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Friday, December 12, 2008

COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW: Chevrolet/Holden/Opel/Vauxhall Zafira @ Subaru Traviq @ Chevrolet Nabira

I HAVEN"T FINISHED Updating... Watch this space. Thanks for having the patience to read it...

In this blog entry, I'm covering an "International" MIDI-MPV with 5 different Brands and 2 different Names. It's no other than Chevrolet/Holden/Opel/Vauxhall Zafira @ Chevrolet Nabira (in Malaysia) and Subaru Traviq (in Japan).

In Malaysia, the 1st 2 years on sale here were known as "Opel Zafira". In 2003, due to change of distributorship, the "Opel Zafira" was renamed as "Chevrolet Nabira" due to legal issues over the name usage.

The resale value of these car in Malaysia are as follows:

Year: 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Price:RM35000 39,000 47,000 51,000 56,000 62,000

Note: 2001 & 2002 it's called "Opel Zafira". 2003 onwards, "Chevrolet Nabira".

As usual, I don't have a car to test and brag about it. This is a Special "Intensive" review. I dished out 2 UK reviews, Autoexpress online, Whatcar? Magazine (Under Vauxhall Zafira), 1 Australian Review (goauto) under Holden Zafira AND Finally 1 Malaysian summary review courtesy of "Auto International Magazine" (under Opel Zafira). ENJOY...


Vauxhall Zafira

With little else to touch it in the used compact MPV market, should the Vauxhall Zafira be your first choice?

By Richard Dredge
April 2005

* Rating: ****

Arriving late to the compact MPV market, Vauxhall produced a vehicle that was truly innovative when the clever Zafira was launched. Seven seats over three rows were shoehorned into the Astra-based people carrier, but thanks to the company's pioneering Flex7 system, you could fold up to five of them to suit any journey.

However, with all of them in place, there's only really enough room for children in the rearmost seats. The chassis is beginning to show its age alongside rivals, but the Zafira's safe handling is ideal for drivers who want stability and predictable road manners.

What to look for

Best buy is the 2.0 DTi, launched in July 2000. The GSi Turbo is good, but it's costly to run and the ride is very hard. Before buying a late used model, check you can't beat the deal with a pre-registered new car. Car supermarkets often have some great offers - but ensure the vehicle is a genuine UK car, not a grey import.

* Engines: all powerplants can use large amounts of oil, especially during the first 10,000 miles or so - Vauxhall says up to a litre of oil needs to be put in every 1,000 miles. Make sure this has been done. Check for signs of a smoking exhaust.
* Interior: check the condition of the interior trim - these cars are often used for carrying children, so the upholstery is likely to have taken a fair amount of abuse. Dirty marks will be easy to fix, rips and tears less so.
* Spare wheel: it has been known for spares to have been stolen - they are mounted under the back of the car behind the rear axle. The standard fix is to buy a ΂£37.50 K-lok from Osprey Products. Log on to for further details.
* Brakes: rear brake can seize. The best way to check them is to jack up the back of the car with the handbrake disengaged, then try to turn the wheels by hand. Any resistance will need attention.
* Footwells: the front footwells can fill up with water due to the bulkhead springing a leak, thanks to poorly fitting seals. This needs to be fixed by someone who knows what they're doing - so a trip to a Vauxhall dealer is on the cards.

April 2000: Possibility of fuel leakage (X20DTL diesels built Jan-Dec 2000).
December 2000: Potential fuel leak (cars built Jan 2000-Dec 2001).
August 2002: Possible contamination of brake fluid (chassis W0L0TGF7522 199742- W0L0TGF7522229096).


Source 2: Summarised From Whatcar? (UK) Magazine - COMING SOON.

Source 3 from GoAuto Australia:
Model release dates: June 2001 - May 2006


WHILE the Renault Scenic wrote the original manuscript for moving kit and kin in a clever little wagon, Zafira has emerged as an instant classic. Though it doesn't come cheap, the Thai-built Euro star features seven seats with great callisthenic feats, loads of equipment for the asking price and a driving experience that is second to none in its class.

