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Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6
  • Upright windscreen for great visibility
  • Plenty of storage locations
  • Nicely weighted controls, too

2018 Vauxhall Combo Life interior

There’s no stitched leather or open-pore sustainable wood to be found in the Vauxhall Combo Life, which could give the impression that there’s going to be a lack of comfort. Fortunately there’s a lot more to stress-free driving than the knowledge that an artisan made some cosmetic bit of trim – and the fundamentals are all here in abundance.

Well-padded, supportive seats have few adjustments, but a good range, and sit in front of a dashboard that is unashamedly plastic. In place of shiny things, there’s useful design; cupholders placed high up and sensibly deep, so both passenger and driver (where safe to do so) can keep their beverages from spilling, or lids from flying off when trying to extract from between the seats. Gloveboxes that are big enough to take gloves for the whole family, and trays and boxes to secure smartphones and sunglasses – this is a truly practical design and it’s pretty pleasing on the eye, too.

2018 Vauxhall Combo Life infotainment screen

On trend is the large infotainment display, which includes sat-nav – no reliance on Apple CarPlay here, though it is supported. The steering wheel – optionally heated – is chunky and has easy to understand graphics for the controls, though the aforementioned heating is enabled by a switch almost too prominent; where you’d expect a media control to be.

Like other PSA cars, the heater controls do rely on the touchscreen more than is ideal, though.

 Is it comfortable?

  • Started out as a daily workplace for drivers
  • Good ergonomics and comfortable seating
  • Genuinely relaxing simplicity

The Vauxhall Combo Life could run the risk of previous van-derived cars, in that suspension designers have prioritised load carrying over comfort – and indeed, parcels and tools are not known for complaining if the road gets a little choppy and unsettling.

Commercial loads are also not given to fatigue when subjected to road and wind noise, either, so that the Combo Life does so well on all scores is laudable. Unladen or with a decent number of people on board, the Vauxhall rides competently and makes very little noise even on rutted or damaged roads.

2018 Vauxhall Combo Life tray tables

Rear seat legroom is ample with enough room for the safest child seats to fit. For families with three children, the Combo Life is also unusually flexible and older kids can sit either side of a central child seat, making it easier for parents to keep an eye on the smallest one.

Ventilation is good too, with small sliding windows for rear passengers and decent air conditioning.

Comfort is often conflated with luxury, and in this case it’s clear that it can be achieved without having to aspire to quilted leather and massage seats. The easy-going nature of the Combo Life is a functional part too; drivers need fewer soothing gadgets if the rest of the car’s population is relaxed.