“ A flexible and affordable family car, the Zafira Life is a great option for young families. Comfortable, spacious and responsive to drive. Seating flexibility is a real bonus. „
Hi I changed my nissan micra to this vauxhall zafira approximately 5 years ago when I was first pregnant. I was after a car that had a big boot capcity and this car certainly fulfils this requirement. I had never driven a car this large before (having always owned small cars like a micra etc) and although I was a bit worried it did not take very long for me to get used to it. I love the space it has inside. We are a family who likes to camp with comfort and since our family has grown we are still able to fit everything with room still to spare. We have used the stowaway seats a few time that can be found in the boot and have driven with the full 7 seats being occupied. This wasnt a problem at all. There boot cover is rollaway so if you do suddenly need to put something bigger in the boot or use the extra seats you are not looking for a place to stash the lid. Inside it has a built in cd radio player and has air con included. Its nothing fancy, but it has what is needed to drive comfortably. Mechanically my car has done well over the 5 years I have had it (it was preowned when we bought it but was ex motorbility so relatively new and in good condition) it has generally just cost the usual wear and tear replacements as cars do as they age, the only fault I have with mine, and I dont know if it is a general fault or just my car, is one of the passenger doors keeps locking shut. This has been over the past 18 months. The first time the car was completely locked and couldnt be opened either inside or out, this time round it is locked from the outside but opens from the inside. I have had a couple of minor bumps with the car (neither to do with the car's performance- just bad luck when on the roads) and the car has come off remarkably well, a couple of scratches the first time and nothing at all the second so I feel quite secure driving my child around in it compared to a smaller car. In regards to petrol consumption it costs me approximately between £65 to £70 to fill the entire tank from orange light to full so it may not be the car for people on tight petrol budgets and the road tax per year is ever steadily rising to the £200 mark (may even be over this year when I get my renewal) Im expecting to change my car within the next couple of years, only I would like a newer one and would definately buy the same again.
We have owned our 1.6 Zafira life 57 plate for just over a year now and yes its quite basic but well worth every penny we paid for ours.
These cars are very roomy inside and the middle and rear seating are simple to move around when not in use with the kids.
We have 3 children and 2 dogs and we like to go out for family walks with our dogs which sometimes involves driving to somewhere first!
It's great when we unexpectedly have another child to collect from school or an after school club as I can just pop one of the extra seats up in the rear section of the car and it is absolutely no hassle at all.
The only bad thing in our car (and I don't know if it is the same in other Zafira's) is that in the middle section of seating the seatbelt casings have all fallen apart so have had to have them fixed so not too happy about that!
Inside fixtures and fittings are plastic and a bit cheapy but you get what you pay for I suppose!
On the whole the car is very simple to drive and have had no problems with engine or any other costly thing with it so far. (Lets hope I'm not speaking too soon here!)
We've had our Zafira now for over 6 months and have no real complaints. Everything functions as it should and there have been no mechanical problems. We bought it at 10 months old with 6K on the clock and saved something like £7,500 on the list price which can't be bad. It comfortably accommodates two adults and two children and a vast amount of luggage and has frequently been used to transport up to six adults in reasonable comfort. Seven adults would be a bit of a squeeze. There is little space for luggage when both rear seats are in use. The seating/luggage space is however quite flexible and it's a bonus to be able to fold the two rearmost seats into the floor rather than to have to remove them completely as was the case with our old car, a 2.9 diesel Kia Sedona automatic.
Mileage is not bad - an average of 39.8 per gallon in the last 6 months for mixed town and country driving is a brilliant improvement on our previous car. The Zafira's £165 to tax for the year (cheaper than the Kia at £245) and insurance group 6/13. I got the insurance info from the Vauxhall website - I don't seem to be able to find it anywhere on my policy documents.
Performance is adequate and about what you'd expect for a 1.6 engine. It needs to be worked hard with a big load. Tinted rear windows are a bonus on this model and ideal for keeping the kids cool and for security. The air conditioning seems to be effective in hot weather. We had a couple of long family trips in the summer (around 480 miles) and everyone kept their cool (more or less). We didn't experience any comfort issues with that length of journey (9/10 hours with breaks) and I wouldn't anticipate any difficulty in travelling further. There's less room inside than in the old Sedona but the Zafira is much quieter. It's much more of a car than the big Kia.
