This is my second Vauxhall Zafira and overall it is good value for money and a reliable and versatile family car. The interior trim is a little 'dated' and the wide swathe of plastic dashboard could be improved, but hey... it is horses for courses, depends what you want out of your car. I wanted a seven seater, reliable and (reasonably cheap) vehicle and this compares well with similar MPV's such as the Ford Galaxy or Mitubishi People carrier. Fuel economy is probably average for a car of this size. Reliability on this and my previous Vauxhall Zafira is good, I have only ever had puncture breakdowns (my fault?). The bodywork does seem to scratch easily, but I do have a silver metalic which may be the reason for this. Also, the wife sometimes drives, which could also be the reason! When you first sit in the driving seat it seems high up and unlike another reviewer, I find the overall visibility to be good. Runs smoothly and quietly.
The laws of physics used to be fairly strictly followed by car manufacturers until the wide acceptance of the people carrier as a damn good idea. Initially resembling vans with seats, the VW Sharan/Ford Galaxy/Seat Alhambra changed all that by making good, large cars with versatile seating arrangements and lots of equipment. However, the laws of physics dictated that these had to be large on the outside to be large on the inside - adding to size, cost and fuel consumption. Right then, said Vauxhall, we'll ignore that scientific rubbish and create a car that is smaller than a full size people carrier on the outside but just as big on the inside. For a family of six, this was fate - so we bought one. Built on the Vauxhall Astra platform, the Zafira makes the most of this fairly short wheel base in two ways. Firstly, the bodywork is pushed out firmly to all four corners so no space is wasted on stylish curves (see Citroen Picasso). Secondly, Vauxhall invented the Flex7 seating system, which is very flexible and extremely easy to live with - and fundamentally the secret to the Zafira's success. Basically, you have two standard front seats, three middle seats and two rear seats. The two front seats stay where they are, so no surprises there then. The middle row can be slid very easily back and forth to either maximise leg room or load space in the boot. It can also be folded up (it has a 60/40 split so don't have to fold it all away) behind the front seats to make the carrying space even bigger. Lastly, quite literally, is the third row of two seats. These are split so you can have both up, only one up or both down. When I say down, I actually mean they magically disappear. The middle row slides forward and the back row collapse forward to form a floor for a flat load area. Brilliant. We received it just after the range had a minor facelift in the Summer of 2003. Proper three point seat belts for all 7 seats
and a new interior trim being the most notable features. The interior is standard Vauxhall black plastic but we ordered black seats with red insert panels which looks better than it sounds, brightens the cabin up immensely, and the best bit is that even after six months of carting the tribe around, it has worn very well with scarcely a mark on it. Airconditioning, electric front windows, electric wing mirrors and CD player with controls on the steering wheel take care of the creature comforts. Remote central locking with deadlocks, alarm and immobiliser help do for the security. The driver is rewarded with height adjustable steering wheel and seat, and the all round visibility and driving position is very good. White dials for the speedo and rev counter hint at sportiness but that is all they do. The 1.8 16 valve engine was pretty tight for the first few thousand miles, but has loosened up nicely and not only feels better to drive, revving more freely, it also gives slightly better fuel consumption now that it is worn in. Though the performance is nothing special, it copes well in all conditions including lugging the family up the M1 with luggage. It also stays fairly level when cornering, making it feel very safe, unlike many cars of this type which tend to roll quite a bit because of their height. If you and your family were regularly making extended road trips, you might just find the Zafira a little to limited, but as I say, it supports everything our family of six needs in my experience. One thing that I would mark it down on would be the styling - I know this car is all about being practical, but it is a fairly uninspiring shape. We opted for an ice silver metallic which in hindsight exaggerates the large slab sides - I think it would work better in a metallic blue. That aside, I can recommend the Zafira very highly.
We have had our Zafira Comfort since Autumn 99. We love it in every way, and as the other reviewers state, you cannot beat the seating system in this vehicle. However, we do have one beef. The visibility out the front looking left or right is terrible. There are two great "tusk like" supports on either side of the windscreen (the technical name for these I do not know) which are in the way when looking to the left or right. I constantly find myself craning into various positions to see around them, and twice I've had near accidents with cars blocked from my view. I have to be very careful and hope that I never have an instance where time is too short. To anyone considering buying one, please check this out carefully for yourself when doing a test drive - and make sure you take a test drive. I am amazed the number of people I meet who lay out huge amounts of money on a vehicle they have never even driven before! Otherwise, total thumbs up!
We were already converts to MPV`s when we chose the zafira for our company car....but to save us some pennies we decided to size down a bit from the Seat Alhambra we previously had. We expected to come down in quality and performance too....not so at all we found!! The Zafira is a much more pleasant car to drive than the bigger mpv....much more nippy and easier to handle. It is economical and has plenty of room for us ,three kids and luggage...although we did invest in a roof box for our annual trip to Cornwall....where else to put the surfboards??? The thing we like about it most is the ease of rearranging the seat configuration onside...no more lugging heavy seats about...we actually kept one in the loft permanently from the other car..... No...it`s one simple action with the Zafira , and the back seat s can go under the floor...one or bothe of them, and with the middle row folded it has a huge capacity. We love our car...can you tell??And we honestly feel proud when we all pile in...it looks sleek and contoured...one niggle?? we think a cd player should come as standard, not an extra...and there should be little speakers right in the back....you have to blast it out in the front for the kids to hear all the way back there!!! I would say that this is a definate option for anyone looking at a smaller MPV.....not for someone who regularly carries 7 adults on long journeys...the back seats are a bit of a push for anyone larger than a small adult!! But for us it is absolutely ideal....we made the right choice!!