The Car

ZAFIRA might be based on the Holden Astra but its appearance marks it instantly as one of the new breed of tall, compact wedge-shaped mini-MPVs. The looks are clean and contemporary, with the front-end dominated by the powerful halogen headlamps, integrated grille and elevated mid-section of the bonnet. Roofrails are standard and a black moulding around the entire wagon is provided for protection in carparks. The rubbing strips are also designed to make the 1684mm high Zafira body appear lower and longer. At the rear, the overhang is kept to a minimum and large one-piece clear-glass lamps are used. Zafira has an energy-reducing drag co-efficient of 0.33Cd, which compares well with Astra's 0.31Cd.

Did you know?
Designed in Europe, Zafiras sold in Australia are built in Thailand and have undergone a large degree of input from Holden's Asia Pacific Engineering (APE) team

The Car - Seat Plan

THE Zafira has an advantage over its immediate rivals in that it can hold seven people. Its unique 5+2 "Flex7" seating arrangement allows easy conversion between five, six and seven seats. None of the seats remove, the individual rear seats folding to beneath the floor line and the centre row bench seat offering a 60/40 split-fold, skiport, armrest, fore-aft slide and a fold/tumble that can increase luggage volume to a maximum 1700 litres. Dual front airbags are the only airbags provided. Storage and cup-placement needs are well catered for.

Did you know?

Three child restraint anchorage points are provided, all positioned behind the centre row bench and fixed to the seatback so as not to interfere with its fore-aft slide function

The Car - Seats

ALL seven seats are trimmed in "Space Ball" black velour and contain a padded headrest. Only the driver's seat adjusts for height. Retractable three-point seatbelts are provided for outboard occupants, though the centre position across the second row bench seat makes do with an inferior lap belt. The seatbelt sash height can be adjusted on first and second row window-seat belts. These seating positions also benefit from anti-submarining ramps that reduce the risk of sliding under the belt in a collision, with the front gaining pyrotechnic seatbelt pretensioners and belt force limiters.

The Car - Dash

THE Zafira's functional, uncluttered and dark dash and instrument panel will be familiar to Astra, Barina and Vectra owners. A large hood covers the instrument cluster and the multi-function display. The instruments include a speedo, tacho, fuel and temperature gauges and warning lamps for alternator, oil pressure, engine malfunction and low fuel. Other warnings include handbrake on, low brake fluid, fasten seatbelt reminder, airbag/pretensioner failure and ABS/traction control failure. A service reminder is there, too. The multi-function display shows the time, date, audio settings, outside temperature and an ice warning. The dash fascia contains, in descending order, the stereo head unit, hazard lights, HVAC controls and ashtray/cigarette lighter.

The Car - Controls

LIKE other Opel-based cars in the Holden range, the front/rear wiper and indicator stalk is positioned on the left-hand side of the steering column. The column itself adjusts for reach as well as height, while the driver's seat is height-adjustable. The headlamps are adjusted from a rotary dial located on the right hand side of the dash. Electric (front) window and external mirror switchgear is positioned on the driver's door. Zafira also features cruise control, electric headlight level adjustment, road speed sensitive intermittent wipers and variable instrument dimming. The traction control is not designed to be switched off.

The Car - Wheels/tyres

HOLDEN engineers undertook an intensive optimisation program to ensure the Zafira's suspension dynamics suit the Australian driving environment. A result of this was development of new tyres - 195/65 R15 91H Michelin Vivacy - for the 15 x 6J wheels that feature better noise and vibration properties and assist with the ride quality. The spare wheel is located beneath the loading floor and is accessible from outside the vehicle. Alloy wheels are available as a dealer-fit accessory.

The Car - Luggage

MAXIMUM cargo capacity for Zafira is a massive 1700 litres when the rear seats are folded into the floor and the centre row is folded and tumbled up against the front seats. When all seats are upright the volume reduces to 150 litres - 110 litres less than the Barina compact hatch - though folding the two individual rear seats to beneath the floor line increases the volume to a more useful 640 litres. The cargo area is carpeted and contains a power outlet, six tie-down hooks, lamp and a storage locker under the floor. A high (1147mm) opening of the rear hatch and a low (587mm) loading sill make for easy access and the second row offers both a skiport and a 60/40 split-fold capability.

The Car - Stand out features

THE Flex7 seating arrangement is Zafira's biggest drawcard. It has two seats more than its rivals and, as well as competing against five-seaters in the mini-MPV segment, becomes a tempting proposition for buyers who shopping for mid-size 4WDs or people movers. Conversion between five and seven seats is extremely easy. Other strongpoints of the Zafira package include a comprehensive list of standard equipment and an excellent 2.2-litre engine, the latter being part of a new engine family that General Motors is introducing worldwide.