All in all it's an unspectacular but more than adequate family car which we've found ideal for our needs - a family with two children with the requirement to transport up to three additional adult children from time to time.
Negatives ? the irksome indicators which I still have difficulty mastering - does the control really have to operate in a way which is different to every other car I've ever driven ?
When our old Toyota carena E Finally packed in, we needed a new camping bus.
If you have read any of my other reviews you will know we have six dogs (5 Jack Russels & an old Collie).
It takes all of us in comfort with all the camping gear, and room to spare.
I also go fishing regularly, and it takes 4 of us and all the tackle with ease. We all are sizeable men, and the Zafira has no problems pulling the load.
The 1.6 16valve ecco engine pulls very well, being a short stroke engine, it is a high revving motor and needs to be kept singing on the hills.
We've had this for three years now on a 55 plate, and had no problems at all.
68,000 Trouble Free miles.
The original reason we got the Zafira was, doing the math's (seeing I'm a Toyota man) the price of the Toyota meant that we could Re-new the Zafira 4 times to having one Toyota for less money.
But as it's turned out the Zafira is doing really well.
We are getting between 35 and 42 miles to the gallon on average.
Travelling for a distance is no problem, as the ride is very comfortable for the price your paying, the handling is more than reasonable.
I could go on and on about this car, because there's more goods than bad's about it.
We've used it for family outings taking 7 with ease and comfort
We purchased an 06 plate Zafira just over 18 months ago as a replacement for an aging Astra. After researching the market we concluded that we needed something larger than the new version Astra (which had a smaller boot than its predecessor) so we were either looking at a Vectra/Mondeo class car or a people carrier. Given that we have various friends with small children that occasionally travel with us, and we visit family we decided it would be useful to have the ability to transport more than the 4 (due to car seats) that a traditional saloon would offer.
In choosing a people carrier we quickly came down to a choice between the Ford S Max, the Toyota Verso or the Zafira. The first two are probably better/bigger cars but they are also newer and come with a higher price tag. We spotted an ex Mobability Zafira coming off its lease, 3 years old having done 23k miles which we got for £6500.
We have found it to be a very practical versatile car. The back two extra seats can take car seats and the boys love travelling as "luggage" although we only do this for short distances. We have for example been able to visit their grandparents and all go out for the day in one car rather than pay two lots of parking charges. We have also taken it on camping trips where the huge boot space has been invaluable, as has the ability to move the back seats forward to create more space (as the kids don't need the leg room). With the boot opened up to the maximum it is possible to transport large items like tables lying flat on the floor. The normal back seats move forwards, the seat backs fold down, and the seat parts fold up so you have a lot of options to use the space.
The 1.6 engine is economical but a little bit lacking in power for quick acceleration if fully loaded. If you like your car to have a bit more "go" then you might want to consider the 1.8 versions but you'll obviously trade fuel consumption. You only really notice the slight lack of power on pulling away - it cruises very comfortably at motorway speeds.
There aren't many negatives that we've noticed at all - if you are buying one listen for a whistle - there is a problem with the aerodynamics of the original throttle assembly which leads to this whistling at certain accelerator positions. This can be fixed by changing it, and you may be able to get the dealer (if buying from a garage) to change it as part of the deal. That said ours hasn't been changed and you soon tune it out. The handbrake takes a little while to get used to - being an aircraft style lateral handle rather than the more usual straight stick - but again you quickly adjust. We did go through a few fuses on the windscreen washer circuit until the local Vauxhall garage advised us to put a higher rated one in - the original 10A one is too small when holding the washer on for more than the odd couple of seconds especially in winter when its all cold.
In summary a good value, reliable and flexible family car. Keep your eyes open for ex motability ones which are likely to be low mileage and often bought in by dealers to sell for sales volumes.
I had never been a fan of 'people carriers' until friends of ours bought one. I watched them strapping their children in to their car seats and had so much room to maneuver.
So, when it reached the point where our car was costing us increasing amounts of money on repairs we started looking seriously at the Zafira.
What impressed us most was the versatility. We have a small child who obviously needs a car seat and we can position the seats to give us lots of room when strapping her in. Also impressive is the amount of head room as that has been a problem in the past when lifting our child in and out of the car.
