% down on the best competition, and give a rather insipid 69 bhp per Tonne. Hence the sprint time is somewhat subdued takings a yawn worthy 13 seconds to push the clock around to 60mph.

Economy is decent though with 50mpg capable of being achieved and I guess with 7 of you onboard that would equate to a very low shared cost of moving bodies per mile.

Despite its lack of performance the DTi is a  pleasant enough engine fairly smooth, reasonably quiet and tough as old boots. It starts quickly after a little churn and clatters into life quickly settling to a slow idle.

Mid range is a perfect match for the limited performance giving generous helpings of pulling power and encouraging you to let the engine pull rather than revving its nuts off. The tacho reads 5000rpm at the red line all but the deaf and devoutly stupid will have changed up long before then, as the power and acceleration come to a dead stop, at least it has a huge margin of rev safety built in.. 

The only real problem is that the Zafira has one of the most responsive MPV chassis's I have come across and deserves a little more get up and go.

 

Easily serviced engine. With a timing chain and not belt driven camshaft.

 Direct injection for easy starting. higher torque and fuel economy.

The clutch is light and easy to modulate, and the gear stick is conventionally mounted and as swift and simple as any Vectra to use, being devoid of strange angles 

MPV makers make much of how car like their products ride and handle. Generally I am always for the most part disappointed by the reality. To say most drive like a car is pushing it to extremes, they may do toddling along at a steady pace, but they tend to fall to pieces as soon as the pace picks up.

The Zafira gets much closer to  car like abilities with tidy handling and fair ride. Though lets be honest the more compact the MPV the more car like it should be dynamically. 

The Zafira has smooth easy steering courtesy of the nicely weighted assistance, and does not roll and pitch like a rowing boat on the high seas. It is dead easy to drive without having to be conscious all the time that this is really a disguised van with a tenuous rubber grip on the road.  For this reason alone the Zafira is to me much more of pleasure to drive than many of its bigger brethren.

The cabin also has a large glass to steel ratio and is easy to see out of and hence park.

 

 

Steering wheel with lots of switches 
"I never even noticed"

Safety first, passenger airbag.

Being aimed at the family man safety is a paramount concern hence the twin airbags. Many saloons now though have moved on in the great balloon race and fit side and or curtain bags, and I would like to see these in the Zafira. Frankly I would like to see all MPV's festooned with at least one and preferably two air bags per seat.

Safety/Security Features
Child Locks
Child Locks
Deadlocks
Deadlocks
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
Front Twin Airbags
Front Twin Airbags
High level brake Light
High level brake Light
Locking Wheel Nuts
Locking Wheel Nuts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Remote Central Locking
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection
Visible Identification Number
Visible Identification Number

Deadlocks, immobiliser and Vin are fitted all good, but probably very cheap to do nowadays. But I would like to see all new cars with Alarms as standard. 

 

 

DTI 16V sounds almost sporty

Good big mirrors

Do you really want 7 seats that is the major question you really have to ask your self about not just the Zafira but all these compact MPV's which clog up our roads.

Tacked on tacky tray

 cup shaped door bin 
for gluttons with multiple drinks

Valve cap tool, comes free 
for the Howard Hughes amongst us

Rear cup holders 
more imaginative than frontal holes 

Me I can make do with Five, sure I can take two out and have a bigger boot. But any Estate car will match that to be frank. If you need Seven seats or Nine seats, fine go the MPV route. But for me an estate will always be my choice of practical car so long as I have less than four children.

 

Is that a winged V 
I see before me

 Prism headlights giving extra light disbursement from relatively small lenses.

Rubber bump strip usefully large

Note set back wing mirror

On the up side for the Zafira is the good economy, the relatively cheap Insurance grouping, Vauxhall spares and Servicing prices. Combined with its ultra conservative design which at least does not make you grimace to look at it. 

If you need the seats the Zafira is a pleasant workhorse which won't cost an arm and a leg to run.


 

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UK Car Road Test Vauxhall Zafira 2.0 DTi Comfort 2000

UK Car Road Test Keywords: MPV Diesel Zafira 2.0 DTi Comfort