The Car - Climate control

THE Zafira's standard air-conditioning system was designed to suit Australian climatic conditions and was thoroughly tested by Opel and Holden engineers in northern and central Australia. The HVAC system uses rotary dials for fan speed, temperature and air distribution, plus buttons for air-conditioning, recirculation and rear demist. A pollen filter and vents in the front and second row are provided. Zafira also features a heat reflective windshield that contains a tinted metallic foil between two layers of laminated glass and reflects radiation back outside. Holden claims the screen increases solar energy reflection by 28 per cent over a conventional windshield; up to 58.5 per cent of solar energy is reflected.

The Car - Sound system

THE standard stereo system on Zafira is an electronic-tune Blaupunkt AM/FM stereo that includes a single-disc in-dash CD player and functions such as seek and preset station scan. The system allows up to 18 FM and 12 AM preset stations. Above the simple-to-use stereo head unit is a multi-function display that can show the radio band, preset station number, frequency and CD functions. Six speakers outputting a total of 80 watts are located throughout the cabin - one large speaker in each door and an additional tweeter positioned above the front doorhandles.

Did you know?
Zafira is sold as part of the Vauxhall range in the UK and the Opel range throughout Europe

The Car - Security

ZAFIRA'S primary form of protection against theft comes in the form of a rolling-code engine immobiliser, which is activated automatically whenever the key is removed from the ignition. The door and ignition lock cylinder also freewheel if anything other than the correct key is inserted, making unauthorised entry difficult. The remote keypad is controlled by radio frequency and operates the interior lighting, central locking, door deadlocks, tailgate and fuel filler flap. The driver can close the power windows by holding the key in lock position in the door. The sound system is security coded and an audible warning will sound if the key is left in the ignition and the driver's door opened. A retractable load cover is available as a dealer-fit accessory.

SPECIFICATIONS 1 (Zafira 2.2i):


* Three years/100,000km
* Major service intervals: 15,000km


* 2.198-litre DOHC 16-valve front-mounted transverse inline alloy four-cylinder
* Power: 108kW @ 5800rpm
* Torque: 203Nm @ 4000rpm
* Compression ratio: 10.0:1
* Bore x stroke: 86.0mm x 94.6mm


* Five-speed manual/four-speed auto


* Front: independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
* Rear: torsion beam, coil springs, anti-roll bar


* Electro-hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion
* Turning circle: 10.5 metres
* Turns lock to lock: 3.0


* Length: 4317mm
* Width: 1742mm
* Height: 1634mm
* Wheelbase: 2694mm
* Track front: 1470mm
* Track rear: 1487mm
* Kerb weight: 1460kg


* Seven seats
* Dual front airbags
* Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
* Traction control
* Air-conditioning
* Electric front windows
* Cruise control
* Remote central locking
* Multi-function display
* 80-watt Blaupunkt stereo with single-disc CD player
* Halogen headlights
* Heated exterior mirrors
* Driver's seat height adjustment
* Reach and height-adjustable steering column
* Cruise control

Pros: Seven-seat capacity, seating versatility, engine performance, vehicle dynamics

Cons: Sombre interior, use of a lap belt, premium entry price, safety equipment level

Our Opinion

By TERRY MARTIN 14/08/2001

FOR Australian families looking for an alternative to a small four-wheel drive, station wagon or medium-sized people mover, Holden's new Zafira should tempt like no other vehicle before it.

The reason is straightforward. No other manufacturer - not even Renault with its clever little Scenic - has found a combination quite like this one.

None have introduced all of the above with a seven-seater and without the need to remove either seats or head restraints.

Drop off some furniture at gran's, pick up the kids, return home - convenience is at the core of this Euro star.

And more than that, Zafira is a leader in its class when it comes to engine performance and road manners that stem from its Astra underpinnings and comprehensive engineering work undertaken for Aussie conditions.

Rather than make a pre-emptive strike with the Astra's 1.8-litre engine, Holden waited for a new-generation 2.2-litre unit - soon to appear in other Opel-sourced European cars - to surface.

