£5000 family cars to replace a Vauxhall Zafira

£5000 family cars

From the side it appears a bit van-like but the Roomster is surprisingly spacious (Picture © Skoda)

Drivers looking for £5000 family cars after having their confidence knocked in the Vauxhall Zafira still have plenty of choice. The seven-seat Zafira has been the subject of high-profile social media campaigns and an investigation by BBC Watchdog . More than 130 were reported to have suffered serious overheating problems that led to in excess of 20 fires being investigated by Vauxhall.

The car maker is offering concerned drivers a free safety check. But for many, that won’t be enough. For all those who were thinking of buying a Zafira, and for existing owners who have lost their faith in the practical Vauxhall, we’re looking at three rival £5000 family cars.

£5000 family cars: Skoda Roomster is a little-known bargain

Ask someone what a Skoda Roomster is and they probably won’t know. It sounds more like a caravan than a car and the good news is you could (just about) live in it. As the Roomster flies beneath most people’s radar it’s a serious bargain. We found a dealer selling a 2010 Roomster S 1.2 TSI petrol with just 40,500 miles for £4995. It comes with a one-year used car warranty, too. Browse cars for sale here.

£5000 family cars: Skoda Roomster is seriously spacious

It’s what hides beneath the Roomster’s slightly van-like profile that counts for families. There’s space by the warehouse load. Five adults can sit in comfort and three children on the back seat will feel positively spoilt for space. All three back seats are removable which is ideal for a spot of DIY action at the weekend. With the rear row of seats set forward, the boot offers a generous 530-litres of luggage capacity, too.

£5000 family cars: Skoda Roomster is cheap to run

There’s a wide selection of frugal petrol and diesel models available. The 1.2-litre petrol model we spotted could return 49mpg. And with CO2 emissions of 134g/km it costs £130 a year to tax.

Buying advice: Eight essential checks to make when buying a used car

£5000 family cars

The Ford Focus C-Max is the driver’s choice among small MPVs (Picture © Ford)

£5000 family cars: Ford Focus C-Max is cracking to drive

Until they’ve driven a Ford, drivers can’t appreciate just how much better they are on the road than comparable cars. There’s just something about the way they’re so well-oiled and precise that makes them pleasingly satisfying to jump behind the wheel of. And that applies to Ford people carriers like the C-Max. What’s more, it’s a lot better to drive than a Vauxhall Zafira. We found a franchised Ford dealer selling a 2008 C-Max 1.8 Zetec for £5000, and it had covered just 41,300 miles. Because it’s a Ford dealer, you get a manufacturer-backed one-year warranty, too. There’s plenty of choice out there, so haggle hard with any vendor. Browse a selection here.

£5000 family cars: Ford Focus C-Max seats five in comfort

It doesn’t have seven seats like a Vauxhall Zafira, but given the majority of drivers of a seven seater rarely use the third row, if you did without them and picked a C-Max you’d be left with a very comfortable five-seat family car. The interior is spacious; there are three independent back seats; and you get features like flip-up tables. Its 550-litre boot is big enough for a pushchair or two plus the weekly shop, and the quality of the fit and finish throughout the car is robust enough to withstand the demands of young children.

£5000 family cars: Ford Focus C-Max costs are middle of the road

The Focus C-Max was sold between 2003 and 2010. Taking the 1.8-litre Zetec model as an example, the running costs of the C-Max are middle of the road. The fuel economy is around 39mpg, CO2 emissions of 169g/km mean road tax is £205, and servicing needs to be performed every 12,500 miles or annually.

£5000 family cars

The Corolla Verso is a versatile seven-seat alternative to the Vauxhall Zafira (Picture © Toyota)

£5000 family cars: Toyota Corolla Verso offers seven seats

Like the Vauxhall Zafira, the Toyota Corolla Verso comes with seven individual seats, so it offers a serious amount of practicality and versatility – handy when you need to separate bickering children. It’s surprisingly good value for a Toyota as the prices of the Japanese car maker’s models can seem over inflated. And the pick of the range is undoubtedly the 2.2-litre diesel engine, which superseded the 2.0-litre version in 2005. A 2007 Corolla Verso 2.2 D-4D SR with nearly 67,000 miles under its wheels will cost £5000. See what’s available here.

£5000 family cars: Toyota Corolla Verso has a flexible interior

Seats up? Seats down? Some seats folded? Just one raised? There are all sorts of ways to set up the interior of the Corolla Verso, and if convenience and versatility are a driver’s priorities, this is the car for them. The outer seats of the middle row tilt and slide forward in one easy action, helping anyone get into the rearmost pair of chairs. If you have all the seats raised, the boot space will be miniscule, but that’s the case with most similarly sized seven-seat MPVs.

Best used family cars for £5000: Toyota Corolla Verso

The 2.2-litre diesel can return just over 44mpg, which isn’t bad for this size and age of car. Emissions are 167g/km of CO2, meaning road tax costs £205 a year.

Read more: The best seven-seat family cars for £15,000

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