When the all-new Vauxhall Zafira mid-sized MPV goes on sale in the UK from 23 July the manufacturer says all models across the range will have higher specification, better interior quality, more interior space yet they will cost less by between £350 and £850. Prices will range from £12,995 to £20,445. Prices and final specification were released last week at the international media launch in Sweden.
This is the aggressive stance being taken by Vauxhall Motors who wish to retain the Zafira’s reputation built over the last six years. Uniquely for a volume car the Zafira has grown its market share every year since it was introduced, even at the end of its lifecycle. The Zafira accounts for 40 per cent of sales for seven seat MPVs sold in the UK and 20 per cent of all midi MPV sales. The Zafira is the market leader in most countries with over 1.4 million sold in six years.
The new Zafira will be built at Bochum in Germany where £300 million has been invested in state-of-the-art production facilities.
Last years UK sales of Zafira were 50,000 units. This year, with the changeover between models, Vauxhall expect to deliver a little less although advance orders are likely to exceed supply.
The Zafira started life in the UK primarily as a retail car but now 65 per cent of all sold are to the fleet, business and user-choosers sectors. The addition of an automatic transmission option for the 1.9 CDTi 120bhp model is likely to give the Zafira a big sales lift in the longer term said David Pugh, Vauxhall’s group product manager, compact cars. "This is a unique combination in the sector, nobody else offers this option and we conservatively think this model will account for around 25 per cent of all Zafira UK sales," said Pugh.
Pugh added, "Overall we expect diesel versions of the Zafira to account for 60 per cent of sales and the best selling petrol model is expected to be the 1.6-litre version which we expect to account for 28 per cent of all sales".
"Two factors are decisive for midi MPV customers, interior space and ease-of-use seating, the new Zafira retains both of these and adds to them" Pugh said.
He added, "We decided to keep the Flex7 seating system as it has yet to be surpassed by our competitors. The Zafira uses the new Astra Estate long wheelbase floorpan and it has a wider track front and rear so the interior space is larger and all three rows of seats offer more legroom than the outgoing model. By upping the quality of the interior, improving the specification but lowering the price, we have a strong product ".
Five powerplants are available for the new Zafira from launch and another two will join the line-up in Autumn 2005.
The initial engine line up sees three petrol units, 1.6-Litre 105PS, 2.2-litre 150PS, 2.0-litre Turbo 200PS, and two 1.9-litre direct injection diesel engines, the 120PS and 150PS versions. Coming soon are a 1.8-litre Ecotec petrol unit with 140PS and the really hot hatch 2.0-litre, 240PS petrol powerplant from the Astra VXR. Transmission options are five and six speed manual or four and six speed automatic, depending on what model is chosen.
Expression, Life, Club, Design and SRi equipment and trim specifications options are available depending on the choice of engine. The innovative panoramic sunroof option with four blind covered panels and extra storage compartments adds £850 to the retail price.
With its longer wheelbase extra load carrying space is available in the new Zafira. It can accommodate up to 1,820 litres of luggage with the centre and rear rows of seats folded, an increase of 120 litres. In the five-seat configuration there is 645 litres of luggage or cargo space, an increase of 45 litres. There are 30 storage compartments within the interior.
The new Zafira takes its styling theme from the new Astra range with its ‘V’ face and grille. The new ‘soft’ front end for crash protection has given the front more overhang. The overall design has a strong look to it being wider from the waistline down and with a steeper A pillar for better front quarter visibility from the front seats. Vauxhall say headroom is improved throughout even through the new Zafira has a lower rear end roofline. A wide opening tailgate with low sill is adopted to make loading on to the flat load-carrying floor an easy task
David Pugh said, "Our attention to detail has been key for this car and we have made small but significant changes to achieve this. Things like the open and start keyless system just makes life with a new Zafira easier".
Pugh added, "With regard to residual values we expect the new Zafira to improve on the current ratings. Currently the lowest rating is for the 1.6-litre Life model, which retains 29 per cent over the industry ‘norm’ of three years, 60,000 miles. We anticipate this will climb to 35 per cent and the six-point increase will be represented right across the range".Published 31 May 2005