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OK, firstly just let me say I am biased towards Vauxhall, and secondly that I do not like this type of vehicle (MPV). If you average out my opinions of this car then, it should be neutral or pretty fair. I do not actually own one, although I have had some very "enthusiastic" drives in one.
I was lucky enough to be invited to one of Vauxhall's promotional days, at their proving ground at Millbrook. The site itself consists of "The Dustbowl" which is a custom built circular track which is banked, with various lanes for different speeds. The idea being that you can run cars at any speed, and this particular Zafira went well at at least 119 mph.
They actually have over 70 Kilometres of track on other types of terrain, and the one I enjoyed was the Alpine circuit. This is a very twisty up hill & down dale helter skelter type "ride". It is a very safe circuit becaus of the marshals and emergency services on stand by, but there are still cars that accasionally leave the track.
Anyway, now you know what type of test drive I have done, you will understand that I have pushed this car to an extent I could not do on the public highway. I also had a "normal" test drive on public roads by the way, not quite as exciting, but still enjoyable.
To be honest, I was not expecting any performance on any of my drives, just a little nippy thrashing fun, but I was surprised, the 2.2 litre SRi version really moves, and I am used to driving a 25 litre V6. On the open road, it is responsive, lively, and in spite of the height and size, it hugs the road well. The high driving position gave good visibility. The sports suspension is very tight, the steering extremely positive, (leather steering wheel) and 5 gears that can be changed quickly. Even on the demanding Alpine circuit, the brakes were very good, with no sign of fade. All instruments were easily seen and all switches were within reach. The seats were figure hugging, mirrors large enough & visible, and the very smart aluminium pedals were just where they should be.
On the motorway speeds in the dustbowl, the car was very smooth, with no noise or vibration, even over the "ton". I could imagine sitting quite comfortably, on an Autobahn, at that speed for hours.
The NCAP safety rating for adult occupants gets a full five stars, so cannot be beaten. Many people would not even consider buying one of these because of the length, well actually they are only 14' 8", The rear seat is split folding, and the boot capacity is 140 litres rising to a massive 1820 litres with the seats down. The car does weigh just over one & a half tonnes (still less than an Omega) .
Price, you can buy one of these for less than £19,000, this compares favourably with other sililar vehicles. The 2.2 litre petrol engine (you can opt for Diesel) gives 147 horsepower. The car has room for seven passengers, in real seats, although you would be a bit cramped if they all brought a bag with them. With the "Flex seven" system, there are loads of combinations of seating arrangements.
Spec:- (as standard) Far too much to list here but will h=give you a taste. Manual or automatic transmission. Electric mirrors Alloy wheels Reading lights Drinks holders Retractable luggage cover Height-adjustable head restraints on all seats Side impact protection bars Front and side airbags Driver's seat height adjuster Six years body panel anti-perforation warranty Steering column adjustable for reach and rake Tinted windows ABS braking Radio/CD Electric headlight beam levelling Colour coded mirrors Pearlescent paint
Go and have a test drive, you will enjoy it at the very least. You can just call into your local dealer or request to test drive any Vauxhall online. http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/vx/home.do You will be able to check out all the stuff I have left out here, There is only so much room in any review, so if you really need to know what the 0-60 speed is, you can look it up.
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