The benefits soon become apparent. Despite being more than 140kg heavier than its chief rivals, Zafira has no problem moving its mass and a nuclear family around the suburbs and beyond.

Sure, engine performance will suffer when seven people are aboard. No prizes for guessing that one. But charged with shifting the more relevant mix of two parents, two or three kids and their cargo, the 2.2 impresses with its strong pulling power, its clean-revving and quiet nature and, a rarity among four-cylinders, the good pairing it makes with the smooth-shifting - though at times partial to gear-hunting - four-speed automatic transmission.

A return of 11.1 litres per 100km over our test loop also earned it praise.

In the handling stakes, the Zafira is the closest this type of vehicle has come to behaving like a passenger car.

It sacrifices some ride comfort to get there, and the high centre of gravity ensures it does not acquit itself as well as, say, the Astra. Yet the vehicle maintains excellent control during directional changes and delivers an unanticipated amount of grip.

An impetuous approach to cornering will soon reduce front-wheel adhesion - another given for this class - however, the effective (non-switchable) traction control system keeps a tight rein on excesses. Fitment of four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) helps, too.

The package does not come without its drawbacks. A whistle off the wing mirrors arrives at highway speeds, the front windscreen wipers should have a broader sweep and the (otherwise viceless) steering gives rise to kickback across rippled corners.

Most important of all, European NCAP crash testers have criticised the performance of Zafira's restraint systems and warned that the bodyshell could pose risks in a severe accident.

Despite the inclusion of dual front airbags, this makes the absence of side and curtain airbags, rear seatbelt pretensioners and three-point seatbelts for all occupants (the second row uses an inferior lap belt in the centre position) - all of which are found on the Scenic - all the more striking.

The driver is well catered for with a car-like seating position, steering wheel height and reach adjustment, seat height adjustment, cruise control and supportive, firm seats. On the flipside, front seat travel is limited and the small driver's footrest does not suit size-10 feet.

As is the case with most "Opel-Holdens", the cockpit is dark and sombre but the instrument cluster and dash fascia are uncluttered and functional. Placement and layout of stereo and temperature controls, for example, is first-rate.

The so-called Flex7 seating arrangement will doubtless be Zafira's biggest drawcard.

There is negligible cargo space when the two individual rear seats are upright, however, the conversion to six or five seats - and liberation of a useful amount of room - is a simple matter of sliding the middle row forward, pressing the release button on either rear seat and letting it fall neatly into the floor recess.

An excellent 540mm of travel is provided for the centre row bench seat, allowing plenty of either legroom or cargo space. Versatility is further aided by the inclusion of a skiport in the centre position, a 60/40 split-fold in the seatback and another easy vertical fold operation that allows the entire bench to slide up neatly against the front seats, leaving a flat floor and space akin to a commercial van.

There's not enough room for a trio of adults or baby seats across the centre bench, though placement of anchorage points on the seatback saves the latter from impinging on the slide function. Sash height adjustment on the window seats also improves the seatbelt fit for children.

Once there, rear-seat occupants will find enough room for the head, shoulders and feet, though legroom and ultimate comfort depends on where the centre row is positioned. With all rows in use, someone is sure to be cramped.

Storage solutions are plentiful but not nearly as clever as the Renault Scenic - there are no under-seat trays, under-floor bins, front seatback pockets or overhead options, while the twin-tray arrangement at the outer side of the front seats is useful for small items but unsuitable for a large street directory.

Luggage tie-down hooks and holes in the headlining for an optional cargo net are provided, as are head restraints for all positions. Yet centre occupants miss out on cup holders and electric windows.

All up, this is a package that commands attention and deserves to succeed. The one lingering concern is its secondary safety credentials - and when it comes to the crunch, this could be the deciding factor for potential buyers.

Other Opinions

"Yes, it seats seven but the sixth and seventh better be very young or very small"

"A clever car, well appointed and under-engined"

"The ride remains refined whether the car is one-up or carrying the family on holiday"

Mechanical - Plan views

ZAFIRA, like the Astra upon which it is based, employs the most popular modern-day drivetrain of a front-mounted transverse inline four-cylinder engine driving only the front wheels.

