Vauxhall Zafira - Tourer

Late in May, at Germany’s Frankfurt Motor Show General Motors announced a new entrant in the seven-seater space. The Zafira minivan, which was revealed as a slick concept car at the Geneva show back in March, is scheduled to be produced bearing Opel and Vauxhall badges.

Zafira Geneva Motor Show

This will come as excellent news to British drivers, many of whom fondly recall the potential of the original Zafira, if not its rather dubious record for reliability. The new Zafira is a fabulous looking car and looks set to be a strong entrant in the seven-seat MPV sector.

The latest iteration of the Zafira, GM’s third since the name launched in 1999, brings a truly luxurious look, with an upmarket look to the overall exterior styling and many nice premium touches inside and out. The whole design speaks of GM’s aim to create a solid offering.

The Zafira is actually a rather big vehicle but the bulk is hidden very well by a body shape and details that impart swoopy, slick and sporting feel. The shape shouts of cheating the wind and the front end styling, despite perhaps being a tad contentious, is nicely integrated into the overall design.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

** Vauxhall Tourer **

Similarly to recent seven-seaters from French companies Renault and Citroen, the Zafira enjoys a huge, steeply-raked windscreen that helps to provide an airy feeling for passengers. The people on the inside will also enjoy GM’s Flex7 seating system.

Flex7 has been around since the Zafira first appeared and it has long been one of the model’s marks of genius. The system is simple, effective and inspiring to other carmakers.

In the latest Zafira, the Flex7 seating has been fundamentally improved. The middle row now contains three fully-independent seats.

Vauxhall Tourer 7 Seats

Each seat in the middle row can be folded flat or moved separately. They can each be moved longitudinally as much as 210mm.

An optional Lounge Seating system is available. This allows for the back of the second row’s middle seat to be folded down and rotated so the passengers in the other two seats can use it as an armrest.

With five seats installed, the Zafira Tourer enjoys 710 litres of cargo volume. That’s 65 litres more than you get in the existing model. Fold down the rear two rows of seats, and the car can muster 1,860 litres of cargo space, some 40 litres more than the outgoing model M.

Both wheelbase and track have increased on the 2012 model, which should provide a boost in stability, roadholding and comfort. A slim range of engine options will be available when the new Zafira appears in Europe near the end of this year.

Initially, there will be three variations of the 2.0-litre CDTI diesel and two different 1.4-litre ECOTEC petrol engines. All, however, will be available with Start/Stop technology.

A bit later, prospective buyers will see their engine options expand to include an ecoFLEX model and other engines running on LPG or CNG. The 2012 Zafira could possible turn out to be an impressive combination of MPV, cargo-hauler and environmentally-friendly seven-seater.

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