New Vauxhall Zafira to be a 'lounge on wheels'

Expect the new Vauxhall Zafira to be bigger, more practical and more comfortable than its popular predecessor.

The Zafira Tourer Concept features a luxury interior and similar front styling to Vauxhall’s Ampera
The Zafira Tourer Concept features a luxury interior and similar front styling to Vauxhall’s Ampera

Vauxhall is putting the emphasis on comfort and relaxation with its next generation Zafira, which looks set to become

an upmarket “lounge on wheels”.

The Griffin-badged firm today at the Geneva Motor Show unveiled its Zafira Tourer Concept, which gives a clear hint at what the production-ready version will look like.

The car has been a big success for Vauxhall since its launch in 1999. The Zafira was the first compact MPV to seat seven and has regularly accounted for up to a third of sales in the sector of the market which it created.

Now the vehicle looks set to grow in size in its third incarnation to compete with the likes of Ford’s S-Max and VW’s Sharan.

Vauxhall says the Zafira will combine lounge-on-wheels luxury with the same family-friendly flexibility the Zafira name has become synonymous with over the last 12 years.

The cabin of the show car has a light, airy feel and generous space for rear-seat passengers.

Mark Adams, Vauxhall’s vice president of design, said: “We have transferred the idea of a relaxing lounge to a vehicle and created an automobile ‘oasis’, a place to relax and enjoy.

“The Zafira Tourer Concept’s exterior design also makes a bold statement with its sleek, flowing lines and premium feel.”

The Zafira Tourer Concept interior is bathed in light thanks to a panoramic windscreen that flows into a generous glass roof, extending right the way to the rear of the car. The side ‘blades’ which have become a feature of recent Vauxhalls are present on the concept too. Similarly, another Vauxhall styling cue in the form of wingshaped headlamps is included.

The concept features an updated version of Vauxhall’s renowned Flex7 seating. With two rows in place, providing five-seat capacity, the Zafira concept can be transformed at the push of a button into a four-seater with limo levels of space.

A new folding mechanism allows the centre section of the second row to fold down, revealing two armrests for occupants in the outer seats. These seats can then slide back and towards each other, creating generous levels of space around passengers. Extended footrests complement the seating system still further.

The concept’s tilting three-piece headrests are electrically powered, though for safety reasons the driver’s remains in a vertical position when the car

is in motion.

In the ‘lounge’ setting, with the exception of the driver’s headrest, each swivels 90 degrees to the horizontal position while the outer elements curve slightly forward.

Up front, a large touch-screen display dominates the centre console, above which a covered storage compartment can hold a tablet PC like an iPad. The heating can be controlled using two turn knobs below the display, and air conditioning via touch-buttons.

Thanks to the flexible and pivot-mounted tablet PCs on the front seat backs, passengers in the second row can comfortably surf the internet or control multi-media applications.

Power for the car comes from a new version of the downsized, fuel-efficient 1.4 turbo engine featuring start/stop technology. The production car will come with a range of power units.

Ampera debut

Vauxhall’s electric car won’t go on sale in the UK until the beginning of next year but a production ready version of the car will be on display at the show.

The Ampera, which will cost £28,995 (including government discount) will be the first ‘extended-range’ electric vehicle to hit UK roads. It will offer emissions-free motoring combined with the real-world usability due to an onboard generator, which boosts range to more than 350 miles.

The four-seat, five-door car will benefit from zero VED and company car tax of just five per cent.

With 150PS of power, the Ampera will be no slouch either, achieving 0-60mph in nine seconds and a top speed of 100mph.

New convertible

Meanwhile, Vauxhall has confirmed that it will build an Astra-based convertible as part of the company’s £9 billion investment pledge announced around a year ago.

It will hit the market in 2013 – the same year that Vauxhall and its sister firm Opel will also launch a stylish small car to meet the growing demand for vehicles in keeping with a young and urban lifestyle.