Then, at weekends, we can remove the car seat and slide the middle set of seats forward, leaving the rear seats flat and fit 3 bikes in the back easily (thus making my other half's hobby that much easier)!
The other option is to lift up the rear set of seats when we have visitors. The middle set of seats can be positioned according to the amount of leg room required and you then have a 7 seater car. The folding rear seats are a bonus as you don't have to remove and store seats as in some other cars. I wouldn't recommend having adults in the rear seats for any lengthy journeys, but they are perfectly comfortable for shorter trips.
To begin with, it does feel like a bus, but that is purely due to the amount of space available, it is a very roomy car, but is about the same size as an Astra estate.
It's a lovely car and I wouldn't be without mine now.
About the car / reasons for its importance
The Vauxhall Zafira is a humble family car which is sometimes little underrated, my mother bought the Zafira just over a year ago to support her with her busy "mum" lifestyle. With my teenage brothers who are constantly growing, having a fashionable saloon or a hatchback is not an option for my mother. Zafira has given the family much needed freedom to travel without facing the chaotic hassles bought on by my brothers, such as "there's no room for my football, basketball, rugby ball and my girlfriend" or perhaps the most famous quote "I am not seating besides him today", in this instance each of my brothers can have a half a car to themselves or rather their abnormally long legs. Yes! This fantastic car provides the 21st century family with much needed space for growing children and their million to one accessory.
My mother's Zafira is a metallic Black colour, it has a very attractive design, which disguises its actual size and appears much smaller than it actually is. The wheels are alloyed and formatively designed for excellent performance and creates great appeal to the eye. The front of the car has what seems diamond shaped face which glacis down to give an almost majestic appeal. The four doors which operate by central locking open outwards unlike many SUV which have a sidling design doors, which I believe creates better detail to the car. However, having a door that slides would be a better convenient for passengers to exist and enter in those tight parking spaces.
The interior is spaciously designed, the seats are adjustable to meet the required space, the Zafira provides 6 1/2 seats, the middle seat is very small and isn't really suitable nor is it comfortable for passengers . The back two seats are rather small but useful to use as a extra boot space as they are easy to retract and flatten. When all 7 seats are erected you are left with a very little boot space, in fact it isn't enough for a small shopping bag. The drivers seat and the front passenger seat provides the most comfort, it has a good amount of leg room and it reclines . The driver's seats can also be adjusted to meet the driver's height requirement. The Zafira also has built in CD player and DAB radio, although the speakers are placed in an awkward unnecessary place.
Power and engine
Most Zafiras runs on petrol, which include a 138bhp 1.8, a 148bhp 2.2 and a turbocharged 2.0 (237bhp), this gives a strong performance. However the Zafira has a Ecoflex version's which is 1.7 diesel and gives 108bhp, if you are a buyer-smart you might purchase the 1.9 diesels, which have either 118bhp or 148bhp and its economically efficient. Let's face it with two teenage boys who constantly require ride from one football match to the next you're going to need to watch your pennies. And we all know that diesel engine is little bit more efficient then petrol engine.
Handling and driving
My mother thinks the Zafira handles like a joy! But I beg to differ, I've had the opportunities to test the car myself. I found that the breaks are extremely sensitive with a gentle tap the car halts. Many people desire this feature, but I have an issue with this. For example should you make a sudden break the car will bounce back with quite a force. However, I have been told by my father this is my own personal issue, this is due to my lack of inexperience manoeuvring a large vehicle. Also his macho belief that women are poor drivers!!!
Thank you for reading!
Tomorrow I shall be waving goodbye to my three year old Zafira; a rather frivolous purchase from new, I have never liked the car overmuch and frankly am looking forward to taking delivery of my 2010 Ford Focus tomorrow and handing on ownership of the Zafira. This is, however, purely down to personal preferences and for the right owner this seven seater will be a perfect choice. I shall reflect this in my review, as opening statements go the above is surely a good reason not to purchase this car - but read on and maybe you'll change your mind.
