It’s not the new Vauxhall Zafira, it’s the new Vauxhall Zafira Tourer. Why the new name? Because the current Zafira will continue to be sold alongside the new Zafira Tourer, which lands in UK showrooms in early 2012.
Vauxhall claims its new MPV sits above the current car and will ‘raise the bar for design, luxury, flexibility and innovation in the MPV sector’. In other words, it’s now going directly after Ford’s excellent S-Max.
Right, what will my family like about the new Vauxhall Zafira Tourer?
The clever Flex7 technology (allowing five seats to quickly become seven) that debuted on original Zafira remains, but it’s been updated: the third row still folds flush with the floor, but the second row is no longer one big bench but three separate seats. Each one can be folded and moved forward and backwards through 210mm, to give kids (or unfortunate adults forced to ride in the back) a little extra legroom.
Pay a little more and the middle seat in the second row folds and rotates to become armrests for passengers either side, whose seats in turn can slide by 280mm and inboard by 50mm for some additional space. The Meriva also donates its FlexConsole to the Zafira, the trick central storage system running between the front seats.
There’s a bigger boot too, now 710 litres in five-seat configuration (up 65 litres on the current car) and a whopping 1860 litres (up 40 litres) with all the rear seats folded flat. But all this space hasn’t been found from nowhere – the new Zafira Tourer features a 57mm longer wheelbase and wider tracks (up 96mm at the front and 78mm at the rear), and is 190mm longer overall.
What else must I know?
That it’s a pretty good looking MPV, looking near-identical to the concept unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show and pretty smart to boot. The ‘boomerang’ graphics, which sweep from the top of the headlights to the fog lights in the bumper, are adopted from the plug-in Ampera, and it sticks with a set of conventionally hinged rear doors rather than adopting the sliding variety.
Under the sleek skin the front axle is pinched from the Insignia, while the rear end set-up is similar to the current Zafira, but with the additios of a Watt’s link similar to that in the Astra, a feature designed to compensate for the lack of proper independent rear suspension.
Vauxhall’s adaptive damping FlexRide system is an option, with Standard, Tour and Sport settings for drivers to pick from. FlexFix, the Corsa-style pop-out-from-the-rear-bumper bicycle carrier is an option, as is a big panoramic windscreen that stretches back past the A-pillar.
What about power for my people carrier?
Under the bonnet there are three versions of Vauxhall’s 2.0 CDTi diesel, in 108, 128 and 163bhp guises, while buyers after a petrol engine can pick from a turbocharged 1.4 and a naturally aspirated 1.8, both producing 138bhp. All models bar the 1.8 come with a six-speed manual as standard (the sole n/a unit makes do with a five-speed ‘box) while a six-speed auto is an option on some models; stop/start will be available on some engines, but exactly which ones won’t be revealed until later this year.
The new Zafira Tourer also features adaptive cruise control with an emergency brake function, a lane departure warning system, a traffic sign recognition function, forward collision alert, adaptive lights, a blind spot alert system, and a park assist system – essentially, a lot of systems you’ll have to pay extra for.
Sales start at the very end of 2011, with cars reaching UK showrooms in early 2012. Expect prices to being pretty similar to that of the Ford S-Max (i.e £22k-£32k).
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