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  1. #1
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    14th December 2005

    Default What the Press say about the Zafira VXR
    Date: 2005
    By: Gavin Conway
    A funny MPV
    Even before you get behind the wheel, the Vauxhall Zafira VXR will make you laugh out loud - much in the way I did when a friend told me about his Morris Minor, powered by a small-block V8 developing a gazillion horsepower; or another colleague who wrote a feature about a shopping trolley scaled up so it was about nine feet tall. And powered by a big-block Chevy V8.
    So here's the deal. This is a respectable high-riding seven-seat MPV that does all sorts of clever things with its fold-flat seats - only, it's got the turbocharged 240bhp 2.0-litre powerplant straight out of Vauxhall's fireball Astra VXR. That means it'll make 60mph in 7.2 seconds and romp on to a distinctly non-PC 144mph - Chevy-big-block-shopping-trolley funny, I think you'll agree.
    Visually, the Zafira VXR tries to look hard by slapping on a deep front spoiler, chrome-ringed foglights, side sills and some very silly big-bore dual exhausts. 18-inch wheels fill the arches convincingly, but if you want the full "you-lookin'-at-me" effect, there are optional 19-inchers. This will work for those of us that know what we're looking at - the rest of the population will see a tarted-up MPV, because it's still the Zafira's MPV-ness that strikes you first.
    Overtaking is laughably easy
    The sell job continues inside, where the Zafira VXR gains grippy Recaro front seats, carbon-fibre-alike door trim bits, a chunky three-spoke steering wheel and alloy pedals. Given the typical MPV high-riding panoramic-view driving position, this all feels a bit incongruous.
    But not nearly so much as when you actually turn the key and head off down the road. The first thing you'll notice is that the ride isn't totally ruined by the sporting suspension. All Zafira VXRs come with electronic controls that look after damper settings, electronic stability programmes and braking systems in a way that allows fast, stable progress, even in such a high-sided vehicle.
    For those wanting an even more firmly damped driving experience, there's also a Sport button that firms the chassis up even more. Sadly, it also remaps the throttle in a way that's supposed to make it feel even more responsive, but in reality, just makes it unpredictable and over-enthusiastic.
    Frantic is really the best way to describe the power delivery of that 240bhp motor (40bhp more than the previous mad Zafira Gsi). Give it loads from standstill and the steering wheel squirms gently in your hands as the front tyres melt away in a blue cloud. Torque steer isn't a major problem, but I form the same impression I do with all very powerful front-drivers - which is, "power's going to the wrong end of this thing."
    Amusement to be had
    The ratios of the six-speed manual gearbox are quite well judged, which means you get meaningful response just about anywhere in the speed range. Overtaking is laughably easy. The only problem is that other road users are sometimes taken by surprise at the Zafira's ridiculous pace. You just don't expect to be slam-dunked by a Mummy-mobile.
    The performance is not an issue, but we'd never call this an enthusiast's car. Even though it sits on a hot-hatch underpinnings, its MPV bodystyle means that the centre of gravity is way too high. Fun to drive in the way that the Golf GTi, Astra VXR, Focus ST are? Absolutely no way.
    We suspect that the Zafira VXR will be bought by those who want to feel that they're not abandoning themselves to an MPV "life-stage" and all that that implies. And there really is huge amusement to be had in the incongruity of it all.
    So the £21,995 Zafira VXR will make you laugh, much in the way a big-block V8 powered shopping trolley will - and for largely the same reason.

  2. #2
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    14th December 2005

    Default Zafira B, 2.0iT (Z20LEH),, 1/11/05
    Date: November 2005
    By: Sam Hardy
    Meet the second of the VXR newcomers. If you need to move your family fast, and the hot Vectra hasn't got enough seats for you, Vauxhall has the answer: the Zafira VXR.
    Combining a 237bhp 2.0-litre turbo engine with uprated suspension, bold styling and the firm's clever Flex7 cabin layout, it's a formidable package. But how does the MPV's chassis deal with the power? And do the changes turn the Zafira into a stiff, uncomfortable car, unsuitable for family transport?
    With the same storming turbo as the Astra VXR, this Zafira has 37bhp more than the previous GSi, and a massive 320Nm of torque. The only people carrier to come close to this figure is Mercedes' turbo B-Class - yet it's still 47bhp shy.
    Claimed performance is predictably strong and, with the engine mated to a six-speed gearbox, the 0-60mph sprint is said to take 7.2 seconds, while the top speed is 144mph. The car feels as quick as those figures suggest, proving responsive at low revs and surging forward as turbo boost builds. Vauxhall says this is the world's fastest MPV - and you could certainly surprise owners of VW's Golf GTI and most other hot hatches.
    The rest of the driving experience is nearly as impressive. Sharing virtually the same chassis as the Astra VXR, the Zafira has electronically controlled dampers and clever software to minimise understeer and improve stability - not to mention big 321mm front brakes.
    Despite the bumpy roads of our test route, the early signs are good. The ride is stiffer, but shouldn't upset passengers, and the Zafira changes direction keenly, with accurate steering and minimal roll.
    As with both the Astra and Vectra VXR, it lacks feel, there's lots of torque steer under hard acceleration and the dashboard-mounted Sport button stiffens the ride too much. Yet the Zafira still corners very quickly with composure, offering hot hatch levels of grip in a very practical package.
    As our pictures show, plenty of skirts and spoilers have been added, and the Zafira VXR looks purposeful. Most of the cabin updates are a success, too, especially the part-leather Recaro seats and ergonomically sound three-spoke steering wheel. But the carbon fibre trim on the dash and doors looks a bit cheap.
    What's not in doubt is the Zafira's practicality. The Flex7 system allows lots of seating combinations, from two chairs to seven, and because the seats don't have to be removed, everything is easy to operate. With a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, plus standard front, side and head airbags, the Vauxhall ticks all the right safety boxes, too.
    In addition to electric windows, air-conditioning and a trip computer, the VXR's standard spec tally includes an MP3-compatible CD stereo, alloy pedals and tinted rear side windows. But all this equipment comes at a price; £21,995 may be only £220 more than the previous GSi, but it's a lot to pay for a car that's in insurance group 17 and returns 30mpg fuel economy.
    However, with no other people carriers capable of getting anywhere near its immense performance and arguably the best seating system on the market, the Zafira VXR is in a class of its own.
    First Opinion
    People carriers that are fun to drive are rare. And models which can reach 144mph even more so. Yet the Zafira VXR does both. It may be expensive, at nearly £22,000, but with huge performance, great handling and bold looks, there's nothing else quite like it on the road. It's also brilliantly practical, safe and superbly equipped.