The exact model I own is a 1.6i Life, this is a petrol model and (in case you care) my car has a metallic turquoise finish. The car is an 07 plate and had travelled a paltry six miles before the car was mine, I was thrilled with the car when I collected it from the garage - although even then there was a niggling feeling that perhaps this car was going to be a little too big for me, especially considering I am alone in the car for 90% of the time. In my defence, at the time my daughter was heavily pregnant with her third child and as I am often travelling with the family I got a little carried away and decided I needed the largest car I could possibly afford. Of course I didn't, but I stuck with the Zafira nonetheless and it is actually health problems which have forced this sale - that and the fact there is still a little warranty left on the car!
The Zafira itself looks pleasant enough; it has the look of so many Vauxhalls in that the bonnet can't seem to decide if it wants to be a normal length bonnet or a modern stunted design. This is resolved by Vauxhall snipping a little off a standard bonnet, and while this is pleasing to the eye it can make parking rather awkward for short people like myself in tight parking spaces! As for the rear, I had parking sensors fitted as an optional extra. These have proved invaluable as the Zafira is a deceptively long car and visibility for drivers of shorter stature is poor from certain angles. The sensors emit a frantic beeping sound when I am reversing too close to something and I honestly believe they have stopped me from hitting objects I simply cannot see through the high back window, shortness is no excuse for poor driving of course but this just goes to show the lack of thought which has gone into visibility whilst driving.
Despite the length of the Zafira I have always found driving the car to be a good experience. I have driven vehicles larger than this over the years so don't find the overall size of the car daunting, handling is no different than in a large five seater car. The length is, however, the reason I am selling the car. I have had arthritis in my hands and arms for some years, and recently it has begun encroaching on my neck. I can avoid pain by not twisting my head too great a degree, yet to have any hope of reversing a Vauxhall Zafira you need the ability to whip your neck from looking through the windscreen and then the back window at (excuse the pun) breakneck speed. My poor neck cannot cope with the minor manoeuvres in a Zafira, although I do find driving it on the straight to be far easier.
I have done a lot of motorway miles in this car and have come to the conclusion that this is the best way to drive it. It's far more economical on fuel when driven at a steady motorway pace, whereas around town the car drinks a gallon of petrol before you know it. I have never filled the tank to the rim, but on an average of £30 I can either drive 280 plus motorway miles or under 200 miles on local roads with everyday stop-start traffic. I'm disabled so have to purchase petrol, however expensive it is, but I often kick myself for buying the petrol version of the Zafira when I could have had the diesel model for a very small upgrade fee. I stupidly stuck with the petrol car as there was a longer wait for the diesel version, but as petrol has gradually (but quickly) risen in price I do think the diesel model would prove beneficial to the majority of Zafira owners.
My one and only complaint regarding the performance of the car is the brake, which have been ridiculously sharp from the very first time I drove the car - and are still ridiculously sharp after three years of practically daily use! I have almost caused whiplash and narrowly avoided a rear end shunt when I accidentally (and rather bizarrely) tapped the brake slightly too hard and did an unpleasantly sharp emergency stop. I have never gotten used to these brakes and certainly will not miss them when the car is gone, my new Focus has much softer brakes which by comparison feel like a feather pillow stopping you as opposed to a bungee cord.
This Zafira has been driven on all sorts of terrain; it obviously copes best on well maintained main roads and motorways, yet driving through the hills of North Wales recently I was impressed by how well the car managed the inclines. The Zafira is a work horse, it's not designed for speed and you're probably not going to coax much speed out of it. It can certainly pull though, one hill we came to in Wales was terribly steep but my son-in-law (who was driving at the time) said the car was a dream and despite the fact you could tell the car was labouring I never once lost confidence that it wasn't going to make it. The car sits nicely on the road and there is barely a wobble while driving; I felt the car didn't cope terribly well in the icy conditions at the beginning of the year but in fairness I also drove a smaller car around the same time and the roads were so treacherous at that time that this wasn't a comfortable drive either.
Talking of comfort, while the interior of this 2007 Zafira is basic it is very comfortable even on longer journeys. Granted, there is little leg room in the very back seats but my younger granddaughters' were the only people to use these seats so leg room wasn't as much an issue for me as it would be for drivers who were transporting a car full of adults. The back seats fold down easily and this proves extremely useful as when the seats are in their upright position there is virtually no boot space, yet when these seats are folded you have a roomy boot which has been used to transport large push chairs and even my bulky mobility scooter on occasion. The standard back seat is very roomy and leg room certainly isn't an issue there, my younger son-in-law is well over 6ft so you can imagine how far back he pushes the front seat to drive - yet sitting behind him is not uncomfortable or cramped in the slightest.
