Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Vauxhall Zafira MPV?
The very nature of being an affordable people carrier means that a lot of Vauxhall Zafiras will have led tough lives as family transport or mini cabs, so you’ll need your wits about you. In addition to the usual checks for repaired crash damage, unusual engine noises, worn clutches and smoky exhausts, ensure all of the seats slide and fold as they should. You should also open and close the boot a few times, as the tailgate mechanism is a weak point.
Check that the car’s mileage is reflected in the condition of the interior, and while it is unrealistic to expect the cheapest Zafiras to come with a full service history, there should still be paperwork for recent maintenance.
The 1.7-litre CDTi diesel is a newer and more reliable unit, but can still suffer from a blocked diesel particulate filter if not regularly taken on longer runs.
Early petrol models suffered from clutch judder, but this should have been rectified by now, meaning that cars fitted with a manual gearbox are generally the safest bets. Known problems with automatic Zafiras include a failed heat exchanger causing coolant to leak into the system, or a wrongly specified overflow pipe preventing the gearbox from getting sufficient oil. In either instance, you’re looking at a bill that will quite likely make the car uneconomical to repair.
Xenon headlights have also been known to fail and cost more than £1,000 to fix, so look for a car without these fitted, and be sure to check the electrics in general, as interior lights and radios have been known to be troublesome.