VAUXHALL is set to tighten its grip on the MPV segment with the all-new Zafira Tourer.

Three diesel and two petrol engines are on offer, and there are six trims available: the ES, Exclusiv, Tech Line, SRi, SE and the Elite.

I drove the new 1.6-litre ‘whisper diesel’, offering 134bhp at 3,500rpm.

Steering is light and it’s a refined and smooth ride – nicely responsive and surprisingly quiet at speed.

Improved suspension means it now soaks up bumps well, and the seats are comfortable and supportive.

Inside feels pleasantly upmarket, and visibility has been improved thanks to a redesigned front layout, with slim A-pillars, sleek B-pillars, large side windows and repositioned door mirrors.

A panoramic windscreen and large glass sunroof is an option, giving you great views, with the top of the windscreen extending back to the front row of seats.

The sunroof stretches all the way to the back of the car.

You’ll obviously get bleeped at if you forget to put your seatbelt on, but these sensors also went off with my handbag on the passenger seat – it clearly has far too much stuff in it if the car mistook it for a person!

A new feature is the revised satellite navigation, which shows not only the fastest and shortest routes but also one on which you can expect to use the least amount of fuel, taking into account vehicle specification, road characteristics and driving style.

Practicality is this car’s middle name, and there are more than 30 handy storage compartments.

In total, 710 litres of storage space is available, with a maximum storage capacity of 1,860 litres when the three single seats in the second row are folded flat.

A bonus of the new rear axle system in the Zafira Tourer is the FlexFix bicycle carrier, allowing you to transport up to four bikes at a time.

There’s loads of standard safety kit, including six airbags and a stability control system that helps you keep control of the car in wet conditions.

Driving aids such as lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and blind spot assist are available as an option.

Vauxhall offers a three-year warranty.

Zafira Tourer Whisper Diesel
Price: £26,795 on the road
Top speed: 120mph
0-60mph: 10.4 seconds
Fuel: 68.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 109g/km