Used Vauxhall Zafira Review (2011-2018) MK3

Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force

4-minute read

Vauxhall Zafira Exterior Front

Vauxhall Zafira (2011-2018)

The Vauxhall Zafira MPV is virtually unmatched in its class in terms of practicality, providing up to seven seats, a spacious interior, and a fantastic range of kit

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  • Very spacious
  • Excellent range of equipment
  • Wide range of trim levels available
  • Looks are a bit dull
  • Strong rivals
  • Not the most exciting to drive
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What's the Vauxhall Zafira like?

When its mid-size MPV was launched, Vauxhall claimed the Zafira was the first of its kind.

While that may not have been true - the Renault Scenic and Citroën Picasso come to mind - it was certainly the first compact people carrier with seven seats.

And it still offers a good used buy for families, with loads of useable space, many special touches, and rearmost Flex 7 easy fold seats that drop down into the floor.

It finally succumbed to the lust for 4x4 lookalike SUVs in 2018, but with numerous updates and revisions and very good standard equipment, it's now quite a bargain.


Just three engines are available in the Zafira – one petrol and two diesels.

The petrol is a 1.4-litre turbo with 140bhp that can cover the 0 to 60mph sprint in about 10 seconds, while achieving 41mpg at very best

The diesels are 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines, with 134bhp or 170bhp. The 134bhp is the company's whisper quiet engine and is dubbed Ecoflex because it can get to an economy of 62mpg. But it's not slow, still reaching 60mph from rest in 10.4 seconds.

Top 2.0-litre diesels have 167bhp but driven carefully will still do 55mpg, and they cover the sprint in 9.1 seconds.

All three drive the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard, but were also available with a 6-speed automatic. These of course will have lower economy, and they're also slightly slower.

Probably the best choice for the majority of buyers is the very good 1.6-litre diesel, but the petrols often have lower miles for the same outlay.

Driving Experience

Performance is pretty good in the Zafira, with quick in-gear acceleration and effortless cruising.

That said, the Zafira is not the most scintillating MPV to drive – that accolade goes to the Mazda5 as far as I’m concerned – but the Flexride chassis borrowed from the Insignia matches most of the others in the class to give decent handing and good roadholding.

It also gives an excellent ride, even when larger wheels and lower profile tyres are fitted, soaking up rough B-road surfaces in its stride.

The steering is well-weighted at speed and through corners, and gives plenty of assistance when parking.


There's a bewildering array of trim options – 11 in all – and even lower order cars have a fantastic range of kit.
Peter Hayward

The mid-range SRi Nav comes with climate, navigation, DAB radio with remote controls, Bluetooth, parking sensors, alarm, sports front seats, traction control, cruise control, and alloy wheels.

A facelift in 2016 brought a new interior and touchscreen, plus a sculptured steering wheel and small windows in the A-pillars helping the already good visibility.

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If practicality is what you're after, there's no need to look further than the family-friendly Vauxhall Zafira. It may not be the most attractive MPV out there, but it makes a brilliant competitor in terms of dependability with a surprising amount of space and a range of trim levels, all offering generous levels of equipment as standard.