Home / Auto / Vauxhall Combo Life 2018 REVIEW – Road test, price, specs and impressions

Vauxhall Combo Life 2018 REVIEW – Road test, price, specs and impressions


Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life (Image: VAUXHALL)

It is a family-orientated people carrier that it’s fair to say is focused on usability and the brand is hoping to attract people who put practicality over style and will appreciate the sensible space on offer.

The first thing to get out of the way is the fact that, whatever Vauxhall claims, the Combo Life’s genetics lie in it being a van with seats and windows.

It’s closely related to Vauxhall’s Combo small van and the upright stance betrays the link.

It’s also very closely related to similar new vehicles from Citroën and Peugeot – the Berlingo and Rifter respectively – as Vauxhall is now owned by the French brands.

All have been styled in their respective company look and there’s a commendable difference inside, though the Vauxhall is a touch drab compared to its French counterparts.

But as Citroën and Peugeot have dominated this small MPV sector for many years, there are worse things to be related to. The design isn’t the Combo Life’s biggest strength; it’s fair to say not many people are going to see it drive past and decide they want one.

The big slab-like sides, which have rear-sliding doors that are incredibly handy for loading children, give it a tall look and this isn’t helped by the large grille and wide headlamps. It’s fine but very much on the bland side.

The Combo Life comes in two different vehicle lengths. The regular version is available now and the XL, boasting an extra 14ins of length, will follow towards the end of the year.

Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life (Image: VAUXHALL)

Both come in regular five-seat configurations and, as a £700 option, a seven-seater that, on the XL, offers more third-row space than the Zafira Tourer – Vauxhall’s previous seven-seater that it stopped selling earlier this year.

The engine range is pretty straightforward: one petrol engine and two turbo-diesels. The petrol is a 108bhp 1.2-litre unit offering an average fuel economy of 51.4mpg and 125g/km emissions.

The 1.5-litre turbo-diesel comes with 99bhp or 128bhp, the former being the more efficient at 67.3mpg and 111g/km. The entry-level diesel has a five-speed gearbox, while the others get an extra gear that’s useful for motorways.

The more powerful diesel is the best-performing, though it still takes 10.6 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60mph with a top speed of 115mph. But performance and driving enjoyment aren’t the top priority here.

Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life (Image: VAUXHALL)

There’s nothing strictly wrong with the driving experience, it’s just not great. It feels like a tall car in bends and takes a while to get up to speed.

But the steering is light, with a great turning circle, and visibility is good, which means it’s great in an urban environment where it feels far more at home.

What the Vauxhall lacks in driving appeal though, it spectacularly makes up for in practicality. While the cabin isn’t plush it’s well set up for families, with 28 separate cubby holes and stowage spots.

These include a shelf above the sun blinds, upper and lower gloveboxes, a cubby hole on top of the dash in front of the driver and an optional overhead storage area down the length of the roof, which comes as part of the panoramic roof option.

Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life (Image: VAUXHALL)

All cars get three Isofix child seat points in the rear seats, which will be appreciated by larger families and the seven-seat models get three individual rear seats, rather than the 60/40 split bench seat of the five-seater.

The boot is vast, too; a big square space of 597 litres to the window line, or 897 on the XL version, rising to well over 2,000 litres with the rear seats folded.

As well as the chunky tailgate, which needs plenty of space when you park, you can also specify as an option a separately hinged rear windscreen.

For a practical family car below £20,000 its safety kit also impresses.

Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life (Image: VAUXHALL)

It has autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and driver drowsiness detection systems as standard, plus Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

Step up by £1,400 from the basic Design trim level to the more popular Energy spec and you can add alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors and a larger 8in touchscreen system. Buyers with a particularly active lifestyle will like the optional IntelliGrip system.

It’s an electronic system that helps increase traction and grip levels on slippery or muddy surfaces, with snow, mud and sand modes.

The Combo Life scores very highly for practicality and convenience in tight car parks and while it’s the ultimate head not heart buy, it will appeal to those who don’t care what anyone else thinks. The right customers will find it a very useful workhorse

Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life (Image: VAUXHALL)

Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life (Image: VAUXHALL)

LOGBOOK LOWDOWN

Prices: £19,610-£24,060

Engines: Turbo-petrol – 1.2-litre; Turbo-diesel – 1.5, 1.5-litre 128bhp

Power: 0 to 60mph in 10.6 seconds, 115mph top speed (1.5TD 128bhp)

Fuel economy: 67.3mpg (1.5TD)

CO2 emissions: 111-125g/km

Rivals: Citroën Berlingo, Ford Tourneo Connect, VW Caddy, Peugeot Rifter

Rating: 7/10



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