For such a young car, this has not proved to be without its faults over the time I have owned it. Practically from day one there have been niggly problems with the Zafira, all of which were luckily included in my warranty as these MPVs can be notoriously expensive to put right in the event of a problem. There have been mechanical failures concerning the gears, and a hand brake issue which took an awfully long time to resolve in the garage. Then there was the biggie; the absolute failure of the car while I was driving at 65 mph along the M1. One minute the car was coasting beautifully along the middle lane, the next there was complete failure with nothing working on the car - as I glided to a stop (luckily managing the make it over to the hard shoulder) it seemed like a tyre blow out in reverse, all very calm and quiet (even the radio had stopped working) yet still terrifyingly dangerous. I thought it would bound to be a major problem with the car due to the fact that the main 'heart' of the car had completely failed, yet after a single hour in the garage it turned out to be a solitary fuse which had caused the problem. What does strike me as bizarre is that in an expensive car such as this, how can one fuse cause it to shut down in this manner - and why haven't they developed a back-up system to avoid this?
As I said, I haven't particularly enjoyed this car during my ownership. It's quite simply too large for me - and this is something I should have realised before purchasing the car. For a larger than average family, however, it would be ideal - although do bear in mind that there will be an insurance hike should you be replacing a standard sized car with a Zafira, due to the fact of this being a seven seater MPV.
If in doubt, go for a test drive - then go for another one if you still cannot make up your mind. Never feel pressured into buying a car, they are so extremely expensive that you need to ensure it is the right one for you and your family.
I will say upfront, I am going to write this review as the mum in a 4-5 person family (I say 4-5 because one of the children is only with us during the hols) and as a driver - NOT as a technical or mechanical person, so if you are expecting details of fuel consumption or motor efficiency you might be best looking at someone else's review!
We bought our Zafira in 2008 when it was 4 years old and had 30k on the clock. It cost us £4500 including a roof box, which I thought was very good value. We are a family of two adults, a 9-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 12-year-old who comes for the holidays.
As the driver, I find the Zafira very comfortable to drive. The seat is well adjustable - it moves forward and back, you can tilt the back, and it also has a handy leaver on the side which tips the base of the seat forward or back. I find that the seat seems to be ever so slightly out of alignment with the pedals, with these being a smidgen over to the right. However, I don't really notice this unless I have driven a really long way.
The dashboard is user-friendly and everything is laid out in a logical way, with displays clear and easy to read. The steering wheel is a tad high for me (I am 5'2), but I intend to ask at the garage if this is adjustable as I understand that it is on many cars.
The passenger seat is also comfy and has plenty of legroom. The back seats (row behind the driver) are surprisingly comfortable and roomy - adults can comfortably sit here for long journeys, and there is plenty of space for 3 people to sit here.
The very back row consists of two seats which fold away. These are less comfy and offer little leg room, so are really not suitable for adults other than on a short journey (warning - do not try to fit a 6'2 man in here, it just isn't going to happen - I know this from experience!!!). However, our 9-year-old loves sitting back here as there is a little cup cubby by the seat and it is like his own little den. He has sat there on long (5-hour) journeys and not been uncomfortable.
There are various little storage pockets throughout the car which are very handy for maps, CDs, toys and so on. It's a bit disappointing that there isn't a compartment that you can close, other than the litter bin in the front.
The real bonus of the Zafira is the seating flexibility. The middle row of seats fold right down, each independently so you can have any combination. It is really easy to do, just by pressing a lever and pushing the seat forward. The centre seat also has a double cup holder in the back of it so if you push that forwards it is handy for passengers. The back two seats fold out or away by moving the whole middle row forwards (again just by a simple lever). It really is incredibly easy and you don't need a lot of faffing or a lot of strength.
This means the car is incredibly flexible in its usage. We have used the seats in all sorts of combinations, and also had them all folded down to transport large pieces of furniture.
