Vauxhall’s seven-seat Zafira is turning on the style! Our exclusive images reveal a bold new look, which will help the practical MPV take the fight to class-leading rivals such as the Peugeot 5008 and Renault Grand Scenic when it goes on sale next year.
The company’s new design language has been updated for the Zafira. The most recognisable feature is the boomerang lights – first seen on the GTC Concept in 2007 and then the upcoming range-extending hybrid Ampera.
Elsewhere, the car borrows a few trademark styling touches from other models in the range, including the blade motif on the flanks and the ridged bonnet. At the rear, the family resemblance to the smaller Meriva is clear. The crisp tail-lights stretch around to the sides, and a black panel between them gives the illusion of an extended rear screen.
However, there is one crucial difference: where the supermini-MPV is fitted with innovative rear-hinged FlexDoors, the new seven-seater will get a more traditional set-up. Bosses claim the benefits of this unusual configuration are lost in a car with three rows of seats, so a large door with easy entry was chosen instead.
Interestingly, Vauxhall chose not to adopt a sliding rear door set-up similar to those found on the Mazda 5 and Volkswagen Touran. This is because they’re heavy, costly to produce and force designers into giving the car a boxy shape. Plus, they incorporate unsightly runners into the rear flanks.
Inside, practicality is key. The spacious cabin will offer an updated version of Vauxhall’s Flex7 seating arrangement. It will draw on the stylish design and impressive build quality found in the Meriva and Astra.
Under the bonnet, the engine line-up is likely to be similar to the Astra’s. The naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol unit is expected to kick off the range, with 114bhp 1.4 and 178bhp 1.6-litre turbos topping the petrol line-up. Diesel buyers will be offered a choice of 1.7 and 2.0-litre powerplants.
Sadly for performance fans, bosses have confirmed that the VXR performance flagship, which featured a 237bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre, won’t be returning in the newest version of the Zafira.
Instead, the focus is more on efficiency. To this end, Vauxhall will offer a range of ecoFLEX-badged models, with sub-120g/km CO2 emissions and improved economy. The all-new Zafira is expected to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and hit dealers by the end of 2011. Prices will start from around £19,000.