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New Opel Zafira launched in Mzansi

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The Zafira name makes a big and bold comeback into Mzantsi’s family-sized MPV segment, to remind buyers that Opel is not only a brand young at heart with hatchbacks, but can also offer great value for those shopping for large-family transportation or hospitality sector (tourism or airport-to-accommodation transfers).

This past week saw the local launch of the Zafira Life, Opel’s lure into their taste of what a 7- or 8-seater multi-purpose vehicle experience should be. We were on hand at the event to see what is different from other players in the same market.

The Stellantis Group has brought the Opel Zafira Life with one engine but two trim levels – the Edition and the Elegance. The Edition is basically a straight-forward 8-seater with easy-clean cloth seats and not much frills besides two nifty picnic tables for the middle row passengers on the extreme left and right, that fold away into the seatbacks of the driver and front passenger seats. What’s great about the sheer amount of room in the back of the Zafira Life, is that the 6 seats on the second and third rows are full individual seats anchored on rails, and each have ISOFix points and 3-point safety belts. At the front the Edition model (it being the “budget” option) surprizes with the offer of dual-zone climate control, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display that is compatible with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, and supported by a USB port or Bluetooth connectivity. There’s regular physical dials in the instrument binnacle flanking a blocky TFT screen for the vehicle’s vital trip computer information details. A big disappointment for both models, is that – for such a big vehicle – the 180deg reverse camera with front and rear parking sensors, come only as an optional extra. But what is cool to see with this system, is that the picture on the infotainment screen will zoom in to an object that poses danger when reversing, and you can judge even clearer how close you can get.

At R120 000 dearer, the Opel Zafira Life Elegance offers so much more, and is undoubtedly the one to go for. Its cabin is targeting the executive class or those who prioritise added comfort when commuting. All seats are wrapped in leather, and there’s a 7-seater arrangement that allows the middle row to have two captain’s chair and an island that houses a foldable picnic table for the middle row passengers. All five chairs and the middle-row island sit on rails and can all move fore and aft, while the 2 captain’s chairs can be flipped to face backwards, to create a mobile office setting (for those executives). The climate control settings are piped through the middle of the roof, and vents are situated for each rear passenger to direct airflow. In the Elegance, there’s dual glass panels (separated by those air vents) to allow added light in the somewhat dark, all-black leather interior, or serve as windows for star-gazing during those overnight hauls on long-distance trips.

On the dashboard, about the same is offered on the Elegance as is on the Edition trim, save for a high definition TFT screen in the instrument cluster, a neat Connected Navigation feature for the standard SatNav, Keyless Entry & Push-Button Start, and a Heads-Up Display unit (that shows vehicle speed, road speed limit, navigation directions when using the SatNav, and Forward Collision Alert indicator).

The front passenger and driver of the Elegance model get extra special treatment by way of full electrically adjustable, heated and massaging seats. The rear passengers also live “the soft life” by accessing the back via one-touch electrically opening and sliding doors. These can also be closed remotely by the driver via dedicated buttons on the dashboard.

As previously mentioned for both Edition and Elegance models, power in the Opel Zafira Life goes to the front wheels from a 2.0lt turbodiesel engine that develops 110kW & 370Nm and mated via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The manufacturer claims 6.3lt/100km on consumption, and we would not be surprised if this is true in real life, Opel’s diesel mills are renowned to be frugal.

The ride quality is great, on the soft side, comfort levels are high, and the engine is not lazy at all in its delivery of adequate performance. We did note that the steering is a bit hard/stiff for what the vehicle is, maybe that is a result of trying to give it some sense of feedback when pushing hard. Practicality/functionality is high on the Zafira Life’s offering with a boot space of 1006 litres with all seats in place.

 

What was, in this age of technology, conspicuous in absence, is the lack of USB ports in the Zafira Life. There is only one port on the dashboard, and the only other power socket we could find was a 12v socket behind the front passenger seat.

Safety has not been fluffed over here in the new Zafira Life. There is a Driver Attention Alert system in the Edition, which beeps to alert the driver of rest stops/coffee breaks if the vehicle has been driving for more than 2 hours. In the Elegance the Driver Attention Alert system also monitors the driver’s steering inputs and head movements to send audible and visual alerts to the driver. It is also accompanied by a Lane Departure Warning system with lateral correction. There’s speed sign recognition and Forward Brake Assist that can send the vehicle to a halt if there are pedestrians or fixed obstacles detected under 30km/h, or the system will kick in to slow the vehicle down significantly when a collision is imminent while driving over 30km/h.

 

We look forward to spending a bit more time with the Opel Zafira Life, to try find more quirks, and to put it head-to-head with its main rivals to appreciate what the great features we found at the price point that the Zafira Life comes in at.

 

Prices:

 

Zafira Life Edition          –           R749,900-00

Zafira Life Elegance       –           R869,900-00

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