The original Opel Zafira turns 25 and we still think it made a lot of sense

When we talk about Opel Zafiramost people will think of that legendary minivan that was launched in 1999 and was a success from the start. Currently, the name is still used for a van dedicated to passenger transport, but it is clearly not the same. Taking advantage of the fact that turns a quarter of a century old Since its launch, we are going to review its history and explain that we think it is a mistake that minivans as we knew them have been lost.

As we said, just before the turn of the century, Opel presented a very interesting model. It used the Opel Astra (G) platform, but with a much more familiar look and a space utilization. They called it Zafira, which in Arabic means “to triumph”. Despite having compact dimensions (4.32 meters in length), the model was capable of carry seven passengers thanks to a third row and the system called “Flex 7”. The key was functionality and the ability to adapt.

In just a few seconds, it could go from having seven seats to having two front seats and up to 1,700 litres of boot space. On a technical level it was also very advanced. and boasted a drag coefficient of 0.33 Cx or a weight of just 1,390 kg. The mechanical range of the Opel Zafira was quite varied and complete, having options from 1.6 to 2.2 liters in both gasoline and diesel, always with four cylinders. The highlight was the Zafira OPC with its 192 HP to be the fastest minivan of its time.

At that time he also experimented with some alternative propulsion systemshighlighting the 1.6 CNG with compressed natural gas. There was also a limited fleet with hydrogen fuel cells to experiment with that fuel. Thanks to all these benefits, the German model received quite a few awards and was a success in sales. It was followed by a second generationthe Zafira B, arrived in 2005 using the Astra (H) platform. It maintained the philosophy and improved some details.

However, the most notable changes came in the third generation. The Zafira C was named Zarifa Tourer and increased considerably in size. It considerably completed its equipment and maintained those seven very useful seats, always with mechanics adjusted to the times that were running. But sales were falling due to the change in trend. That generation was not as successful, as SUVs were arriving on the market to replace this type of model.

So in 2018 it was taken off the market and In 2019 the twist came. The Opel Zafira has changed completely and has become a passenger van. With the name Life, it used the same platform as the Opel Vivaro, an architecture inherited from Stellantis that allowed it to reduce costs. It maintains the seven seats and gains storage space. In addition, the electrification was here to stay with a fully electric variant.

Although the concept of the minivans of before was lost, it seems that currently is partially recoveringWith the large number of crossovers arriving in all segments, some brands are opting for more familiar and adaptable versions, as they already have the steps with a more dynamic character occupied. The proof is the arrival of the new Opel Frontera, which returns the option to Seven seats in a compact sizeIt also boasts the latest in equipment and a renewed mechanical range with electrified options.

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