Last year we decided to replace our ageing Polo with something more spacious to accommodate for our family growth. We were expecting to become a family of four. We moved to a new, bigger house but my wives maternal instincts didn't stop there and she suggested that a family car would be a good idea. I quickly adopted the idea as I knew that Polo is getting close to the 10th birthday and although it was a great value for money and served me well during a year of intense commuting it was destined to spend more time in garages than on the road for the rest of its life.
We looked at various spacious cars which would suit our budget. The only two left in the hat were Fiat Multipla and Vauxhall Zafira. Our main criterion was to fit 4 of us plus 2 grand parents occasionally in one car. We didn't want something too big as most of the time there will be just 4 of us. Also our budget was not allowing us to go for a new car or most expensive choices. We have established that Toyota Corolla Verso is excellent car but most models were 5 seaters and it was costing much more. Multipla looked perfect as it has 6 separate seats. Many people hate the design so it would be difficult to sell. Also it looks very wide so we finished with 3 year old Zafira. We went for 1.6 engine because it spend less petrol and most of the time the car is not overloaded so it looked strong enough for us. We were thinking between Club (basic version) and Design (few extra options already built in). We tried both cars and it seems that seats are much better, more comfortable in the Design model. There is also a leather steering wheel, better dashboard instruments design, as well as little exterior details which made us to go for Design.
We bought from the dealer specialising in Vauxhall Zafiras and he said that most popular colours are silver and black and they always come with 100-200 pounds extra price tag. We had a choice to go for other colours but they were so bad that it was obvious why silver and black were so popular. We got our black 2004 Zafira and we never looked back.
I am still teased by my wife that I can always switch to another business if my current career goes in the wrong direction. She thinks black Zafira could be a good undertaking car.
Anyway I won't be telling you that Zafira 1.6 makes 0 -60 in 12 or 22 secs, or how much mpg you can make. Sorry, but I am not paying that much attention to statistics when it comes to cars. I'll tell you what I like and what I don't like and you judge for yourself.
- You don't have a feel that you drive huge car. Driver's seat height and position is well done so you really feel like you are in an Astra. It is easy to drive and turn. Parking it is easy as well (cannot speak for women as I am male)
- Very clever design with 5 standard seats and 2 seats which could be set up in the boot area if needed. All seats are spacious apart from 2 seats in the third row which are not designed to be used by huge adults or all the time.
- Classic and simple design of speedometer. Very easy to read and I like seeing big rpm displayed as well.
- Design model has commands for radio and CD on the steering wheel which is very handy
- Relatively cheap to service, very popular car so easy to find spare parts
- Very affordable pricing
- Air condition
I don't like:
- For some reason the engine drinks a lot of oil. I checked everything and heard from many sources that that is how it is supposed to be. Now I just add 1l of oil for every 1000 miles. It looks to me more like a tractor engine than modern car engine but I cannot complain that performance is bad.
- Obviously it spends more petrol than smaller cars. It is not that bad compared with other similar cars but for us that would be an issue which could make us decide to sell it at some point in future. That is the price to be paid for a bigger space.
- There is no boot space left when all 7 seats are used. Not too bad for us as we don't travel by car very long distances and 6 seats is OK most of the time but could be an issue for some people.
- It would be nice to be able to use ISOFIX system for child seats. I hope they implemented them in newer models.
- Image of 'school-run' vehicle for mid-class stay-at-home mums. Not a big issue for me as I don't think my car is there to help me make an impression about myself but I know a lot of people are too conscious about cars they drive.
All in all very comfortable and spacious car for not a lot of money. Recommended to families with children, people who don't mind driving a car with not so much WOW factor, people who like no-nonsense approach in interior design, undertakers (only black version) ...
... and now for something completely different ...
We got this car, as we have 3 kids, and our eldest daughter was fed up with been squashed up in the middle seat!
We love it, it is just right for our family, the only trouble is, when we need to put the pushchair in the boot, we cant have the back seats up, so my daughter is still squashed up in the middle. That will be no problems though when my youngest no longer needs a pram. To change from a 5 seater to a 2 seater, takes about 5 seconds, and its not hard to do at all.
When the back seats are down, the boot space is huge, when they are up, the space is quite limited.
Its lovely to drive, it doesnt feel any different to driving a car.
I thought it would guzzle petrol, but it doesnt seem to be any different to the astra we had before.
Nice to look at from the ouside, doesnt look like a mini bus.
Doe need some kind of windows right at the back as it can get stuffy back there.
I recommend this car for any large family.
I have beeb lucky enough to have been given the option of choosing the Zafira Comfort as a company car, and as I have 4 daughters it seemed the wisest choice for my needs. My girls are all quite young, ages 7,5,2 & 2 months, so as well as having to transport them, I also have to transport their "accessories". Nappies, bottles, books, toys, MacDonalds. And...I have to say the Zafira has performed well. There is room for the girls and their stuff in general, and I would not hesitate to recommend this car for the transport of children. However, I would be very relunctant to have adults in the middle seats (2 3-point belts and 1 lap-belt) and would definately not advise any average sized adult to try a get in the rear seats. In addition to this, with the back seats up, there is very little room, not enough for a small buggy, which we have to "jam" between the middle and front seats. The Zafira itself drives really well, much more like a car than my Espace does, and handles like a typical Vauxhall. Lots of cup-holders around, although the one's built in to the fold-down arm rest in the middle seating seems to be just a gimmick and was quickly broken by prying little fingers.
You can imagine the look of sheer terror on my face when my wife came home saying"ive chosen our new car".Hope its big was my reply(4 kids one dog cat etc etc)i looked it over the day it arrived until then i had only seen pictures fine i said half heartedly.in fact what became evedent after two or three spins about town was this was an excellant choice but us males dont like accepting we are wrong.air conditioning central locking and those neat flexable seats this is not a box on wheels but a rather refined class of transport designed by someone with more than 2.4 kids possibly.yes Vauxhall im impressed my metallic green wagon sits proudly outside my home,without blocking out the sun to my front window no more petrol tankers following me the fuel consumption is first class.
Very impessed with this MPV, that doen't make you feel like you're driving a transit van. It literally takes 2 minutes to convert it from a five seater to a seven seater and it is so easy. The two 'extra seats' are located under the floor of the boot - you slide the whole middle bench forward and just pull one or both of them up, slide your middle seat back and Bob's your Uncle! Which is ideal if, like me you have two kids, and only occasionally need the extra seating. Boot space is somewhat limited with all seats in use, but I can still fit the buggy in. The extra height is great for lifting little ones in and out of car seats. The 'Comfort' has lots of lovely extras. Air-con with a vent in the rear to keep the kids cool, stereo controls on the steering wheel, adjustable steering wheel, the armrest comletely folds out for transporting long things [planks of wood maybe??!!] 8 drinks holders, two of which are built into the armrest for the children - though some square ones for juice cartons would have been nice, my 3 year old son had to tell me, as I was trying to wedge a carton into one 'no Mummy, that's for MacDonalds juice', silly me!! It definately isn't sluggish either, even when full of kids, bikes, pushchairs etc. Being based on an Astra wheelbase it's not too big, which makes for easy parking. It seems to be fairly economical, we're driving from Yorkshire to Devon tomorrow so I'll report back!
Like Dr.Who's machine, the Zafira seems bigger inside than out. I've just swapped an Astra Estate for one, and can't believe it's built on the same platform, there's so much room inside - in the front, in the back, and even in the boot. And then there's the flexibility - it can be a car,taxi, school bus or even a small van, with any number of seats from 2 to 7. If your'e interested in a new one, check out the com. model on the Vauxhall website - great value !