Fleet News

Vauxhall Zafira 2.0 DTi Elegance – 5,200 miles

Vauxhall

Review

IT'S hard to defend myself against accusations of writing 'dadsy' road tests, when I'm currently behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Zafira, a family wagon if ever there was one.

Really, there comes a time in a man's life when pub chat changes from lost weekends in Amsterdam to patios, DIY and offspring, and car chat moves away from 0-60mph times and megawatt stereos, to boot space and mpg.

For me, this coincides with a time when company car drivers are increasingly conscious of the benefit-in-kind tax bills they pay for their cars, and when offering a choice list that provides fit-for-fleet-use vehicles that meet the private needs of their tax paying drivers has become a key human resource challenge.

The Zafira doesn't quite cut the mustard in the company car tax stakes, with the 2.0DTi engine off the pace of common rail diesel rivals.

In real terms, this means the diesel versions of the cheaper Renault Scenic and Citroen Picasso are taxed at 18% of their list prices, compared to 20% for the Zafira. And from a flexibility perspective, the Zafira's seven-seat ability has been caught up by the Honda Stream and Peugeot 307 SW, although the Flex-7 seating arrangement in the Vauxhall still impresses as much as its marvellously deep, wide and tall boot when in five-seat guise.

The car's height makes it easy to clip children into safety seats, its huge boot swallows the wagon-train that accompanies travelling infants, and its coarse, hard-wearing black seats look tough enough to deal with a thousand spilt drinks and crisp crumbs.

Were my beloved and I forced to live with one car, the MPV's flexibility would win every time.

But – and it's a big but – the Zafira would only get the nod if our local Vauxhall franchise could fix the unpredictable alarm. A car can commit no worse sin than sounding its alarm, unprompted, at 4am in the morning underneath the window of a 'sleeping' four- week-old baby.

Apparently the alarm needs a new control unit – we'll let you know whether this unit works. Sorry, I had to mention baby Angus, but overall not too 'dadsy' I hope.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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