For reasons that I can’t possibly begin to explain, I was at a car boot sale recently.
Fortunately, my car already has a boot, but while I was there I learned that just about any vehicle qualifies as prime boot-sale material. At this particular event (and, I guess, at most of them), it was best not to turn up in a van or a 4x4, since the pitch charge for such a vehicle was £9. Go in something less commercial — as I did — and you saved £2.
Not surprisingly, I had the only BMW 7 Series in the field. While there, I had two offers for it, and it wasn’t even up for sale. It was unwashed and covered in bird guano, but that had me thinking that a boot sale could actually be a great place to flog your car. Anyway, this is something of a long-winded way of telling you that, according to my on-the-spot research, the Vauxhall Zafira is the quintessential booty vehicle of choice.
Within yards of my shed-sized pitch, there were no fewer than four of Luton’s compact family lorries. None of them was remotely ‘sheddy’, either. I do think the Zafira has improved markedly over the years.
Obviously, I would highlight an early one as something that’s ideal for jobbing tradesmen who need some seats for the family at the weekend. You can’t go too cheap, because the few-hundred-quid examples don’t have MOT certificates and, even at £400, the interior will be completely shot. Anything below £500 seems to be a Category C, although that isn’t fatal.
Above that level, you get to the good old 1.8 petrols. They may cost a bit to run, but in Comfort spec they’ll do a decent job, as long as most of the things work.
Otherwise, £1500 will get you into a family-friendly, early to mid-2000s 1.6. Most buyers will want a diesel, of course, and if you spend a solid £5000 you can get a 2008 1.9 CDTi in Exclusiv trim.
There are also some slightly exciting SRis around, with mileages in the high 60s, which isn’t bad. You can still get a GSi turbo, too — a car that could be a future weird collectable. Your money will buy a 2005-2006 example with history and, in some cases, not that many miles, and all for around £5500.
Of course, the crucial question is: just how much stuff can you get in the back of a Zaf? Well, the one in front of me at the booty contained a kitchen table and the contents of a lady’s wardrobes. Heaven knows what she was up to, but she was doing it in a Zafira. Wise move.