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What Car? says

5 out of 5 stars

For Clever foldaway rear seats; ride and handling; value

Against Base models poorly equipped; not enough storage in cabin

Verdict A seven-seat MPV that’s outstanding value.

Go for… 1.6 Club AC

Avoid… 2.0-litre turbo VXR

Vauxhall Zafira MPV
  • 1. Check that the spare wheel has not been stolen from underneath the car
  • 2. Have the suspension checked on high-mileage cars
  • 3. This model's clever cabin has more room than its predecessor's
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Vauxhall Zafira MPV full review with expert trade views

It might not be the most dynamic of cars, or boast a revolutionary approach, but the humble Zafira is our favourite used MPV for one simple reason – value.

The Zafira has seven usable seats at a bargain price, and with thousands of examples on the used market, there’s no shortage of cars to choose from. The two third-row seats – which can accommodate adults – fold down flat into the boot floor when they're not needed, while the middle-row seats can be folded and pushed up against the front seats. The only drawback is the shortage of storage space in the cabin.

Up front, the driving position and visibility are good and the dashboard is clear and easy to use. The Zafira gained a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating, although lower-specified models don't get curtain airbags as standard.

There’s limited body roll and strong traction when cornering, while the steering has an accurate and direct feel. The firm ride can prove jiggly, but is generally comfortable.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

It’s worth looking for the post-2009, 113bhp 1.6-litre petrol

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The 1.6-litre petrol is our favourite, and will suit most people, but can feel underpowered. A more spritely 113bhp version was introduced mid-2009. There’s also a 1.8-litre petrol model, but it's not a substantial improvement over the 1.6-litre. If you want something with more pep there’s the 147bhp 2.2-litre petrol and the 237bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre VXR.

If you plan to use all seven seats on a regular basis, or cover a higher-than-average mileage, a diesel will make most sense. The 1.9-litre, with either 119bhp or 147bhp, is strong and frugal, but for the lowest fuel bills look for the 1.7 CDTi Ecoflex introduced in early 2009.

All Zafiras come with air-con, remote central locking and electric front windows, but we’d skip the under-equipped Expression, Life and Exclusiv editions. Instead, look for the Club AC (built until 2008), with alloy wheels and curtain airbags, or the higher-spec Design (post-'08), which adds rear electric windows and automatic wipers. The top-spec Elite comes with leather upholstery and cruise control, while SRi and VXR models get uprated suspension and sporty styling touches.

The Zafira hasn’t changed substantially since its introduction, but there was a subtle face-lift in 2008, including a revised front grille, updated rear light clusters and additional chrome trim.

Trade view

The 1.6-litre petrol Zafira is outstanding value on the used market. Start your search there

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Unless you’re considering one of the larger-capacity petrol versions, running costs shouldn't be a concern. The low price of the 1.6-litre petrols mean you’ll need to cover more than 12,000 miles a year before you offset the additional cost of buying a diesel. The original 1.6-litre averages 38.6mpg and emits 175g/km of CO2, however newer version from 2009 are noticeably better at 42.2mpg and 159g/km. The 1.8-litre comes in at 36.2mpg with emissions of 187g/km of CO2.

The 1.7-litre is the most efficient diesel at 53.3mpg and 139g/km of CO2, but the 1.9-litre is still respectable and its economy was improved in early 2009 to 47.1mpg, with emissions reduced to 159g/km.

Servicing costs are cheaper than those of rivals such as the Toyota Verso and the Volkswagen Touran.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

It’s worth looking for the post-2009, 113bhp 1.6-litre petrol

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The Zafira has a good record for reliability, but there are a number of consistent faults that owners report.

The tailgate mechanism can fail, causing it to stick shut. This usually happens in cold weather, but it’s broken rather than frozen. The air-con system can stop working, or fail to clear condensation from the windscreen, and the stereo has been known to forget pre-set stations or stop working altogether.

Diesels Zafiras can prove particularly problematic; with timing belt, water pump and turbo failures. Like many modern cars, the particulate filter can clog if the car is used solely for short trips. Numerous electrical issues can also arise, with everything from the interior lights and horn through to the engine management system affected.

Trade view

The 1.6-litre petrol Zafira is outstanding value on the used market. Start your search there

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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