  3. #3
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    14th December 2005

    Default Zafira B, 2.0iT (Z20LEH), Pictures – Interior

  4. #4
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    14th December 2005

    Default Zafira B, 2.0iT (Z20LEH), Pictures – Details

  5. #5
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    14th December 2005

    Default Zafira B, 2.0iT (Z20LEH), Pictures – Engine

  6. #6
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    14th December 2005

    Default Zafira B, 2.0iT (Z20LEH), Pictures – Static

  7. #7
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    14th December 2005

    Default Zafira B, 2.0iT (Z20LEH), Pictures – Action

  8. #8
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    17th December 2005

    Default Zafira B, 2.0iT (Z20LEH), Specifications/Press Release

    Technical Specifications


    1998cc 16v ECOTEC 4-cylinder turbo
    Max power: 240PS (170KW) @ 5,600rpm
    Max torque: 320Nm (236lb/ft) @ 2,400rpm
    Bore/Stroke: 86/86mm
    Compression ratio: 8.8:1
    Max turbo boost pressure: 1.2 bar
    Front-wheel-drive, six speed close-ration manual gearbox
    0-60mph: 7.2secs
    Top speed: 144mph
    Fuel economy mpg (litres/100km) on 98 Octane fuel
    Urban: 21.1 (13.4)
    Extra-urban: 38.2 (7.4)
    Combined: 29.4 (9.6)
    CO2 emissions: 230g/km
    Front discs: 321mm
    Rear discs: 278mm
    Wheels and Tyres

    18-inch five-spoke alloy 8Jx18, 225/40 R18 tyres
    (optional 19-inch alloys with 235/35 ZR19 tyres)
    Length/width/height: 4467mm/1801mm/1635mm
    Wheelbase: 2703mm
    Kerbweight: 1665kg
    Gross vehicle weight: 2200kg
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  9. #9
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    17th December 2005

    Default Specification and Equipment

    Specification and Equipment

    VXR matt black mesh grille, body-coloured ‘V’ insert and larger air dam/bumper
    VXR front fog lights with chrome surrounds
    VXR side sills
    VXR roof spoiler
    VXR rear bumper
    Twin trapezoidal chrome-effect exhaust pipes
    Unique VXR badging
    Choice of four VXR-specific paint colours
    18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels
    Heated electrically adjustable door mirrors

    Recaro sports seats with leather-trimmed side bolsters
    Three-spoke leather-covered VXR steering wheel
    Aluminium effect VXR gear knob
    VXR carbon inserts on dashboard and doors
    Unique VXR instrument panel
    Aircraft-style parking brake
    Air conditioning
    IDS2-plus chassis with ESP, CDC and EBD
    Sport Switch
    Multi-function trip computer
    CD/MP3 stereo system with steering wheel controls
    Front, side and curtain airbags
    Flex 7 seating system
    Remote alarm with folding key
    Leather pack (with heated seats)
    Winter pack (including heated seats, headlamp washers, third row heating outlets)
    FlexOrganiser boot tidy system
    Electronic Climate Control (in lieu of air conditioning)
    19-inch alloy wheels
    Satellite navigation and stereo upgrades
    Portable removable DVD player
    Rear seat Twin Audio
    Front and Rear Parking distance sensors
    Adaptive Forward Lighting with bi-Xenon headlamps.
    Cruise Control
    Twin Audio
    Bluetooth Mobile phone kit.
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  10. #10
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    17th December 2005


    Prices and options
    Price: £21,995 on-the-road
    Includes number plates and delivery to retailer, 12-months’ Vehicle Excise Duty and new vehicle first registration fee of £38.00
    Leather Pack (leather seat facings, heated Recaro sports seats, front passenger seat height adjust, centre rear seat head restraint) £1,000
    Winter Pack (High-pressure headlight washers, electrically heated front seats) £320
    Smoker Pack (cigar lighter and ashtray) £50
    FlexOrganiser option pack (3D storage net, side net pocket, four side rail hooks) £50
    Electronic Climate Control £275
    Cruise Control £200
    Fixing points for accessory dog guard (dog guard available from retailer) £50
    AFL lighting with bi-xenon bulbs and high-pressure washers £750
    Alloy effect roof rails £100
    19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with 235/35 R19 ultra-low profile tyres £500
    Front and rear parking distance sensors £350
    Two-coat metallic or pearlescent paint £335
    CDC 40 stereo/radio with integral six-disc CD autochanger and graphic display £400
    CD70 stereo/radio/cd with MP3 capability and sat nav with colour monitor £1250
    Roof-mounted removable DVD player (retailer fit) £695
    Rear seat Twin Audio system with single headset £100
    Mobile phone system with Bluetooth (not including phone or cradle) £300
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