What is it?
Several years ago, GM Europe decided it was time for its people-carriers to grow up. First, it showed a bigger Meriva, based heavily on chassis components from the Zafira, an MPV positioned a size above.
Then, a few weeks ago in Geneva, it showed a concept version of this same Zafira’s forthcoming replacement, around 15cm longer in both wheelbase and overall length, and about 20cm wider.
The new model, due in the UK early next year at prices believed to be three to five per cent ahead of present levels, combines more advanced and refined chassis, steering and brake components from GM’s Astra and Insignia saloons with a far roomier, more stylish interior to throw out a challenge to Ford’s successful S-Max.
What's it like?
We drove two Zafira prototypes last week on winter test in Sweden and the exercise provided powerful evidence of a more sophisticated, re-purposed MPV in prospect.
The cars were a 140bhp 1.4-litre petrol turbo and 165bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Both were equipped with six-speed autos, and both engines will come to the UK, but the slightly more vocal diesel is likely to be the top seller in the UK.
Styling is hard to judge because both cars were disguised, but driving impressions are clear enough. On smooth, flowing, bitumen roads, the Zafira Tourer has a rolling smoothness and comfort well ahead of the outgoing model’s.