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Opel Zafira future: The new Opel compact van starts in 2011

Opel Zafira future
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K flap and fold yes, expand no. This principle, which is so practical for lantern parkers, determined the development of the first Zafira in the mid-1990s and became a model for the entire segment. Fathers of families thank the Opel engineers for the third row of seats, which can be lowered into the floor of the car and which they use to drive the herds of children to the swimming pool. The bike rack integrated in the bumper, which you simply pull out, aims at the same notch. The only disadvantage: These transport solutions are already available for some Opel models, but not yet for the Zafira.

The look is derived from the Meriva

But that will soon change : At the IAA in autumn 2011, Opel will present the third generation of its van pioneer, which will go on sale in the same year. Visually, the new edition is based on the little brother Meriva, but also on the completely new Ampera. This hybrid model will also start in 2011 and share the same boomerang headlight design with the Zafira. Otherwise, the Zafira continues the design language of its little brother Meriva. Exception: Instead of doors opening in opposite directions, it has a conventional door system.

Zafira will grow

Since the Meriva has grown by around 15 centimeters compared to its predecessor, the Opel Zafira also has to get bigger. With a length of just under 4.70 meters, it clearly towers over the predecessor (4.47 meters) and the rival Ford Grand C-Max (4.52 meters), but remains shorter than the Ford S-Max (4.77 meters). The trunk volume of 645 to 1,820 liters should therefore be even more generous in the future. Opel positions its large van between the VW Touran (4.40 meters) and Sharan (4.85 meters). The Zafira is based on the platform of the Astra, which has become similarly long as the Sports Tourer station wagon.

The new Zafira is not only longer, but also more comfortable, quieter and of higher quality in the interior. There is still some catching up to do with the much-vaunted variability. The sliding middle bench of the current model is no longer the best solution compared to the retractable single seats of modern competitors.

The design of the cockpit is based on the Insignia. The chassis with optional adaptive dampers, which has so far been very much tuned to agility, is designed to be more comfortable, like the Meriva. However, Opel does without a multi-link rear axle. With the twist beam axle, refined by means of Watt linkage, as in the AstraIn the future there will be enough space for the integrated bicycle rack, but also for the voluminous tanks of the natural gas version. Because alternative drives continue to play an important role in the Zafira program. The natural gas and LPG variants currently account for a good five percent of total sales.

OPC version still open

Otherwise, the suction gasoline engine has also had its day at Opel. The 1.6-liter base engine with 115 hp will probably be replaced by the 1.4 Turbo, as in other Opel models. This means that there are likely to be two different sized turbo engines to choose from: the 1.4-liter with 120 or 140 hp and a 1.6-liter with 180 hp. It is not yet clear whether there will be another sporty OPC version. The market share of only 0.4 percent of Zafira customers opt for the sports model does not exactly speak for it. But there is a valid counter-argument: 'We often only sell the OPC equipment, and for this we need the model as an image carrier,' says Opel internally.

In the future, the range of diesel engines will only include two displacement sizes. The 1.9 CDTi is no longer available. The 1.7 CDTi covers the output levels 110 and 130 hp. In addition, Opel offers a two-liter with 160 hp. A start-stop system should be available for some engines by the time the Zafira is launched in order to further reduce consumption and CO2 emissions. The requirements of the specification are turbocharged gasoline direct injection engines and a dual clutch transmission. However, it is not yet known when these technologies will go into series production.

New assistance systems

What is certain, however, is that the lane departure warning system and traffic sign recognition known from the Insignia are also on the Zafira s extra list will stand. In addition, the new Flex-Rail system introduced in the Meriva is used, with which the storage areas between the driver and front passenger seats can be flexibly redesigned as required.

And what does the fun cost? Not more than before. The prices should be based on the predecessor. That might leave money for one or two smart extras, as most Zafira buyers are already ordering today. Up to now, the van in Germany has mainly been ordered as the 'Edition 111 Years' (46 percent) or with the top equipment 'Innovation' (formerly Cosmo, 36 percent). And the German market is the most important after Great Britain.


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