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February 25, 2011updated 08 Apr 2021 8:16am

GENEVA PREVIEW: GM’s new Zafira – more or less

Tone down the Geneva show 'concept' wackier styling details, change the two-tone yellowy brown cabin to the battleship grey or coal mine black most European buyers prefer and you have - more or less - the redesigned production Opel/Vauxhall Zafira sevent seat MPV/people carrier minivan for 2011 and beyond. It may also get Holden or Chevrolet badges if sold outside Europe.

Tone down the Geneva show ‘concept’ wackier styling details, change the two-tone yellowy brown cabin to the battleship grey or coal mine black most European buyers prefer and you have – more or less – the redesigned production Opel/Vauxhall Zafira sevent seat MPV/people carrier minivan for 2011 and beyond. It may also get Holden or Chevrolet badges if sold outside Europe.

General Motors Europe said this third generation seven seater will combine “‘lounge on wheels’ luxury with the same high degree of flexibility the Zafira name has become synonymous with over the last 12 years”.

“We have transferred the idea of a relaxing lounge to a vehicle and created an automobile oasis, a place to relax and enjoy,” said design chief Mark Adams.

The Zafira Tourer Concept has a panoramic windscreen that flows into a glass roof extending to the rear of the car. GME has previously offered a three-door Astra hatchback with a combined windscreen and glass roof. On the GM concept, a second pane of high-tech composite material is edge lit by LEDs. Tiny metallic particles embedded in the cabin’s upper sections reflect the light that can be varied in different shades of yellow.

The familiar Flex7 seating (the rear five seats all fold flat into the floor) is used in the concept but, with two rows in place, providing five-seat capacity, can be transformed at the push of a button into a four seater with “limousine levels of space”. A new folding mechanism allows the centre section of the second row to fold down, revealing two armrests for occupants in the outer seats. These seats can then slide back and towards each other, creating generous space around passengers. Extended footrests complement the seats.

The concept’s tilt-able three-piece headrests are electrically powered, though for safety reasons the driver’s remains in a vertical position when the car is in motion. In the ‘lounge’ setting, with the exception of the driver’s headrest, each swivels 90 degrees to the horizontal position while the outer elements curve slightly forward.

Up front, a large touch-screen display dominates the centre console, above which a covered storage compartment can hold a tablet PC like an iPad. Pivot-mounted tablet PCs are on the front seatbacks for rear passengers to use.

The concept has a new version of GM’s 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine with start/stop plus a ‘FlexRide’ adaptive damping system.

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