Vauxhall Combo 4x4 conversion officially on sale

  • Officially supported conversion, available to order direct from Vauxhall
  • Developed in partnership with French 4x4 specialist Dangels
  • Fully automatic 4WD operation, option of up to 205mm ground clearance

Vauxhall has confirmed the pricing and technical specification for a Combo Cargo 4x4 conversion, based on the 130hp Turbo D diesel version of this Parkers Award winner.

Targeting agriculture, construction and other industries where additional traction and ground clearance might be handy in a small van, Vauxhall is hoping to attract new business with the new model, claiming it’s the only four-wheel drive option in its segment.

So what modifications does the Combo 4x4 get?

As standard the Combo van is front-wheel drive – as the name suggests, this version has the extra hardware required to drive all four wheels. Namely a rear differential, extra driveshafts, clever transfer case (about which more in a moment).

Making space for this extra gear, and further improving off-road performance, all Combo 4x4s also get a 90mm increase in ground clearance. Add the optional 4x4 Plus Pack, and this increases another 20mm to a total of 205mm.

Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 small van - 2020, red, front view, uphill off-road

An upgraded limited slip rear differential is also available as an option.

Standard-fit underbody protection for the 1.5-litre engine and six-speed manual gearbox completes the package.

Is the Combo 4x4 factory-built by Vauxhall?

The four-wheel drive Combo was developed in partnership with French 4x4 specialist Dangel, which carries out the conversion on completed vans that have already had ‘optimised’ steering and suspension fitted at the factory.

Dangel offers similar conversions for the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner, though neither of these are offered for direct purchase by their UK dealerships.

The Berlingo, Partner, and Combo are all variations of the same basic van.

What’s it like off-road?

The extra ground clearance gives the Combo van a pretty decent set of off-road stats:

  • Approach angle: 26.6 degrees
  • Departure angle: 38.3 degrees
  • Break-over angle: 26 degrees
  • Ground clearance: 185-205mm

We actually drove a prototype in 2019 – albeit only around a damp and hilly field – and it felt convincingly capable, with a comfortable if somewhat bouncy ride from the raised Plus Pack suspension.

Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 small van - 2020, red, dead-on front view, underbody protection

The four-wheel drive system has two modes, selected via a rotary switch on the dashboard (so no heavy levers or anything here). Auto 4WD does as the name suggests, and automatically engages the rear wheels only when the front wheels are starting to slip; Eco 2WD uses the front wheels only, useful when you’re driving on the road to reduce wear and tear.

For tougher, more challenging conditions there’s also an R setting, which locks the rear axle into action. This is best not used on the road.

What’s the warranty?

Although built by and carried out by a third-party converter, the Combo 4x4 is in the standard Vauxhall pricelist for ease of ordering, and all of the conversion work matches the standard vehicle’s three-year / 60,000-mile warranty.

The pricelist notes that oil service intervals for the new transfer case and rear axle are two years or 16,000 miles.

What’s the payload?

Available in L1 and L2 bodysizes, the Combo Cargo is rated to carry 892kg in payload.

Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 small van - 2020, red, side view, uphill, off-road

That’s pretty impressive for a small van anyway, let alone one with four-wheel drive.

Are there really no direct rivals?

None that you can order directly from a UK pricelist. Instead you might consider a commercial 4x4, such as the short-wheelbase version of the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial, which is actually cheaper than this upgraded Combo. Its payload rating isn’t as high, however.

But there are also many pickup trucks available for less money, too, and these will carry over 1,000kg in the back. Though obviously the Combo is a much smaller vehicle, which might be important to some buyers.

How much does the Vauxhall Combo 4x4 cost?

Pricing starts at £34,660 for an L1 Edition, £35,860 for the L2 Edition and £36,010 for the L1 in Sportive trim – all excluding VAT.

For reference, the Land Cruiser Commercial presently starts at £28,015, Mitsubishi has just launched a new L200 Trojan that costs less than £25k, and if you just want a basic working pickup, the Isuzu D-Max Utility 4x4 starts at under £20k.

Also read:

>> Vauxhall Combo full review

>> Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial 4x4 full review

>> Mitsubishi L200 Trojan full details

>> Isuzu D-Max full review