“The Vauxhall Combo Life is a ‘van with windows’ that offers a hard-to-beat combination of value and versatility”
While a Combo van version of the Vauxhall Corsa supermini has been offered for almost 20 years, the Luton carmaker’s 2017 takeover by the French PSA Group was bound to have an impact on the model’s future. So the latest Combo has turned away from its family hatchback roots and is now a sister model to the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter.
This is no bad thing: the Berlingo and Rifter, designed as commercial vehicles from the ground up, are well known as practical, no-nonsense machines that can handle the rigours of family life. Indeed, Vauxhall’s decision to name its family-size workhorse the ‘Combo Life’ precisely sums up what this boxy machine is all about.
This is Vauxhall’s first foray into the ‘van with windows’ market for decades, and the Combo Life’s role in the Vauxhall range is all the more important since the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer was discontinued, leaving the brand without a full-size MPV. Combo Life buyers can choose between two body lengths and either five or seven seats, with the Combo Life XL offering a massive 2,700 litres of luggage space when all the seats are folded out of use.
The Combo Life doesn’t seem to have been styled with quite the same care as its Peugeot and Citroen sister models. The Citroen’s split-headlamp design and SUV-flavoured Peugeot are both more distinctive than the Vauxhall – it’s anything but a style statement. The common-sense theme continues in the engine line-up, which is common to all three models.
PSA’s familiar 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel produces 99 or 128bhp, while the 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech petrol engine produces 109bhp, with a 128bhp version joining the range later. Two trim levels are offered: entry-level Design and more comprehensively equipped Energy.
Vauxhall appears to have judged the specification of the Combo Life quite cleverly; the model occupies a narrow slot between the penny-pinching economy of the Citroen Berlingo and the more plush, SUV-styled Peugeot Rifter. For many families, the Vauxhall could strike the perfect balance of practicality, comfort and cost.
Vauxhall Combo Life MPV