03/06/2005 00:00 | By By Kyle Fortune

Top 7 used 7-seaters under £13,000



Need the seven seats of the new Vauxhall Zafira but can’t stretch more than its entry-level price? Then check out our seven second hand alternatives starting from as little as £500 and rising to the entry-level point of £12,995 for the new Zafira 1.6 Expression. . Please note that links with each car to available used-cars are those local to central London – For your area, click on the links, then enter your postcode at the top of screen and click ‘Find It now’

Vauxhall Zafira £3,000-£13,000

Vauxhall Zafira £3,000-£13,000

Vauxhall Zafira £3,000-£13,000

The new one might arrive in July but that doesn’t mean the ‘old’ car doesn’t still represent a great buy. Taking the £13,000 that gets you an entry-level version of the new model and spending it on a used example might prove to be a very canny buy. That budget will get you into a three-year-old range topping, turbocharged 189bhp GSi model that cost over £20,000 new. It’s not only fast but hugely well specified, too. If the pacy GSi is a bit too extreme then there’s countless other Zafiras to choose from out there, at prices from around £3,000 to our self-imposed £13,000 limit.

Look around the £8-9K range and you’ll find hundreds of 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol models to choose from, but hunt a bit harder and you’ll also find desirable 2.0-litre DTI examples. With so many around you can afford to be specific, so look for the higher trim grades like Elegance, over the poorer specification Club and Life models.

Click here to list available used Zafiras, from £3,000
Click here for our Zafira roadtest

Renault Grand Scenic £10,000-£13,000

Renault Grand Scenic £10,000-£13,000

Renault Grand Scenic £10,000-£13,000

Renault pioneered the compact MPV market with its Scenic, but the success of Vauxhall’s Zafira meant that when the current model was launched they had to add a ‘Grand’ model to the range. It boosts the seating capacity of the Scenic to seven, though the additional length does rather upset the standard Scenic’s appealing lines. And that’s undoubtedly where the Scenic scores over its competition, its looks. The edgy design inside and out make it a stylish choice, but it’s only average to drive. Best choices are the impressive diesels, and don’t be put off by the 1.5-litre dCi’s small size – it’s a very capable performer.

Renault’s emphasis on safety means it’s fully loaded with safety kit, and like the new Zafira scores five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests. Not as sharp to drive as the new Zafira, but look around and you’ll find some bargains out there, and even new cars with substantial discounts.

Click here to list available used Grand Scenics, from £11,000

Volkswagen Touran £10,000-£13,000

Volkswagen Touran £10,000-£13,000

Volkswagen Touran £10,000-£13,000

Like the Renault Grand Scenic the Touran hasn’t been around that long, but that doesn’t mean they’re not available for sensible money used. Prices start at around £10,000, for one of the entry-level 1.6-litre petrol models, but a bit more will buy a decent, low mileage 1.9 TDI turbodiesel. Most of these will be for sale via approved used sales schemes at Volkswagen dealers. Unlike the Renault, the Volkswagen is a conservative looker, though it does feel like a higher quality product compared to its French rival. Not all come with seven seats, the additional pews in the rear originally a cost option. As they’re now offered for free on new cars bargain hard and don’t pay much more for a used seven seater example.

Space is plentiful inside, but the rearmost seats are best left to agile children, while folding them isn’t as easy as in either the old or new Zafira. Based on the current Golf’s underpinnings it’s an enjoyable drive, so it’s a shame then that the styling isn’t a bit more exciting to reflect this.

Click shere to list available used Tourans, from £11,000
Click here for our Touran roadtest

Fiat Multipla £3,500-£13,000

Fiat Multipla £3,500-£13,000

Fiat Multipla £3,500-£13,000

Okay, it’s not a seven seater, but it comes pretty close with six. What’s significant here though is you can occupy all those seats and still take along your luggage too. That’s because the Multipla’s seating is arranged in two rows of three, which leaves plenty space for a large boot. The wide stance necessary for the seating makes for surefooted handling, the Multipla a surprisingly engaging drive. The dash-mounted gearshift and pod like instruments add some appeal to the interior, but whether you warm to the oddball exterior looks is a different matter. We like them, but if you’re unconvinced the latest cars at the top of our budget offer toned down, second generation styling.

