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    REVIEW | Zafira Life embraces practical lifestyle, but this new Opel has a point to prove

    Opel’s new Zafira Life is the latest bus to enter South Africa’s new car parc.

    Coming up against Hyundai’s Staria, the Zafira Life undercuts its Korean rival on price.

    Though the Opel’s engine is willing, the bus’ steering is heavy.

    For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24


    The South African new car market has been bolstered with the addition of two new family buses in the last few months. In late 2021, Hyundai launched its H1 replacement, the Staria. And in February 2022, Opel launched its new Zafira Life. The Zafira name is not unfamiliar to locals. In MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) guise, the Zafira found favour with many buyers, and there are still several units running on our roads.

    In 2022, the Zafira name returns, but as a full-grown family bus and with the ‘Life’ nomenclature. And it’s big, too! The family wagon measures 5 306mm in length and a height of 1 948mm. It allows for Opel to fit eight seats inside the vehicle and create ample loading space. The second and third rows of seats are moveable and detachable, further increasing the loading area.

    Access to the cabin is gained via the two front doors, one of the two manually operated sliding doors, and the fifth door giving access to the bus’ rear.

    2022 Opel Zafira Life

    Solid interior?

    Our test tenure took place behind the wheel of the entry model of the Zafira Life range, the Edition model. Climbing inside, the bus immediately exudes a sense of space. The seating position is bus-like – upright – and front passengers can manually adjust their seats. Spoiler alert: it feels like a step back having to manually adjust the seat’s back support by turning the knob.

    The rest of the interior, notably the facia, is decked in hard plastic. While it is not entirely off-putting, it is not as plush as the material used by Hyundai in the Staria. It’s as if Opel took a shortcut, even though they didn’t, and the use of a softer and slighter higher quality material would have done the cabin a world’s good.

    The Zafira Life Edition is also kitted a host of standard features, including cruise control, electric windows for the front passengers, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear park distance control, and a rear-view camera.

    READ: Opel Zafira Life is priced as a premium car, but can it deliver from the driver’s seat?

    Opel Zafira Life

    Interior of the (2022) Opel Zafira Life Elegance. Distinguishing features over the Edition include controls on the steering wheel.

    Silently smooth engine

    The Zafira Life is powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine that offers 110kW and 370Nm. With the torque available at 2 000rpm, the bus has no qualms building up momentum and maintaining speeds. A dab of the throttle will see the eight-speed automatic transmission drop a gear or two for easy overtaking when the need arises.

    What we picked up on, though, was that the Zafira Life’s steering is on the heavy side. Manoeuvering into a parking space and trekking in peak traffic highlight the bus’ heavy steering, which is a fair amount weightier than its direct rival’s, the Staria. Fortunately, it does not detract from the very compliant ride quality the bus is endowed with.

    Opel claims a fuel return of 6.3-litres/100km, giving the Zafira Life a theoretical driving range of 1 111km on its 70-litre fuel tank.

    Opel Zafira Life

    2022 Opel Zafira Life

    In summary

    Opel’s new bus is not cheap at R749 900 for the Zafira Life Edition (and R869 900 for the Elegance). Yes, it undercuts the Staria, but the Korean rival feels better put together than the German bus. Of course, certain aspects of the Zafira Life could have been better executed, but it would impact the price, which is one of Opel’s big selling points.

    While our time with the Zafira Life revolved around mostly city driving with the odd run on the N2 to Cape Town’s CBD, we think it will come into its own on the open road. This bus will shine with bums in the seats and a destination in another province.

    The Zafira Life is sold with a five-year or 100 000km service plan and a warranty covering the same period.

    Opel Zafira Life

    2022 Opel Zafira Life

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