New Zafira heads for Scotland 25 | 02 | 2011

    SCOTLAND'S LEADING car supplier, Vauxhall, has shown its new Zafira for the first time ... but the first images are masked as a concept which will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

    Ostensibly a show car, the Zafira Tourer Concept is likely to give a strong indication of the final production model and it highlights how Vauxhall is planning to shift the Zafira upmarket to do battle with Ford's S-Max.

    “We have transferred the idea of a relaxing lounge to a vehicle,” Vauxhall’s vice-president of design, Mark Adams, said as he described the concept’s cabin as 'an automobile oasis'. “The exterior design also makes a bold statement with its sleek, flowing lines and premium feel.”

    There are clear design cues from both the Astra Tourer and Vauxhall's Insignia, and the new concept features a glass roof and LED edge lighting, and a belt line that sweeps upwards.

    The most important aspect though is what Vauxhall — which sold more cars in Scotland last year than any other manufacturer — has done inside the cabin.

    Here the new generation of GM Europe’s Flex7 seating system takes pride of place offering seven seats as standard. But the ingenious system allows, with two rows in place, the middle seat in the rear pews to fold down resulting in more shoulder room and central armrests for the outer two passengers. Cleverly, the seating system also offers extended footrests.

    What isn't a surprise is the fact the Zafira Tourer Concept does not use the innovative FlexDoor system first seen on its smaller brother, the Meriva.

    There is though a covered storage compartment in the cabin which can accommodate a tablet computer similar to an iPad, while the sweeping fascia is dominated by a large touch-screen display. Rear seat passengers can access the internet and watch movies on PCs mounted in the front seat backs.

    While Vauxhall has still to confirm what powerplants it will use in the new Zafira, the concept uses the 1.4-litre turbocharged motor with stop-start which is almost certain to represent the entry-level model in the range.

    Expect to see the all-new Zafira in Vauxhall's dealerships across Scotland in the autumn.

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    Jim McGill

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