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Opel Zafira: New minibus in town, but it’s not a taxi

Every seat in the house is the best seat.

That’s what our country offers MPs, with huge pay for minimal work, well-paid government contracts for the family, unlimited opportunities to be bribed by big corporations and, best of all, a total lack of accountability.

Opel’s new fourth-generation Zafira minibus promises the same seating promise, but in a more honorable and practical way. Twenty years after the release of the first Zafira, Opel rates the latest incarnation of their vehicle as a potentially heavy hitter in the luxury van market.

Opel Zafira no taxi

This is definitely not a taxi – the Opel is unashamedly luxurious, versatile, spacious, refined and, up to R869900, expensive. Rather, it is aimed at wealthy families or businesses and offers two models to the South African market in seven- or eight-seat configurations respectively.

Drawer tables in the back.

Both the Opel Zafira Life and Elegance models come with a 1,997 cc four-cylinder turbo diesel engine developing 110 kW at 4,000 rpm, plus 370 Nm of torque, available from just 2,000 rpm. This goes to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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It’s hard to make a van look like anything but a square box, but the Zafira’s lightweight design reflects the DNA of its creators, and this vehicle cannot be mistaken for anything but an Opel.

Seating for eight

Opel says the entry-level Zafira Life is aimed at families, wealthy retirees and outdoor adventurers. It offers eight full-sized fabric-covered seats, with individual rails and seat belts. Dark tinted side windows extend into the rear of the third row, with sliding doors on both sides.

The Opel Zafira comes standard with a tinted glass tailgate, a heated rear window and a single rear window wiper. All models are equipped with halogen headlamps, front fog lamps and an automatic headlamp function.

Functional cockpit

The Opel Zafira Life offers a functional cockpit with plenty of storage spaces, cup holders, a cooled and illuminated glove compartment, a storage compartment for electronic devices, separate air conditioning at the front and rear, plus a luggage cover at the rear.

The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment systems in both models are Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible and offer connectivity via USB ports.

The functional cockpit of the Opel Zafira.

Active safety systems include ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and electronic stability control, forward brake assist, traction control, high rear brake light, pull-away assist, driver warning and blind spot detection.

Brakes are steel discs all round, 17-inch alloy wheels inside, wrapped in 215/60 R17 rubber. If you can’t avoid trouble, there are front and side airbags to keep you whole.

Upwards, the Opel Zafira Life Elegance models are equipped with Forward Brake Assist that can help avoid a collision with mobile or fixed obstacles and pedestrians at speeds below 30 km/h.

move up

The Elegance is a more luxurious offering for business customers or families looking for more comfort. The second row seats are fully leather treated and have been reduced to two separate seats with armrests, plus a VIP sliding and folding table in the middle for a reconfigurable lounge.

The opening window on the tailgate.

It features a panoramic roof, with large two-piece glass panels that extend over the driver, passenger and front row seats, electric hands-free sliding doors, tailgate with a heated windshield and wiper, heated front seats, sunshade side curtains, plus a two-zone climate control system.

We were allowed to drive both Opel Zafira models and found them unwilling. Both have more than enough acceleration and speed to keep up with the rest of the traffic on the highway and in the city. When he’s behind the wheel, the Zafira feels big at first, but when you’re driving it doesn’t anymore – always a clear sign of something that’s on its own.

Comfort is supreme, and this van exudes high quality. We see tourist companies transporting foreign visitors all over the country, without us having to change anything in the Zafira.


Opel Zafira Life Edition – R749 900

Opel Zafira Life Elegance – R869 900

For more information about the Opel Zafira, click here

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