After a great deal of discussion, following the birth of our daughter my wife and I decided to move into the MPV market. While we were more than happy with my previous car (Ford Focus estate - my wife has a Ford Ka) we found that babies do not travel lightly and the Focus was stretched to accommodate the various paraphernalia she required on our travels.
We spent a couple of months exploring the market by visiting car show rooms, websites and reading reviews. The indications all pointed to the Zafira as our best option. After test driving a Comfort, we decided to go for the Zafira, but were not overly impressed with the equipment levels in the basic Club or middle range Comfort models. However, the higher spec Elegance with the options we wanted (metallic paint, tinted windows and cruise control) came in at about £18.5k - a bit more than we wanted to spend.
The solution turned out to be buying the car through an internet based company rather than a dealership. This was much easier than I thought; it gave us the car and spec we wanted while saving us almost £4k.
After two months of ownership, and driving the car under a variety of conditions from rural roads to urban motorways, I can say that we are pleased with the car's performance, economy, versatility and comfort levels.
The 1.8 engine is responsive and more than adequate for the loads we lug around. It is a bit noisier at speed, but not as noisy as the Focus under similar conditions.
Fuel use appears to be about the same as the Focus, but the tank is bigger and so I fill up less often.
In terms of versatility, the Zafira is far ahead of any car I have had previously. We have fitted six people in the car comfortably, though luggage space was limited in these circumstances. We have managed to fit in luggage, buggy, travel carry cot and high chair plus a few smaller bits and pieces while still retaining 5 seats. Finally, we have helped friends clear out their house, using the Zafira like a van.
On comfort levels, I like the driving position, but find the seats less comfortable than the Focus, though certainly not uncomfortable. The interior finish is a little dated and could easily be improved by Vauxhall/Opel with a little imagination. I have to say that getting tinted windows and cruise control as options were, for me, well worth the extra expense and both add significantly to comfort.
All in all, a sound car.