Running on cheap LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) means the seven-seater can travel around 50 per cent further than its petrol equivalent for the same fuel costs.
The Dualfuel Zafira utilises Vauxhall’s already-frugal 1.8 litre ECOTEC engine: a 1.6 litre Dualfuel version will be available later in the year.
Combined mode fuel consumption figure for the 1.8 litre engine running on LPG is 24.8 mpg. The urban driving mode figure is 18.4 mpg and the extra-urban mode is 31.1 mpg. CO2 emissions are 184 g/km.
With about 1,200 LPG stations now open in the UK there are few areas without a convenient filling-up point. This means there is less need to run on more expensive petrol, although, as its name implies, Dualfuel Zafira can be driven on either fuel, selected at the press of a switch.
Zafira will start on LPG at normal temperatures (15-60 degrees C) and on petrol outside this, switching automatically to LPG, if gas-power is selected.
LPG is generally about half the cost of petrol, and even allowing for the fact that it is 20 per cent less fuel efficient, the financial savings are very significant.
And of special significance to London area owners, Dualfuel Zafira is exempt from next year’s £5 a day congestion charging, on payment of a £10 annual fee.
To make room for the additional 50-litre (11 gallon) marshmallow tank which slots perfectly into the spare wheel well, Zafira will no longer carry a spare. Instead a tyre inflation kit will be used. This ‘get me home’ system is being introduced increasingly by several manufacturers.
All Vauxhall’s Dualfuel cars and vans come with Vauxhall’s full three-year/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty. Main service intervals remain at 20,000 miles or 12 months whichever is sooner. At that time there is a visual inspection of the LPG components and joints and a pressure check of the fuel regulator and vaporiser.
Zafira Dualfuel attracts an additional price of £1,950 (£1,659.57 ex VAT) on whichever trim level is selected. But the TransportAction Powershift programme allows individuals and companies to reclaim a significant proportion of the pre-VAT cost. For Zafira the figure is 60 per cent, translating into a total price reduction of £995.74.
This means you can put a Zafira Club 1.8 litre Dualfuel on the road for under £15,500.
Since the cars are built to order, delivery can be expected in under three months from placing the order.
Says Ian Blinder, manager, special vehicles at Vauxhall: "This is an exciting venture, and Vauxhall is again setting the pace. We expect a lot of interest from taxi operators who would benefit from the low fuel costs – and do their town centres an environmental favour at the same time."
Vauxhall’s current dualfuel range includes newly launched Zafira, three engine choices in Astra – 1.6 8v, 1.6 16v and 1.8 litres, and the Combo and Astravan. Later this year the sleek Astra Coupe will be available in 1.8 litre dualfuel form.
And a 1.8 litre-engined Dualfuel Vectra will be available later in the year, alongside the 1.6 litre Zafira.
Next year sees the launch of the first Dualfuel Corsa, with a 1.2 litre engine, and a Corsavan using the same engine.
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