Vauxhall Combo Review & Buyers' Guide
£13,855 – £17,355
Available as: Van Engine options: 1.3TD 90hp, 1.6TD 90/105hp, 2.0TD 125hp Volume (m³): 3.4 – 4.2 Payload (kg):
750 – 1,000
What a difference a generation makes. Combo has been transformed into a sophisticated, versatile, multi-model light van contender.
Vauxhall’s Combo light van has really come of age. Now in its third generation and introduced at the beginning of 2012, some 11 years after the introduction of its predecessor, it is the result of deal with Fiat and is based on the current Doblò Cargo; hence the reason for the extended range of models. It’s available with two wheelbases, two roof heights and at two gross vehicle weights — 2.0 and 2.3 tonne. All models feature daylight running lights.Engine choice is 1.3-, 1.6- and 2.0-litre Euro 5 CDTi turbodiesel with power outputs of 90hp, 90/105hp and 125hp respectively. Peak torque of 200Nm is developed at 1,500rpm by the 1.3, rising to 290Nm for the higher-powered 1.6 and topping-out at 320Nm for the 2.0; all at the same low-down revs. The 200Nm, 90hp 1.6-litre is reserved for use in conjunction with the five-speed semi-auto, clutchless Tecshift transmission. The other powerplants drive the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, bar the 1.3-litre which uses a five-speeder. ABS is standard, but ESP is confined to the options list.Stop/Start is available across the engine range, including the 90hp 1.6CDTi with Tecshift, and there is a selection of low carbon 1.3CDTi ecoFLEX models providing combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 outputs as low as 57.6mpg and 126g/km respectively. Thanks to two wheelbases and roof heights, for the first time Vauxhall can offer Combo with load space of either 3.4m3 (L1H1), 4.0m3(L1H2) or 4.2m3 (L2H1). Load length on the SWB is 1,820mm, rising to 2,170mm for the LWB while standard roof models provide a load height of 1,305mm. Go for the high roof and this increases to 1,550mm. A rear hinged roof flap can be specified on L1 Combos for additional over-length load versatility.Maximum load width across the range is 1,714mm dropping to 1,230mm between the wheel boxes, but still sufficient to accommodate a Europallet. With a rear loading height of 545mm Combo can handle gross payloads of between 750kg and 1,000kg and tow a braked trailer of up to 1,500kg. Access to the load area is excellent thanks to 180°-opening asymmetrical side-hinged rear doors. A tailgate is optional if preferred and Sportive models feature a nearside sliding side door.Combo’s cab is spacious, user-friendly and comfortable, and even in entry-level specification it comes with plenty of standard kit. Remote central locking — including deadlocking — electric windows, reach- and rake-adjustable steering column, driver’s air bag and a full steel bulkhead are all included.Move up to Sportive and it adds manual air conditioning, metallic paint, body colour-coded bumpers and electric door mirrors, nearside sliding side door, driver’s seat with height adjustment, armrest and lumbar support, and alloy-style wheel covers. Naturally, the options list is extensive for further personal customisation.Driving Combo is a real pleasure. There’s excellent all-round vision thanks to large door mirrors with a separate convex ‘blind-spot’ section, the electric power steering provides sufficient speed-variable feedback and it’s quick to respond to steering inputs. Ride and handling are well up to par and the engine is so refined it is hard to know if the Stop/Start system is working or not; a low-cost feature that should be specified without hesitation. Even the 90hp 1.3CTDi provides more than sufficient torque for general, low payload urban usage and the five-speed ’box is not a hindrance.Service intervals are recommended every 21,000 miles/one year and Combos come with a three-year/60,000 mile mechanical warranty.
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