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.