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View all Vauxhall Combo reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6
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Every realistic requirement for a family car in one box - literally

Vauxhall Combo Life (18 on) - rated 3.6 out of 5
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PROS

  • Impressive safety equipment
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Room for three child seats

CONS

  • A little uninspiring to look at
  • Even high-end models quite basic
  • In-house rivals have braver design

PROS

  • Impressive safety equipment
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Room for three child seats

CONS

  • A little uninspiring to look at
  • Even high-end models quite basic
  • In-house rivals have braver design

Verdict

Vauxhall Combo Life review summary

The Vauxhall Combo Life is one of triplets – the Citroen Berlingo Multispace and Partner Tepee-replacing Peugeot Rifter – and it stands a chance of emulating the loyal following the French duo have achieved.

Its perpendicular styling is indicative of its roots: this is a passenger car version of the fourth generation of Combo van.

Whereas the first two were based on contemporary Vauxhall Corsa hatchbacks, and the outgoing version a re-badged Fiat Doblo Cargo, this one is a derivative of the latest PSA Peugeot-Citroen small van. A change that follows PSA's recent acquisition of the Vauxhall brand.

Vauxhall Combo Life 2018

Aside from the in-house competition, the Vauxhall Combo squares up to the Fiat DobloFord Tourneo Connect and Volkswagen Caddy Life, which are all similar van-based people carriers.

Huge amounts of space in the Vauxhall Combo Life

Those vertical body panels liberate an incredible amount of interior room, with space for up to seven people.

The middle-row seats are three individual chairs – all with Isofix child seat-mounting points, which may prove a strong selling point – while the side doors slide to avoid car park dings from over-enthusiastic kids getting in and out.

Two lengths of Combo Life will be available, measuring 4.40m and 4.75m nose to tail. Even in five-seater mode, the shorter Combo Life will still swallow 597 litres of luggage, while the longer one has a maximum two-seater capacity of 2,693 litres.

Summary quote

Interior storage is, as you’d expect, immensely practical and there’s a hinged rear screen to access the boot where there isn’t space to open the whole tailgate.

Vauxhall Combo Life: efficient petrol and diesel engines

A pair of four-cylinder BlueHDi diesels, and a three-cylinder PureTech petrol are offered in the Combo Life, that already see service in a variety of Citroen, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall cars. Three transmissions are available - five- and six-speed manuals will likely be the most popular, but an eight-speed automatic can be specified if two-pedal driving is preferred.

Vauxhall Combo Life MPV dashboard

Vauxhall Combo Life: wealth of safety systems

Setting the Combo Life apart from non-PSA rivals, there’s a wealth of safety equipment available – much of which is standard, contributing to low insurance groups and high Euro NCAP scores.

Lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are among the highlighted features, but one that caught our attention is the Flank Guard.

Rather than a sacrificial, physical panel, the Flank Guard is a series of 12 sensors along the Vauxhall’s sides that monitor for obstacles such as low-height bollards that the driver might not have spotted.

The Parkers Verdict

The Combo Life is the very essence of a family car, shorn of all pretence to luxury, sporting prowess or performance. This uncompromising approach is admirable, particularly as this is one of the few 4.4 meter long cars that will take three children in appropriate child seats – and two adults as well. Sliding doors are ideal for narrow parking spaces, and the rugged interior can shrug off all manner of abuse.

That it does all this really shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s a formula that is well proven. Where Vauxhall have excelled is in breaking down the dynamic barrier that would encourage drivers towards more car-like, compromised prospects; the Combo Life rides better than many family hatchbacks and has impressive refinement at motorway speeds.

It doesn’t look sexy or even particularly interesting, but it is the best tool for the job of family car duties.

Parkers has driven the van-like MPV, so read on for the full Vauxhall Combo Life review

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