2001 Vauxhall Zafira Comfort 2.0 DTi diesel from UK and Ireland


A well packaged, good value, economical mini-MPV


Some bits of trim come loose.

The retaining straps on the doors need regular re-tightening.

Mechanical reliability has been 100%.

General Comments:

A good, probably the best, mini MPV.

It genuinely seats 7, and the flexible seating arrangement is brilliant: rear seats fold flat into floor of boot, middle row slides backwards & forwards.

However the middle and rear seats are not big enough to carry five adults or large teenagers all at the same time: it is really a 5 + 2, or possibly 4 + 3 since the centre seat in the middle row is quite cramped. Also the boot space is minimal when both rear seats are in use. But this is fair enough for a mini MPV.

Engine (2 litre turbocharged, direct injection diesel, 100 bhp) pulls well, although it's not a sports car. It is reasonably quiet once it has warmed up, in fact it's easy to let the speed creep up to the eighties if you don't watch the speedometer as so little engine noise is audible at speed.

Fuel economy ranges from 41 mpg for short journeys, to 46+ mpg for longer ones.

Tyre wear is acceptable, probably 20,000 miles is the best you'll get out of the front ones. A new tyre is £80.

Servicing costs are reasonable (interval is 1 year or 20,000 miles).

Build quality is so-so: invest in a Torex screwdriver - you'll need it to screw various bits back on from time to time: especially the front door retaining straps. Also buy a tube of glue for fixing back the moving parts inside, especially the seat trims.

Bodywork panels are very thin, and even minor knocks will cause dents. But fair enough: if you want light weight and good fuel economy you don't expect a main battle tank.

Handling is good: the steering is taught and well weighted, it corners well, and the brakes (ABS is standard) are excellent. It is easy to drive and park.

Ground clearance under the engine on the diesel is poor: if you go up a bumpy drive you can bottom it. The plastic tray under the engine offers no effective protection.

Take care when checking the oil level: it is very sensitive to not being level and not having time for the oil to drain down to the sump.

The built in tape/radio is good quality, but you need a degree in electrical engineering with German, and a lot of patience, to understand the user manual. The remote controls on the steering wheel are a good feature.

Interior storage space is good: there are cubby holes, pockets and trays everywhere.

The cabin is austere, but not gloomy.

I hope I don't offend anyone by saying this, but it is definitely a "woman's car": it is a bit too cramped, the controls are too light, the driving position is wrong and the general feel is too lightweight for (this) male. However this is a judgement not a criticism: my wife loves it, and I think Opel (Vauxhall) have aimed the car deliberately, sensibly and very successfully at mothers with children.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd May, 2003

2001 Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 Comfort 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


I would be happy with the car, if it were not for the noisy braking


At about 16000 miles a whistling noise when braking.

The gear change has always felt rough.

General Comments:

I have had the rear brake shoes replaced. This eradicated the problem, but the noise returned again about two months later. The dealer had told me that he had heard of it coming back, so others have had this trouble.

The gearbox feels the roughest of any car I have driven since 1968.

I am happy, with just about every other aspect of the car, as the accommodation for a family of six is very good. We can keep one of the rear seats flattened into the floor, to give us a boot space.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th April, 2003