The car is also an easy drive (I was a pretty novice driver when we got it). Visibility is good, I especially like the wing mirrors for parking. The only thing with the 1.6l is that it's slightly underpowered, but that shouldn't be a problem unless you do a lot of motorway driving.
We love this car for its comfort, ease of driving, spaciousness and super flexibility, and would not hesitate to get another one shoudl this one every pack in (which doesn't look likely, it's pretty reliable).
Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 life 55 plate.
Very roomy practical family car delivering bags of functionality, the front is very comfortable and has a decent equipment level with electric windows and mirrors and the 3 mid seats offer lots of room for the family. the two extra rear seats are handy but cramped, the car comes into its own when used as a 5 seater with a massive boot although the extra seats have their uses. Used as a 7 seater there is no boot.
Its economical too mine delivers around 35 mpg which is not bad for a people carrier. Not very fast and driven better motors round corners.
The only issues I have had is a slightly slipping clutch when cold starting in the morning, it always clears in 5 minutes so taking it to the garage results in nothing being found, looking at various websites regarding the problem reveals its a common complaint and the changing of a spring in the clutch mechanism is the cure. Also the rear brake calipers are prone to sticking and if this happens its a replacement/re designed part at around £80.
In general its a very nice car to drive and great to have so much room, next time i'd go for the 1.8l up or a diesel as slightly more power would be an advantage but very happy with it.
Cost £6k last year and similar models and specs now being advertised at £5.5k so holding value well.
I bought this car on an 06 plate in December 2007 for £10995 with 10000 miles on the clock. I found this to be a good price since it was on average miles, excellent condition and only 8 months old. The decision to buy this car was prompted due to the new car seat laws. Having two children myself and due to the fact we often take our niece out we needed something that would accomodate 3 car seats which most cars now fail to do.
Exterior - The exterior of this vehicle is modern and I feel stylish too. It does not look bulky and oversized in appearance and could decieve people into thinking its actually just a large car. There is a nice shape to it and ours also has alloy wheels which I feel just finishes the car off. It is available in a variety of different colours with coordinating interior so is worth shopping around as interior styles can vary a lot depending on whether they were upgraded when purchased brand new.
Interior - Very comfortable, ours is a basic grey patterned cloth interior which is very warm and comfortable and easy to clean. I often find cloth better than leather as this can be too hot in the summer and very cold to sit on the winter. The front of the car feels quite airy and spacious which is great if on a long journey as you dont feel too cramped. The drivers seat and steering wheel is adjustable so can be adjusted to suit your needs. The controls by the steering wheel are easy to use and provides access to you windscreen wipers, indicators, horn, and stereo system. The noise from the indicators is not very loud so you may forget to switch them off at times if you often depend on a reminder. The horn is not very loud either and does have a kind of muffled sound. The switch for lights is located on the dash just to the right of the wheel. There are controls for the windows and mirrors also.
The second row of seats are comfortable too and all three seats feature an over the shoulder seatbelt rather than the middle just having a lap belt which is a good feature. 3 car seats can be accomodated at a push though would be too cramped for long journeys. We often put the two baby seats in the second row and our 7 year old likes to ride in the rear. However this can cause problems as leaves little room for prams, shopping and whatever else you may normally store in your boot. It does also mean that with the car seats fixed our son has to climb in through the boot. Not that he minds doing this but not very appropriate. This is because you have to bring the second row of seats forward which is not possible to do when there are car chairs involved unless your willing to keep taking them out.
The rear seats are easy to pull up and put away and when both are down there is ample storage space, plenty to accomodate a pram and shopping. There is also a boot cover which slides out to keep your belongings out of sight.
Gadgets - We searched high and low to find a model which had incorporated sat nav and dvd system though to no avail, so had to purchase these extra so they do not look nicely fitted and we have to put up with the sucker mark on the windscreen that the majority of sat nav systems leave. There is a cigarette lighter in the rear which is ideal for the kids dvd systems or to charge your phone and prevents wires dragging through the car.
Driving - I find this vehicle very easy to drive and very comfortable, It does feel slightly wide inside and it is hard to judge distances when parking forwards sometimes as I cant see past the bonnet (only 5'1) so often tend to just reverse park as very easy to see out of the large rear window. It is a very smooth drive and handy for school runs and for when you children want friends round after school. Not too sure on fuel consumption as I tend to just fill the tank as and when I need it and havent really noticed how often this is.
