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Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi review (2013 onwards)
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi: summary
New all-aluminium 1.6-litre turbodiesel motor gives great claimed efficiency and superb smooth-driving performance in Vauxhall's Zafira Tourer MPV.
What:Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi
Where: Vienna, Austria
Available: on sale now, deliveries begin September 2013
Key rivals:Ford Galaxy, SEAT Alhambra, Volkswagen Sharan
We like: new diesel refinement, decent performance, looks, flexible seating
We don’t like:dashboard still too button-heavy, shift action can baulk on occasion
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi: first impressions
Vauxhall is launching a 13-strong engine offensive from 2013, set to last for the next three years – and alongside a new family of petrol engines, key to its penetration of the market is this new 1.6-litre CDTi turbodiesel.
Debuting in the firm’s seven-seat Zafira Tourer MPV, it’s an important unit for the brand, as diesel sales account for 70% of all Zafira Tourers sold.
In a first for Vauxhall it’s made entirely of aluminium, with 136hp it's powerful, and returning a claimed 68.9mpg with 109g/km CO2 here, it's remarkably efficient, too.
It's a very relaxed and deceptively swift cruiser
It’ll be sold alongside versions of the existing 2.0 diesel, but with this power and efficiency for £23,175 (available in Tech Line, Exclusiv and SE trim only) on paper it’s bound to be a popular choice. But is this new engine enough to boost mid-life sales of Vauxhall’s rather attractive-looking people carrier?
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi: performance
This is why we’re really here: to assess the firm’s all-new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, its performance, efficiency and refinement.
On that first count, it’s rather good: 136hp is a strong output and enough to whisk the seven-seat Zafira Tourer from 0-60mph in 10.4 seconds, while in-gear acceleration is also strong thanks to 236lb ftof pulling power.
This is a big car but it steers accurately and feels rather agile given its sheer dimensions and mass
It doesn’t actually feel as quick as it is, but that’s a positive. It’s mainly because the turbo’s boost comes in gently at around 1,500rpm and ramps up to that maximum torque figure at 2,000rpm.
Add to that refinement levels to rival premium executive saloons, thanks to ‘sound engineering’ features such as multiple injection pulses for the fuelling and acoustic cladding for the engine, and it makes for a very relaxed and deceptively swift cruiser for a car weighing 1,626kg.
The revised six-speed manual gearbox is relatively sweet, too. The shift action is light – well weighted to the rest of the powertrain – but can baulk on occasion. That said, it’s on a par with rivals, thanks to ratios spaced to make the most of the new motor and a long top gear for efficient motorway cruising.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi: ride and handling
The Zafira Tourer’s chassis matches its willing engine. This is a big car but it steers accurately and feels rather agile given its sheer dimensions and mass.
Our car was fitted with the optional FlexRide suspension system. There was a noticeable difference in Sport mode – the suspension felt firmer while there was more weight to the steering and a sharper response to the throttle – while Tour mode did the opposite, making things softer and lighter.
The standard mode is perfectly adequate, though, and roll is controlled well. It’s smooth and comfortable, and even seven-up, we can imagine the Zafira Tourer being a perfectly agreeable place to cover plenty of miles in.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi: interior
Markedly reducing noise and vibration from the engine means more road noises are uncovered where once you wouldn’t have heard them, drowned out by a diesel clatter. We’re pleased to report the Zafira Tourer deals with this well, and the cabin is quiet and refined.
The 1.6 CDTi engine in the Zafira Tourer returns a claimed 68.9mpg combined with 109g/km CO2
It’s also comfortable, and the latest iteration of Vauxhall’s Flex7 versatile seating system means you can tweak the arrangement of the chairs for either a full complement of passengers (offering strong levels of space) or the biggest load capacity possible.
It’s easy to convert from a seven- to four-seat arrangement – just fold the rear row away and the middle second row seat down; the two outside seats then slide back to give more leg and shoulder room.
Boot space is competitive at 710 litres with the first two rows in place, rising to 1,860 litres with the middle seats folded fully flat.
Interior quality is good – at least on a par with its mainstream rivals – but the button-heavy dash and low-res trip computer between the dials let what is otherwise a neat and ergonomically sound cabin down a touch. A less cluttered screen and rotary control arrangement would be preferable.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi: economy and safety
The new 1.6 CDTi is much more efficient than the ageing 1.7-litre turbodiesel unit it replaces, returning a claimed 68.9mpg combined with 109g/km CO2 – best-in-class efficiency, according to Vauxhall.
Stop-start comes as standard, as does a kinetic energy recovery system as part of the British manufacturer’s ecoFlex package of efficiency-improving measures.
Blind spot monitors, lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control and ESP come fitted as standard across the range, as well as six airbags.
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi: the MSN Cars verdict
The Zafira Tourer was always a relatively strong proposition in the MPV marketplace, offering decent looks, a roomy and flexible seven-seat layout, and fairly efficient diesel engines.
Now though, a seating update and the new 1.6 CDTi motor take this to a new level – offering a touch more practicality as well as much improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions – making it more attractive to both private and fleet buyers as a result.
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