reset
Viewed : 2,637 times

12 Sep 2022

What We Dislike
Interior aesthetics could look nicer
Steering is relatively weighty
Needs more range

The Zafira-e Life is an all-electric seven-seater MPV that's big on space and comfort, but it could definitely do with improved range.


Though the EV population in Singapore is continuing to grow, the majority of models aimed at private buyers are either SUVs or sedans. For a long time, those looking for an electric seven-seater only had the BYD M3e to consider.

There's a second, much larger option in town, though. It's called the Opel Zafira-e Life, and roominess aside, it offers a generous amount of refinement as well.

That's one of the best and most surprising characteristics of this fully electric seven-seater MPV, which actually has the same underpinnings as the Vivaro-e commercial van.

Commercial vans and family movers have very different purposes, and the former is usually a lot less comfortable than the latter. But Opel has done a proper job here, for the Zafira-e excels at ferrying people.

Hip to be square

LED head lights would have boosted safety and visibility, as well as overall appeal
The Zafira-e's silhouette is that of a big box on wheels, but as we shall soon see, being boxy can result in a very spacious interior.

Not surprisingly, this MPV's dimensions are sizeable indeed. It measures 4,959mm long and 1,920mm tall, so it easily fits in carparks with a height clearance of two metres.

What helps boost the interior space is the vehicle's 3,275mm wheelbase. That's even longer than the 3,216mm-long wheelbase of the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

It only looks compact from afar - this electric seven-seater has a wheelbase that's even longer than that of an S-Class limousine
In terms of styling, the Zafira-e isn't a bad-looking MPV either. The front end has a somewhat sleek grille, and the head lights and taillights haven't been enlarged in a bid to make them 'proportional' to the rest of the vehicle.

Being an electric vehicle, the Zafira-e should have been equipped with more efficient LED headlamps instead of halogen ones.

That said, the 17-inch wheels don't look half bad. And rather than being shod with rubber meant for commercial vans, the MPV is also equipped with Michelin Primacy 4 touring/comfort tyres as standard.

Getting situated

Neatness and functionality, as opposed to nifty aesthetics, are the name of the game here
The Zafira-e has an elevated driving position, but getting behind its wheel is easy if you use the extra step by the door sill.

Once seated, you'll notice that while the cockpit isn't the fanciest, it does have a straightforward and functional layout.

The analogue gauges can be read at a glance and menu navigation is intuitive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included with the infotainment system, which is where you'll find the settings for the safety features.

My only bugbear is that the cruise controls are on a stalk that's 'hidden' behind the steering wheel. If it's your first time using it, there will be some trial-and-error.

Meanwhile, the gearshift lever has been replaced by what Opel calls the 'E-toggle'. It's a tab-like device that replaces the gearshift lever, making for a neater dashboard.

Apart from getting a massage, occupants who tend to feel cold easily can also warm their bums
There are a few more pleasant surprises as well. For instance, both front seats are electrically adjustable, and occupants have a choice between three massage settings.

The flat front floor and wide space between the seats mean there's space to put your backpack or satchel, assuming the ginormous door bins haven't swallowed them first.

If you're a woman who needs space for her handbag, placing a container with a soft lining between the front seats would create a decent storage point. There's certainly room enough for this.

The square room

Captains of industry will enjoy the second row, which also has a three-pin power outlet for powering laptops on the go
Speaking of room, there's more than enough space in the back for five occupants to lounge around in.

Passengers in the captain's chairs will feel the cushiest here. Apart from not having to share their space with anyone, they can utilise the aircraft-style tray tables behind the front seats, and have access to the folding table stored in the compartment between the chairs.

To make the cabin feel airier, there's a full-length sunroof, which is bisected by a row of additional air vents, along with an extra set of air-con controls. Said vents even extend to above the third-row seats.

Impressively, the last-row has more than enough space for three adults, and the backrests are relatively tall, too. If more legroom is needed, occupants in the captain's chairs can move their seats forward.

The Zafira-e is a proper MPV - it's so cavernous that unless you're transporting a team of NBA players, nobody can complain about feeling squashed.

Zipping around

Compact electric motor is installed lower to improve the MPV's centre of gravity
Powering the Zafira-e is an electric motor that produces 134bhp and 260Nm. That doesn't sound much for a large van, but because the figures are available instantaneously, the MPV doesn't struggle.

Select 'Power' mode using the rocker switch and the drivetrain is at its most responsive, getting the Zafira-e up to speed seamlessly.

Despite weighing 2.1 tonnes, the MPV can finish the century sprint in 9.2 seconds, which is quicker than most other family movers. Stopping isn't as hard as you think either, as the regenerative braking helps shed speed.

The Zafira-e is quiet, never sounds strained, and has a relatively pliant ride as well - characteristics that everyone expects from a family ferry.

What this electric MPV needs most, though, is a larger battery for better range. The 50kWh lithium-ion pack is good for 238km, which for the average user who covers 50km a day, means a recharge every three days.

The roomy and flexible Zafira-e Life can acquaint itself to both personal and professional use
Using a 50kW DC charger, the Zafira-e's batteries can be charged from zero to 80% in 30 minutes. With an AC connection, it'll take 4.5 hours with the car's 11kW onboard charger.

With its cavernous interior, well-sorted and quiet ride, and seamless performance, the Zafira-e is clearly aimed at an eco-conscious buyer, who, together with his or her family, are seeking an electric seven-seater MPV.

It would also be ideal as corporate transport, perhaps for firms seeking a 'green' mobile boardroom to burnish their credentials as a sustainable enterprise.

Whatever its intended use and whoever its buyer may be, he or she will definitely be getting plenty of MPV for their money.


Looking for an electric MPV? These reviews may interest you

The BYD e6 impresses with its comfort and long range

The BYD M3e is the most affordable electric MPV in Singapore today

The Nissan Serena e-POWER is spacious, practical and reasonably fast, too
Car Information
spacer
Opel Zafira-e Life Electric 50 kWh (A)
Rate it
Promotion
There's a promotion for Opel Zafira-e Life Electric

Price

: $217,500

Engine Type

:

Permanent magnet AC synchronous motor

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

100kW (134 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

260 Nm / 3674 rpm

Transmission

:

1-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

9.2sec

Top Speed

:

150km/h

Energy consumption

:

4.3km/kWh

You may also like

1-10 of 20