Fleet News

Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 base

Vauxhall

Review

YOU must have seen the TV ads by now - Griff Rhys-Jones in train-spotter beard and unfashionable spectacles failing to explain how Vauxhall has managed to fit seven adult seats, 39 different seating combinations, 993mm headroom, 999mm legroom and 1,705 litres of load capacity into a car little bigger than the Astra on which it is based. But optimum use of interior space on a hatchback platform isn't the particularly clever feature of the Zafira - Renault got there three years ago with the Scenic while GM's compact-MPV was barely off the drawing board and into the model shop.

Zafira's USP is its FLEX7 seating system, an arrangement which should have past and potential people-carrier buyers wondering why no one had thought of the idea before. Unlike much larger, considerably more expensive MPVs (such as the now deleted Vauxhall Sintra), additional cargo carrying capacity can be created without having to remove any of the seats from the car. Zafira's centre bench of three seats slides forward and the rear pair can be lifted up, separately, to fold flat into the load floor. With a little practice the seven-seater can become a two-seater in seconds, or a six-seater, or a five-seater, and the various levers and catches have been designed to be child-friendly.

Van with windows? Who needs one now? Come to that, who's going to need an Astra estate, or any medium estate, when there's this sort of versatility on offer for a similar front-end price and, although at the time of going to press comparisons were hard to come by, probably similar contract hire rates? Vauxhall believes there's a huge market for Zafira, and our understanding is that other manufacturers are developing rival seating systems on hatch platforms.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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