Road Review: Opel Zafira Life Elegance

  Colin Windell


 3 Jun, 2022

The new Opel Zafira has arrived to serve your personal or business transportation needs.

Carshop Likes:

✅ Easy cruising power from the 2,0-lire engine

✅ Comfortable and spacious

Carshop Dislikes:

❌ Fuel filler cap cut into wheel arch

❌ No driver grab handle

Automotive nomenclature can be confusing at times. So, we can forgive car buyers for a bit of head-scratching regarding the Opel Zafira.

The name means to succeed.

The original Zafira, a compact MPV, was designed to sit on the Opel Astra platform. The first generation of the Zafira was developed with the aid of Porsche and shown in concept form at the 1997 Frankfurt Auto Show, entering series production in January 1999. 

More space, more room and more leather

A notable feature of the vehicle was the seven seats arranged in three rows. The back row could be folded into the floor, individually or together, to create more space instead of physically removing the extra from the vehicle – a system named Flex 7. 

Over time, as they do, the Zafira grew in size and its final iteration on that platform did not come to our shores – we got the Chev Captiva instead.

Drawn from the Arabic word meaning to succeed, the Zafira has re-emerged as a full-size people-mover, previously the domain of the Vivaro nameplate.

The new minivan shares underpinnings with the Peugeot Traveller, Citroën SpaceTourer, Toyota ProAce Verso and the upcoming Fiat Ulysse – locally, the Zafira Life available in two guises being the Edition (eight seats) and the Elegance with seven ‘club’ chairs.

No keys, push the start

The Elegance and Edition models share a 2,0-litre turbo-diesel engine with stop/start technology. Developing 110 kW at 4 000 r/min and 370 Nm and torque from 2 000 r/min, the Opel Zafira Life has an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Opel claims just 6,3 l/100 km on a combined cycle, but the Elegance I had on the test returned a figure of 8,5 l/100km for the test cycle that did include some reasonably quality dirt roads. In all likelihood, the figure would drop over time with ‘normal’ daily usage.

The seven-seater Elegance version makes an ideal luxury touring vehicle. The large side windows and panoramic roof instantly conjure a picture of long, slow cruises through the Kruger National Park or, for that matter, any place where you need to be able to appreciate the beauty of our landscape in wide-angle, rather than peering through a minuscule portal.

The seats in this version are leather-made, and the second row folds into two individual seats with arm-rests and a VIP sliding and folding table in the centre.

The dark-tinted side windows stretch into the back of the third row, giving those inside a high level of comfort with plenty of daylight and privacy from onlookers and protection against excessive sunlight.

Zafira Life models are equipped with sliding doors, with the Elegance model featuring Electric Handsfree sliding doors allowing the driver to open the doors remotely.

Halogen headlamps, front fog lamps and Automatic Headlight function (with auto high beam) are standard on the Elegance.

Inside, it offers a cooled and lit glove box, front-heated seats for the driver and passenger, a separate rear air-conditioning, and the dual-zone electronic climate control air-conditioning system (ECC). They use multi-zone sun sensors to adjust the ECC according to sunlight intensity, while controlled particle air recirculation prevents windows from fogging up. 

7-inch touchscreen with a range of comfort and convenience features

The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Zafira Life boasts a 7-inch touchscreen intellilink infotainment system that offers connectivity via USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Zafira Elegance flaunts an upgraded sound system comprising ten speakers. 

Standard safety measures include crash bags for both front passengers, Driver Attention Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Speed Sign Detection with the speed information shown on the Heads-Up display.

The Zafira is a big vehicle, and the front end has a bit of a Bulldog look to it – ugly enough to be lovable and without the slobber!

Nevertheless, it is somewhat of a Bulldog nature – tenacious and determined. The 2,0-litre diesel has enough power and torque to deal with pretty much any road situation and, like the dog, will continue going until it has achieved what it set out to do.

Cruising is generally effortless, and the big vehicle handles quite neutrally, both in terms of the way it soaks up road ripples and how it deals with curves and corners.

With the rear view camera option, parking became less of an issue – the large tailgate takes a bit of practice to judge, especially when reverse parking.

Based on the experience, the Zafira appears to be living up to its name and success. 


R869 900
2,0-litre inline 4-cylinder, turbo-diesel
370 Nm
8-speed automatic
Driven Wheels
Top Speed
Fuel Consumption
8,5 l/100km
CO2 Emissions
165 g/km

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Find the keys to your dream
Opel Zafira

2022 2.0TD Life Edition Auto

R 749,900

2022 2.0TD Life Edition Auto

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2022 2.0TD Life Elegance Auto

R 869,900

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