Neither the petrol or diesel engines are fireballs, meaning it’ll need worked hard when fully loaded, but it’s such an enjoyable drive and brimming with such character that it’s difficult not to like this quirky Fiat. Even if, in this company it’s missing a seat.

Click here to list available used Multiplas, from £3,500
Click here for our Multipla roadtest

Mercedes M-Class £9,000-£13,000

Mercedes M-Class £9,000-£13,000

Mercedes M-Class £9,000-£13,000

Not an obvious rival but for the price of an entry-level Zafira you could have one of these Mercedes 4x4s on your drive. Prices start at around £9,000 for well-used early cars, but at around our £13,000 ceiling there are plenty of five-year-old cars to choose from. All will have done in excess of 50,000 miles, but the engines and transmissions are sturdy. Most in this price range are the 3.2-litre V6 which will return around 22mpg if you drive it sedately, but there are a few 2.7-litre CDI turbodiesels out there if you’re after more palatable 30mpg ability. The diesel is manual only, the petrol engines mated to a smooth five-speed automatic transmission.

The four-wheel-drive system won’t be much use for anything other than light off-roading, but as our motive here is people shifting then it’s not such an issue. The individual seats fitted in the boot to make it a seven seater were optional, so look out for cars described as including a ‘family pack’. Look out for leather interiors too, most should have them. If they don’t, then bargain hard.

Click here to list available used M-classes, from £9,000

Renault Espace £600-£13,000

Renault Espace £600-£13,000

Renault Espace £600-£13,000

The granddaddy of MPVs, by virtue of being the first MPV in Europe, you can buy an Espace from as little as £600. It’ll be a 15-year-old basketcase, but add about £1,500 and you’ll get useable family transport for very little money. All of these French family movers have a bit of cachet over their mainstream rivals, even so they’re not likely to be as reliable as similarly priced Japanese competition. However, those Japanese models simply don’t have the class or style of the Espace – inside or out. Early models engines are predominantly 2.0-litre petrol units, but there are 2.1 and 2.2-litre turbodiesels out there, as well as the flagship 3.0-litre V6 models should you want your Espace with a bit more punch.

All seat seven, but if you’re wanting to carry luggage too then look out for the Grand Espace, which increases bootspace. Look at the top of our price limit and the current model is just available fitted with the excellent 1.9 dCi engine. That’s a full-sized seven seat MPV, with the same five-star Euro NCAP protection as the new Zafira, for the price of an entry-level model.

Click here to list available used Espaces, from £700
Click here for our Espace roadtest

Ford Galaxy/VW Sharan/Seat Alhambra £2,500-£13,000

Seat Alhambra £2,500-£13,000

Seat Alhambra £2,500-£13,000

Like the Espace this trio represent full-sized MPV alternatives to the more compact Zafira. They might not share badges, but under their individual grilles they’re all the same vehicle built off the same production line. The Galaxy for many years has been the default full-sized seven-seater choice for many families, the Volkswagen and Seat not being quite so prolific with their sales. The VW badge on the Sharan usually commands a small premium over its relatives here, but for maximum used value here the Seat is the best choice. Without the brand familiarity of the Galaxy and Sharan the big Seat offered a very generous specification when new, and is slightly cheaper as a used buy.

All drive surprisingly well for an MPV, and search out the 1.9-litre turbodiesels, in anything from 90-130bhp guises. You’ll find an excellent, low mileage 2-3 year old Seat Alhambra for around £13,000, though you’ll pay as little as £2,500 for one of these three MPVs if you’re prepared to put up with huge mileage and a much older model.

Click here to list available used Galaxies, from £2,000
Click here to list available used Sharans, from £2,000
Click here to list available used Alhambras, from £2,000
Click here for our Galaxy roadtest

Verdict

You might not need them all very often but seven seats have never been more affordable. Think beyond the conventional boundaries, like the Mercedes M-Class here and you’re family transport needn’t necessarily be an MPV. There are plenty of old Volvo and Mercedes estates out there with seven seats, for not much money. However, if it were us choosing then we’d probably opt for a used Zafira. The new car may better it in many ways, but for its entry-level price you can have a nearly new, fully loaded example.If ultimate capacity was our motive then the Ford/VW/Seat choices would appeal, and if we wanted to carry six regularly with luggage then the Fiat Multipla would be a real contender. Ultimately though the Zafira proves a tough car to beat, both new and used.

Click here for our review of the new Vauxhall Zafira

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