I wasn't going to buy a Zafira, I wasn't even going to buy a Vauxhall, but after a less than pleasent experiance in a Mazda dealership, I ended up at a Vauxhall garage looking at the Zafira.
I was very impressed and have since brought one. I recently took delivery of the New Zafira and what a car!
The diesel engine is powerfull and refined. I test drove the 120hbp diesel and it felt slightly underpowered, not something that can be said about the 150bhp version I opted for.
The build quality is brilliant - you just don't feel like you're in a run of the mill car (German comes to mind!).
As for equipment, it's got everything that my family and I need and a few extras that are nice to have. I like the driving position and the seats are very comfortable and supportive.
As for the price - well, I managed to negotiate a discount of almost £4000 from list price.
If you're in the market for an MPV, take a look, you'll be suprised.
The engine is underpowered for a car this size. A woolly accelerator and poor gearbox make it a very irritating car to drive. As it is underpowered, the car also returns reasonably poor fuel economy because it will need to be worked harder.
The ride is comfortable and the car doesn't roll too much, but the steering is too light. It is assisted less than many other MPVs, but at speed the steering is too light.
As mentioned, fuel economy was disappointing, but the car is cheap, and insurance costs are quite competative.
A driving position is easy to find for almost all drivers, although I'm not sure if the shortest would be OK. There is enough space in the back, and you really can seat seven people comfortably.
The dash is logical and reasonably well put together. Nothing instantly stands out, but it is very easy to use even after you've just climbed into the car.
Equipment levels are adequate, but air-conditioning is a must in a car with such a large glass area.
I've had a 1.8 petrol Zafira Elegance for four years and it has been an excellent work horse. I've frequently had seven people on long trips (with roof box) and it serves its purpose. It is a smaller MPV, so no there's no third row window ventilation like all the rest in this category but the extra sunroof at the back and air-conditioning made it more than comfortable.
The only down side was a bit of rolling but, at the end of the day, this is an MPV not a sports car. In four years, the only problems I had were with internal breakages due to frequent seat changes. A few bits of plastic broke off but this was just cosmetic. I would say that the hand brake was rather low and impossible to use with the arm rest down.
I was so impressed with it that I've just upgraded and bought a 2.2 SRi with the 18-inch alloys. I was particularly interested in the improvement in handling. It makes a huge difference. Now I have a great versatile seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle in its true sense.
I also test drove the Honda FR-V (very nice, unique setup but awkward centralised controls and awful handbrake), Mazda 5 (great front end and driving position, but the middle and rear row of seats looked like they'd come from a jumble sale), the Volkswagen Touran (boring all round) and the Renault Grand Scenic (strange set-up, and the third row seats were like a primary school's steel chairs).
I actually think the new Zafira has slightly more room than the old one, and I love the setup.
I bought the new model in Oct 2005.
We have had several problems:
-Heating-ventilation. The windscreen and front windows take an age to clear, I discovered that no matter what setting I select, the same "power" emits from each vent. The dealership are now awaiting a "part" from the dealership.
-Boot lock, this froze over and we are awaiting the dealership to order a new part. I think it's the actual electronics rather than the mechanics of the lock, as there is not key lock, just a push button.
-Exhaust blowing. After several trips to the dealership, they discovered the flex pipe between the back box and mid box is damaged, now awaiting part from dealership.
-Accelerator/clutch. The accelerator pedal is stiff, which can be very difficult to drive from standstill, as this causes the car to stall. The dealership says they cannot do anything about this. One of their remedies was to increase the idle speed, the car is now running at 9500rpm,ridiculous!
-Radio. Ill fitted, the trim was not level and protruding out. The dealership have now improved this but it is not perfect. -Trip Computer. When petrol range falls below 50km the display shows an annoying "Range 50km", after refilling on some occasions this doesn't disappear so all you see if this, CD tracks, radio information cannot be displayed. VERY ANNOYING.
Overall, you would probably guess I would not buy a Zafira again, I only wished I would have test drove the Toyota or Mazda beforehand!
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