Next-generation Zafira will come with a whole new Insignia-inspired design. On the inside, independent seats in a three-row arrangement offer more comfort in what will be a roomier cabin too.

Here's a very early look at the 2012 Opel Zafira where we can already see the continuity in Opel's new design paradigm, recently established by the award-winning Insignia. The new design cues are all there and, style-wise and otherwise, Opel certainly has come a long way.

It's too bad the German brand is being dragged down the industrial gutter by its parent company GM, right when it has finally emerged, after some really bad years of poor quality vehicles in the 1990s, as a very competitive volume brand that makes cars that people can actually enjoy. The new Zafira, still a long way off in an uncertain future for the brand, looks like more of that re-invention on the part of Opel.

The segment that the Zafira competes in was formed in 1998 with the introduction of the Renault Megane Scenic, since renamed simply the Scenic. The Opel Zafira followed a year later as did a slew of other imitators. Nowadays, many of those models have come into their own or sparked new inventions, such as the Ford S-Max, and this new Zafira may be Opel's chance to re-make its offering in this segment more of a leader than a follower.

Similar to the recently released Opel Ampera and spied Insignia OPC, clearly the design cues which go back to the 2007 Flexstream concept carry through with wing-like headlamps and front grill, as well as the pronounced side body design lines. On the inside, Opel has redesigned the seating into all-independent seats in a three-row arrangement for 7. The last two rows can be folded flat for a very roomy cargo space too.

Details on drivetrains are still forthcoming and, hopefully, Opel will find the investors it needs to keep its vehicle development on schedule, assuring that this next-generation Zafira will make its debut sometime in late 2011.

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