I love this car - its the perfect combination of everything and suits me perfectly! I used to drive a 400bhp Sapphire Cosworth which I loved for the speed and fun factor, plus it came with full Recaro black leather, but no safety elements other than ABS. It was also 14 years old and started to get unreliable, and drank fuel with 11mpg around town and 24mpg at best on the motorway.
I then changed to a BMW 320d Touring - I loved the diesel economy and the performance was fairly good too, but the space inside for my family was far better than the Cosworth and suited our luggage needs, but it didn't have leather and wasn't as much fun, but did have safety elements.
I needed a mix of the two ie something that was fast, fun, looked the part, better economy than the Cosworth, but with similar performance, ideally with full leather, lots of safety equipment, had space for luggage, and space for granny and granddad would be a huge bonus too, and new, reliable and under warranty - and only one thing ticked all the boxes, the Zafira GSI Turbo!
I originally wanted one in silver, but decided that the Arden Blue was the colour to go for as it not only stands out over the rest of the Zafira range (as only the GSI comes in this colour), but you can't fail to notice it when on the move!
I bought with 1 owner at 10k miles for £16,200 from a competitive car supermarket, which was a bargain considering it cost nearly 24k new, as mine has the full Recaro leather option with 5 stage heated front seats.
The seats all feel excellent quality and the front seats are very supportive on long journeys. The middle bench is comfortable too with a full 3 point centre seatbelt and centre arm rest, which folds down and becomes a storage area and 2 cup holders.
The middle row also benefits from 4 heater vents (2 in between the two front seats and 1 under each) and darkened/tinted/sun protection glass from the middle back.
The rear 2 seats are also full leather and surprisingly can fit a 6'2" adult in in reasonable comfort for short journeys, especially if those sitting in the middle are not the tallest, and so the middle bench can be pushed forward towards the front seats for extra legroom for rear passengers. They also come with integrated cup holders.
Safety is paramount on the GSI model too featuring ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), EH-PAS (Electro Hydraulic Power Assisted Steering), TC (Traction Control), ESP (Electronic Stability Control) and 10 airbags! (drivers wheel, passenger dash, drivers + passenger seat airbags and 6 curtain airbags).
Security is good with a factory fitted standard immobiliser, alarm and deadlocks, and the rear comes with a load cover to hide the boot contents.
The GSI has stiffened suspension compared to the rest of the Zafira range, however it wasn't lowered in order to retain some comfort. The ride is certainly comfortable although you can feel the bumps and potholes in the road, however you wouldn't be buying this car for anything else other than a sporty ride!
The tyres can give off some road noise due to their size, but overall it's quite quiet inside with very little engine noise (which feels strange to me after hearing air filters sucking, exhaust booming and dumpvalve whistling on the Cosworth!).
Performance is excellent with very little turbo lag and no turbo 'pull' due to an all round torque band from 1,500 revs way past 5,000, in fact it feels as if it comes alive -again- past 5k where the 16 valve engine really starts to kick in and make use of the air!
The fuel computer is also very handy in this situation with a variety of functions available, most notably 'Instant Consumption', 'Average Consumption' and 'Range' ie estimate of how many miles you will get with what is left in the tank, and usually it's not a lot if you have a lead right foot like me!
Unfortunately Vauxhall in their infinite wisdom didn't fit the Astra or Zafira models with a 6 speed gearbox, hence at 75mph the engine is at 3.2k revs - peak turbo boost area, so even though you are not racing, the turbo is on full chat and so fuel economy suffers. 70mph returns around 35mpg, where as 80mph returns around 28mpg - both with no one else in the car! (thankfully the standard cruise control can help with motorway economy!).
My wife has been using it recently (and doesn't want to give it back either! So much for Daddy Cool!) for around town use and averaged 250 miles out of the 58 litre tank which is only 19.5mpg! Still, you wouldn't be buying this car for its economy, more for its outright raw cheeky rally car engine in a sensible family car with comfort, and for that, I can't fault it nor would I change it!
Just be careful if you drive a hot hatch and you see me at the lights, as not only will I leave you standing in standard form, I have my eyes on a 247bhp-292lb/ft chip upgrade, which will undoubtedly boost the 0-60 of 7.6 seconds to the mid to high 6s!!!
Get one!!! They aren't cheap, but if you can afford it, you won't regret it!!! :)