Mechanical - Engine

ZAFIRA is powered by a new-generation 2.2-litre ECOTEC DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine that develops 108kW of power at 5800rpm and 203Nm of torque at 4000rpm. In an effort to minimise fuel consumption, the all-alloy unit features optimally shaped combustion chambers, a compression ratio of 10:1, minimal friction losses in the cylinder head and an advanced engine management system. Official figures for the automatic version point to 10L/100km on the city cycle and 6.6L/100km on the highway. It uses standard unleaded fuel and complies with the tough Euro 4 emission standards not due in Europe until 2005.

Mechanical - Suspension

LIKE the Holden Astra upon which it is based, the Zafira chassis incorporates a refinement-enhancing hydroformed subframe, which is attached to the underbody by six damping bushings, as well as a MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear suspension configuration. Front and rear dampers were recalibrated to suit Australian conditions and Holden engineers increased the durability of key components such as rear shock absorbers. Together with the wide track and space-saving minibloc springs with separate shock absorbers, the torsion beam rear axle makes a big contribution to interior space saving.
Did you know?
The front subframe and control arms were sourced from Thailand, the rear axle was developed in conjunction with GM Brazil and front and rear dampers were tooled in both Thailand and Korea

Mechanical - Electronic system

COMPLEX electronics govern handling-related systems such as ABS, EBD and traction control for Zafira. Electronics also help improve reliability, emissions levels and driveability with their role in the vehicle's Electronic Throttle Control (or drive-by-wire throttle). ETC is operated by an electrical signal transferred from the accelerator, via the engine's electronic control unit, to the air inlet throttle mechanism. The system is designed to enhance driveability by allowing more precise control of throttle movements,

lower exhaust emissions and give reliability gains through the minimisation of mechanical wear.

Mechanical - Transmission

A FIVE-SPEED manual and optional four-speed automatic transmission is available on Zafira. The manual has a shift mechanism that is decoupled from the drivetrain and aims to provide a more precise shift action and reduce noise and vibration. It also features a lightweight, maintenance-free, hydraulically operated clutch system with integrated vibration dampers. The automatic transmission's torque converter has been redesigned for the Australian market to give it a slightly higher stall speed. This is designed to make better use of the available engine torque and improve launch characteristics. The auto has three driving modes: Economy, Sport and Winter.

Mechanical - Brakes

ZAFIRA is fitted with a power-assisted braking system which employs ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear. It is also equipped with special brake linings designed to ensure high stability under extreme loads. The vehicle has electronically controlled Bosch 5.3 four-channel anti-lock brakes fitted standard, a system that is claimed to be quieter than conventional systems due to a rapid control cycle. The ABS system includes integrated brake-force distribution between the axles and (non-switchable) traction control with brake and engine intervention.

Did you know?
Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) uses the ABS wheel sensors to monitor the front to rear balance of braking effort and enables the braking system to provide maximum retardation at both ends

Mechanical - Steering

ZAFIRA uses an electro-hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system. The unit weighs approximately 1.5kg less than conventional hydraulic systems and is claimed to reduce fuel consumption by about 2-5 per cent through operation on an as-needed basis. An electronic motor driving the servo gear pump rotates at a speed of 2300rpm when Zafira is driving in a straight line; when the wheel turns, electronic controls register the increased steering resistance and switch the electric motor to its working speed of 3300rpm to supply the required hydraulic pressure and flow. The turning circle is 10.5 metres and the three-spoke steering wheel contains magnesium that reduces weight by about 500g compared with a conventional design.


ZAFIRA features a good level of active and passive safety features, including dual front airbags, all-wheel disc brakes with ABS brakes and electronic brake-force distribution, traction control and an auto-reverse function on the power windows. Anti-submarining ramps are provided in the first and second rows, head restraints are used throughout and lap-sash seatbelts found on all outboard positions. (Holden is planning to convert the second row lap belt into a three-pointer.)

Seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters are used on the front seats only. European NCAP crash test results give the vehicle a three-star (out of five) rating, with testers criticising the performance of the restraint systems and warning that the body shell could pose risks in a severe accident. By comparison, the Mazda Premacy also received three stars and the Renault Scenic four stars.

SOURCE 4: Summarised from AUTO INTERNATIONAL (Malaysia) Magazine - Buyer's guide 2002 (COMING SOON)

That's all folks. Thanks for having the time and patience to read it...

1 comment:

  1. your blog was too good and informative . it deliver that message whar i searches .Thanks for sharing such a profitable and knowlwdgeble message for us .

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