Overall I feel this is a great family car though would have enjoyed a few more gadgets and luxuries in it myself without having to purchase things extra. Few problems with seating arrangements though is suffice for our needs. I wouldnt really recommend to anyone with more than children as would be way too cramped with no storage either.
This is my own review which is also on Ciao.
I remember it well. We were a lovely four person family. Myself, and my wife and our two kids. We had a lovely home, and a nice Toyota Avensis sitting in the drive. All was well in our lives, until we saw the blue line once again! Yes, that right, there was another giksy21 on the way! After the initial shock, and joy of course, we started to think of more practical things. our beloved Avensis just would not cut it anymore.
If you know anything about cars, and the changes made a few years back in terms of the laws involved with car seats, then you will know that a saloon is not really good enough. If you have three kids, who all still need car seats, then you cannot fit them safely in the back. The handbrake of a saloon goes through the centre of the car itself, leading to the raised centre you get in the back seat. So, even if your car is wide enough to take three car seats accross, then you are left with the middle seat sitting too high, and not being secure enough.
So, off we drove. We took our little car to the dealers, and chose ourselves a new one. Although a five seater would have done us (something like a scenic, which has five indidual seats.), we went for the luxury of a seven seater. We thought it would be handy for taking our kids little friends in too. Also, planning ahead, just in case we see another little blue line in the future! Several deals, and handshakes later, we were driving off in our nearly new, little red Zafira.
1. Performance and handling ................................
The Zafira, is not the largest MPV on the market. And, while the 1.6 is good for city driving, and normal trips, it does drag a little when the car is fully loaded. Don't pick a route, with too many steeps hills, if you have seven people, a couple of suitcases and a bucket and spade! Although the 1.6 is suitable for my needs, perhaps the better option would have been to go for the 1.8, if not the 1.9 turbo diesel. Both of these would have had no issues, in terms of power.
As stated, the cars body is quite small, in comparison to other MPV's. As such, the car handles very well. It feels tight, and smooth. Some MPV's feel very heavy, and are awkward to manouvere. The same cannot be said for the Zafira, which is very easy to park. Now, that is saying something, as by a rule I do not like to parallel park anything! This also gives the Zafira as sense of fun, meaning it drives more like a saloon than many of the others out there. The springs seem to be pretty hard, meaning that although the ride is comfortable, it can be a bit shaky on bumpier roads. This is particularly noticed when going over speedbumps. That said, overall I think that the car drives well. We are getting around the magic forty to the gallon. So it is pretty economical, fun to drive, but the 1.6 just does not have enough umph for me.
Performance and handling 7/10
2. In the cockpit ......................................
The drivers seat can be adjusted, both forward and back, and up and down. Also the steering column can be adjusted, meaning anyone can drive one of these. I am not the tallest, and can easily get comfortable. My mother has also driven my car, and she is five foot tall! Wing mirrors are electic, and are large enough to give a good field of vision. The same cannot be said of the corners of the car beside the windscreen. There is a small window here, which is surrounded by a large column of the chassis. This can make vision slightly obscured, and care must be taken when going around tighter bends.
The controls are all laid out well, and there are no shocks to be found. Everything is functional, but potentially a little bland. Nothing here makes you scream about the quality, though it does do its job. The radio controls are a bit fiddly, and there is no steering wheel mounted controls. Temptation is always there to look down at it, and of course, this is not a good idea! The only other point to be made here, is that there are a lot of little nooks and crannies, in which dust settles easily. The car is hard to keep clean!
In the cockpit 6/10
3. What kit do you get?..............................
The life model, is close to the basement of Zafira's. All models come with air con, cd player, electric front windows and remote central locking as standard. But, with the Life thats all you get. Everything else is very basic, and quite often leaves you looking for more. If money allows, then go for a higher end model.
4. space and ease of use.............................
