Or perhaps, as reported by Trevor Gelken, its insatiable appetite for oil is viewed as a precursor to the engine giving up the ghost.
Either way, I picked up the keys with some trepidation. Collection had been delayed so that the local dealer could check out the oil problem but all he could suggest was that we topped up the oil, kept a note of the mileage and brought it back again when the oil ran low for further analysis. Not exactly ideal, but we couldn't think of a better idea either.
I have several quibbles with the interior of the vehicle, one of which is turning into an obsession. As I drive with my hands in the 'ten to two' position I find the Zafira's seating very comfortable (some vehicles tend to make my neck and shoulders ache) – but I need arms the length of a gorilla to reach the gearstick, which is positioned unnaturally low in the central console.
The dilemma is, do I go for changing gear easily (always handy when driving) and reduce the seat height so that I peer over the steering wheel like a little old lady, or do I opt for comfort and plan my route for the minimum of gear changes to avoid lurching off to the left in an attempt to reach the gearknob.
Another quibble which is tied to my 'ten to two' driving position is the digital display for the radio, clock, satellite navigation etc.
The screen and character display is small by any standards and when driving, is difficult to see. This is especially so if, like me, you like to occasionally glance at the time. When the radio is off the clock appears in the top right of the display, and when on, appears in the bottom right (with both positions, because of the small display, behind my left hand!). On the road, the Zafira, although having the classic London taxi engine noise, is responsive, comfortable and showing respectable fuel consumption of 39.4mpg despite my heavy use of the air conditioning in the recent hot spell.
The Zafira has the robust interior, hard wearing fabrics (to the point of feeling a bit like a monk's hair shirt) and space requirements to make it ideal for fleet use – hence its popularity for weekend working with the staff here at Fleet Towers.
But it lacks refinement (London taxi exterior and hair shirt interior) to make it a first choice full-time.