Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

There’s a very good choice of engines in the Zafira line-up with four petrols and two diesels. The 1.9 CDTi is the only diesel but comes in two power outputs of 120bhp and 150bhp and it’s a great engine whichever version you go for. In everyday driving there’s little to choose between the two and both economy and emissions are similar, however the extra power in the 150bhp model is noticeable when overtaking.

The petrol range begins with a 1.6-litre with 105bhp which feels sluggish, especially with a full load of passengers on board but the 1.6 VVT engine with 115bhp is better and feels more sprightly. It’s little surprise that the 1.8-litre is the more popular engine though and with 140bhp it has enough get up and go for most. The sporty 200bhp 2.0T unit manages the 0-60mph sprint in just 9.0 seconds and is a hugely enjoyable engine to use but with an average fuel economy figure of just 30mpg it doesn’t make much sense for family buyers looking to keep costs down.

The other petrol engine is the 2.2-litre with 150bhp which is smooth and quiet if lacking a little in mid-range pace. In early 2009 an ecoFLEX model was added which uses a 1.7 CDTi engine and manages to emit 139g/km of CO2 while averaging 53mpg.

On the move, the Zafira feels safe and predictable but it does little to excite. It grips well enough and there isn’t too much body roll but the steering feels wooden and the manual gearbox isn’t particularly pleasant to use either. Buyers can opt for IDS-plus – an advanced chassis control system that adjusts the suspension settings to give better roadholding when needed or a softer ride.

It improves things somewhat but is little better than the standard set-up. The ride could be better too and the suspension isn’t as cosseting as newer people carriers like the Renault Scenic.