I think that we are now entering the Zafira's comfort zone. The car is neat and tidy on the outside, but is somewhat of a tardis. Inside the passengers compartment, there is ample room for whatever load you have. The seats in the back consist of one long seat, which can be slid forward to touch the drivers seat, or right back dependant on size. This seat can be plit in two, allowing for more storage, for the sacrifice of two seats. Behind this are two smaller seats, that can be folded right down to form the floor of the car, or put up to give you you sixth and seventh seat. These seats are quite small, and are only really suitable for children. Behind this is a fair sized boot. It is easily big enough to take our three kids, my neice and nephew, and a load of shopping.
The main down side is that the space is very basic. Like the dash, although it is functional, it is not exciting enough. The space is used well, but without making you too comfortable. There is plenty of scope for the hidden extras, that some of the more luxury MPV's out there have. That said, the seating arrangments are functional, and very easy to move. It will not take you too long to set the car up for whatever your need is.
space, and ease of use 8/10
5. Quality, and finish...............................
As you may have heard already, the car is pretty basic. It does what I need, but may not have enough pizzaz for some. Ours is finished with a rather dull grey plastic, and the odd wee bit of chrome thrown in. It does not look as good as it could. However, as with all Vauxhall's, you are getting something that will last. Everything is very durable, and this was a big plus point for me. My kids are very good at destroying things. I sometimes think of hiring them out as a band of mercenaries. I am sure, though, that they cannot possibly break anything in here. All I need now, is a little soundproof barrier!
Quality, and finish 7/10
6. Safety and security............................
You are well and truly surrounded with cotton wool! The car has a five star crash rating, and has twin airbags, and side impact protection. There are blanket airbags for the seats behind, and the car comes with deadlocks, and engine immobilizer as standard. There is very little to worry about, and in the event of an accident, you are as protected as any MPV out there.
Safety and security 9/10
I have had the car over a year. I have had no issues. Vauxhall usually perform very well, in terms of reliability. Also in the event of something going wrong, parts are generally not as expensive as most. Having read around on the subject, I believe the engines are pretty tough, and are better equipped to handle anything that is thrown at them. Also, the fact that the car itself is pretty basic, means that there is less to go wrong. In my opinion, you are getting a basic car, but one that will last you almost forever. Also this is reflected in the price, as it is one of the more reasonable MPS's around
What you see, is what you get. The main point lost by this car, are aesthetic ones. If you are looking for a real looker, that will turn head then look away. You may want a new Galaxy, or an Altea XL. But, if you want a practical, and somewhat indestructable car then this is right up your street. With starting prices of £13,995, you can get on the MPV ladder relatively cheaply, and as with all Vauxhall's they dont depreciate too quickly.
Zafira - does exactly what it says on the tin!
As a previous owner of a Ford, I waited very patiently to take delivery of my Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 Life. We have now had this model for just over two years, and as a family of four, it's a good car to have overall.
We have a slightly older version that the one pictured, ours being an 05 model.
The first thing that appealed to me was that we were getting the space of a people-carrier combined with a very small footprint: For a seven-seater vehicle, it's still very compact on the outside and therefore relatively easy to park and maneouvre.
When the 2 rear seats are folded down (our children call them the 'secret seats') the boot space is phenomenal, with plenty of room for the weekly shop, pushchair, assorted rubbish, toys and detritus that we like to carry around everywhere with us :)
Another excellent point for those with children is that there is enough room in the back for the children to climb across the back to get to the far side seat, meaning that everyone can enter the car from the pavement side and no-one has to enter from the road, very important as cars go whizzing by at way above the speed limit.
The driving position is great, you sit nice and high so it improves visibility at junctions etc. compared to a lower car. The seats are fully adjustable.
Our model doesn't have - and doesn't need - a sunroof, instead it has air-conditioning which is a godsend in the summer months. The heating system is just as efficient.
I am no expert on car stereo systems, and don't claim to be, however this is a radio/CD player and the great thing about it is that it has 2 sets of controls: one in the centre of the dashboard as usual, and another on the steering wheel, eliminating the need to lean over and get distracted.
It has all the usual features that you would expect from a family car today and we've been really please with it. However, there is one complaint, and that is that it is extremely thirsty! We seem to be forever refilling the fuel tank even though we don't travel all that far in it during the average week. For a non-sporty type car, I have found that surprising. This is the only reason I am giving it 4 stars instead of the full 5.
Apart from that, an excellent and reliable buy which meets the needs of all the family.