It appears Opel is working on its next iteration of the Zafira. The three-row MPV has been on the market since 2011 in its current configuration, and has grown long in the tooth. While a completely new generation would be welcomed, Opel seems to be only working up a refresh, as seen by these spy shots.

The Zafira’s history dates back to 1997 when Opel debuted the seven-seater at the Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany. The Zafira went on sale in 1999 and helped the General Motors’ sub-brand better compete in Europe and other parts of the world. The first generation lasted through 2004 when a completely reworked Zafira debuted for the 2005 model year.

Ironically, when Opel replaced the second-gen Zafira, it didn’t stop its production. Rather, the automaker continued to build both generations side by side, marketing the second-gen Zafira (with a slight refresh) as the Zafira Family. It was slotted as a smaller, less expensive alternative to the third-generation Zafira. The Zafira Family ended production in 2014, leaving the third-gen Zafira to soldier on.

As the refreshed Zafira gets closer to its official debut – likely for the 2017 model year – we should seem more engineering mules and spy shots like these. If you want to know the latest about the upcoming Zafira, continue reading for our full run-down of the spy shots.

Updated 02/03/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Opel Zafira out for a new testing session, this time during cold winter conditions in Sweden.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Opel Zafira.

Spy Shots

February 3, 2016 - Opel Zafira testing in the snow

2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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January 28, 2016 - First testing session

2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

First, the headlights look to be revised, losing that boomerang design that incorporated the turn signals and fog lights.

The 2017 Opel Zafira is getting a new face – or at least that’s the most major part covered by camouflage. It’s hard to tell exactly what changes are taking place, but a few details are recognizable. First, the headlights look to be revised, losing that boomerang design that incorporated the turn signals and fog lights. In a laughable move, it seems the engineers doing the camo coverings though it would be fun to include fake boomerangs. Well, at least if they’re real, they look fake here.

The grille and lower air dam also get revisions. Horizontal bars replace the honey-comb-type inserts from before. There’s also a center “podium” that the Opel emblem rests on, which might be hiding a automatic cruise control function.

In back, the Zafira’s taillights and tailgate don’t appear to have many changes, though Opel could be using last-generation parts for now. The rear quarter panel and bumper do have camo coverings, suggesting changes are afoot. Overall though, the Zafira appears to be retaining its current design with its tall greenhouse, large rear doors, and relatively compact dimensions.

Interior

These spy photos offer no views of the interior, sadly, though we suspect Opel will revamp the dash with more modern equipment, technology, and designs. The seven-passenger functionality of the Zafira is expected to remain intact, offering seating for three across in the second row and two across in the third row. The current model offers a second-row center console for Zafira drivers who have more adult passengers. In that case, seating is reduced to six.

Drivetrain

2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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No solid information is known about Opel’s powertrain plans, though we can expect a few updates with the engine and transmission lineups. In the current model, the Zafira offers three gasoline engines, a LPG- and a CNG-burning option, and two diesel options, with the larger of the two coming in five configurations. All 11 options are four-cylinder mills transversely mounted in the engine bay.

That’s certainly a lot of options, especially when considering the engineering that goes behind each one. For that reason, we expect the large majority of these engines to carry over, however, some changes may be made to enhance fuel economy or power outputs.

Expect the six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission to return as well.

Prices

The current Opel Zafira start at €31,595.00, or roughly $34,414 at current exchange rates. We suspect Opel will stick close to that price point with the refreshed model, though a slight jump in price is likely. We’ll know more about pricing closer to the 2017 Zafira’s on-sale date.

Competition

Ford S-Max

2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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The Ford S-Max has been a solid competitor in the MPV segment since its introduction in 2006. The tall greenhouse and longish wheelbase help it fit seven passengers comfortably. With rear passengers out, the S-Max can hold quite a bit of cargo thanks to fold-flat second- and third-row seats. Like the Opel, the Ford offers a rather large array of engine options that include two gasoline engines and a diesel engine with four power output levels. A six-speed manual and six-speed automatic are offered, with FWD coming standard and AWD offered optionally.

Prices for the S-Max start at £24,795, or roughly $35,296 at current exchange rates.

Mazda 5

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The Mazda 5 MPV got its start towards the last millennium’s end, starting production in 1999. It’s been on-sale around the world ever since. Undergoing three generation changes, the MPV has always offered plenty of room for passengers and cargo. The current generation makes no qualms about being a compact minivan, skipping the swing-out door for traditional sliding rear doors. Unlike the Opel or Ford, the Mazda is offered in the U.S., though it’s being discontinued after the 2015 model year.

Prices for the 5 start at $22,060.

Read our full review on the Mazda 5 here.

Conclusion

2017 Opel Zafira Exterior Spyshots
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Opel’s updated Zafira is coming just as the current model is getting stale. From what we can tell, the updates aren’t going to be huge, but they should be enough to keep the Zafira relevant in the MPV category. Folks in Europe, Asia, and South Africa should be seeing the 2017 in dealerships towards the end of 2016. Opel will likely debut the Zafira in the coming months, perhaps at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Once that happens, we’ll have all the details right here.

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    • No news on interior updates
    • Will these changes be enough?
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