2007 Vauxhall Zafira Design 2.2 Direct petrol
A box on wheels, which is a good thing
There is a persistent rattle/hum coming from somewhere under the dash, maybe in the HVAC system, I've been trying to pin it down, but no joy just yet. It only comes on when the car is cold and at low revs, so it's not too annoying.
The car has been back to Vauxhall to have the fuel pressure regulator replaced under recall. I wasn't asked to come in, but I knew the recall existed, so took it in. All fixed with no bother.
A headlamp unit had to be replaced by the suppling dealer, as a fixing was broke. It must have had a minor bump before I got hold of it. The dealer fixed it without any fuss, but didn't do a very good job. The metal around the headlamp fixing needed straightening out too; as it was, the headlamp wasn't straight and didn't fit flush. I sorted this, only took a couple of hours, and the end result is now spot on.
Nothing has actually gone wrong, so so far I'm happy with it.
This is our second Zafira 2.2 auto. We also still have a 2006 version. My first thoughts concerns Vauxhall's petty cost cutting. Why has the spare wheel been removed? Why has the glovebox damper been removed and replaced with a nasty piece of sliding plastic, why have the driver's window controls had the lock illumination replaced with cheap looking stickers, why has the rear armrest been replaced with nasty plastic mouldings, etc etc?
I guess they thought people wouldn't notice, well they were wrong. Despite that, the newer Zafira remains a good, practical car, which is why we bought it. Boot space is excellent in 5 seat mode, and when loaded to the roof in 2 seat mode, it's like a van, brilliant. All this in a car which is relatively short and narrow, perfect.
Strangely, despite being the same engine and gearbox as our older Zafira, it doesn't drive in quite the same way. The gearbox is smoother in some circumstances, but rougher in others, the engine is smoother and quieter (apart from when rattling the interior!), but seems less powerful. Fuel economy seems pretty much the same, and other gripes that applied to the older car (e.g. very weak air-con) still apply to this one. It also has the same strengths, in that it drives well for such a big old box (that would be the use of the dampers from the SRI version on this 2.2) and remains reasonably comfortable for long distance driving.
For what it's worth, we get around 30mpg in our 2.2 Zafira autos. Which I would expect is around 5-10mpg less than the 1.9 CDTI auto would manage (2.2 auto official figure is 33mpg, 1.9 CDTI auto is 41mpg). Considering that petrol is around 5% cheaper than diesel these days, and the numerous and very expensive faults that the 1.9 CDTI suffers from, I'm very glad we have the excellent 2.2 Direct petrol engine. Sadly, this engine is no longer available, another victim of the obsession to lower CO2 versus other variables that matter to the owner of the car, e.g. cost to purchase and maintain.
What is a real pain is that the standard stereo (a CD30 unit) had no means of connecting an iPod to it (apart from useless FM transmitters), so I had to replace the stereo with an aftermarket HU, which means that I can no longer use the built-in optional Bluetooth system (try finding a stereo these days which has Ph+/- inputs instead of links to bespoke Bluetooth systems), which is a shame because the UHP Bluetooth system is very good.
If you happen to have the Bluetooth system, I would recommend removing the cradle from within the centre storage area and replacing it with the standard cupholder moulding; the Zafira doesn't have much interior space for storage as it is, so reclaim it! The Bluetooth system will work without the cradle, so it's no big deal to remove it.
This being our 2nd Zafira and our liking it a lot, for what it can do as much as how it does it, shows we think very highly of these cars. The new Zafira coming this year (2011) has a lot to live up to! I'm hoping there will be a 1.4T or 1.6T with a decent autobox, that could be the natural successor to this car for us. We have looked at other MPVs like the C4 GP, but somehow they just don't do it for us like the Zafira does.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st April, 2011
We've had the car for 3 months now and done 4,000 miles in it. We've had to take it back to the dealers to have the air con condenser replaced, as the air con stopped working recently. That was fixed under warranty by the excellent supplying dealers without any fuss.
The car is averaging 31.8 MPG, which I'm happy with. I've seen owner reports on the 1.9 CDTI automatic showing low to mid 30s for that car, so I feel very justified in avoiding the problem plagued diesels and sticking with the under-rated 2.2 petrol.
Second update. Done 10k miles in it now. Noticed a few more cost cutting measures. The "check control" system was turned off on the computer, so it wasn't giving light failure warnings, or washer fluid low warnings. Added the washer fluid and coolant sensors, and switched the check control back on with some diagnostic software. Much happier now! Why it was turned off I don't know. It might save a couple of quid to delete the sensors for washer fluid and coolant, but why turn off the warnings for brake/tail lights etc? They're free!
Anyway, nothing has actually gone wrong since the air-con was fixed, so happy with the reliability. Achieved a peak of 37mpg on a long motorway run, which I think is pretty good. MOT passed with no problems too.
Final update. Selling the car today. My wife has a new diesel MPV, so we don't need the Zafira any more. I'm downsizing to a Fiesta. No more problems to report on the Zafira, I've covered about 12k miles in it, and it's been pretty good in that time.
If it wasn't for fuel prices and steadily declining residuals (obvious fear of big car tax rises around the corner...), I might have held onto it for longer.
As it is, in another era where fuel prices and car tax is more predictable, this would be a fine car. Shame then.