Used Vauxhall Zafira MPV 1999 - 2005 review

Category: MPV

Reliable and flexible family transport

Vauxhall Zafira MPV (99 - 05)
  • Vauxhall Zafira MPV (99 - 05)
  • Vauxhall Zafira MPV (99 - 05)
Used Vauxhall Zafira MPV 1999 - 2005 review
Star rating

What's the used Vauxhall Zafira MPV like?

Before the Zafira came along, the MPV market wasn't exactly full of bright sparks. Vauxhall's Flex-7 seating really changed things. Each of the rear pair of seats quickly folds away into the floor, while the bench in the middle reclines, slides and tumbles.

The whole system is easy to use, and now much copied by the likes of the latest Toyota Verso. It makes the Zafira's cabin more flexible than rivals of the day such as the Renault Scenic or Citroen Xsara Picasso.


Reliable and flexible family transport

  • Clever seating for seven in a relatively small package, and good to drive
  • It needs more safety kit, and the cabin is short of cubbyholes

We wouldn't recommend sticking a pair of adults in the rear seats for a long journey, however - and if you're expecting to carry seven people and all of their luggage for a week's holiday, you'll also be sorely disappointed.

Still, it's comfortable on the motorways and if you head for those hills and country back roads you'll find it surprisingly good fun to drive as well.

Ownership cost

What used Vauxhall Zafira MPV will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Vauxhall Zafira MPV?

The biggest problem with Zafiras is the need for cambelt changes every 40,000 miles. Each one comes in at around a few hundred quid.

Apart from that, your bank manager would be relatively pleased if he saw a Zafira on your driveway - apart from the GSi Turbos, perhaps, which are in a serious hurry to get to the next petrol station. Except for the turbo model, fuel economy is good across the range, with our favourite 1.8 petrol returning nearly 33mpg.

If you opt for an engine above the 1.8 mark you'll notice a fair jump up in insurance groups, so work out your budget to make sure you won't be left short.

From 2001 on, service intervals were doubled to 20,000 miles, so a car from that year onwards could help keep your costs down.

Mind you, Vauxhall's Network Q web of approved used garages do good work at reasonable rates, so there's not too much to worry about. However, repair bills can be high if you're unlucky and something does go wrong.

Our recommendations

Which used Vauxhall Zafira MPV should I buy?

The range started out small in 1999, but by 2005 there was a wide range of models available, including a fast 200bhp GSi version.

Thankfully, our favourite engine, the 1.8 petrol, was available from the beginning, so there should be plenty around. Versions from 2000 and later were 10bhp more powerful, but both have a good balance of economy and performance.

Most other engines are fine, but avoid the cheapest diesel or entry-level 1.6 petrol - they're very slow.

Whichever model you pick, it will have a decent amount of equipment, but we'd suggest looking for Elegance models. They'll only be a little more expensive than entry-level cars, but have a CD player, better seat fabric and alloy wheels to the Comfort's air-con, electric windows and remote locking.

Vauxhall's Network Q garages have the best stock, but you could save plenty at a car supermarket.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Vauxhall Zafira MPV?