Review: Vauxhall Combo (2002 – 2012)
Commodious yet compact van based on a stretched Corsa platform, decent to drive, one Combo van recorded 505,000 miles.
DPF failures of 1.3 MultiJet diesels have become legendary.
Recently Added To This Review
Haynes Guide now available for Vauxhall Combo vans 2001 to 2012. Read more
Typical problem of 1.3 Multijet with DPF, experienced by the Post Office amongst many other users, is loss of power, black smoke, instrument spanner light on. If this happens it is essential to stop... Read more
Compact van using Corsa mechanicals. Various engines including Fiat 1.25 Multijet diesel. For UK available as a 'Crewvan' with back seats like continental Combo kombi, but tin sides so it still qualifies... Read more
Vauxhall Combo (2002 – 2012): At A Glance
Commodious yet compact van based on a stretched Corsa floorpan.
What's the Vauxhall Combo (2002 – 2012) like to drive?
I’d expected something like a Berlingo Multispace with windows in the back. Or, at least, windows beside the rear passenger seat. But, to comply with medieval British Customs and Excise regulations, the Vauxhall Combo Crewvan they sent me came with sheet steel rear windows. A stupid result of one of the many ridiculous laws the Brits put up with to the bemusement of other nationalities.
The Combo 1.3 CDTI is by far the best van I’ve ever driven. It steers well, rides well, handles very well and even goes well, despite its tiny 70bhp engine. (Checking specs, this engine in the Combo seems to be up on torque compared with the FIAT Panda.) It’s much more stable than a Berlingo, especially under braking. Its geared right at 23mph per 1,000rpm. It cruises at an indicated 80mph with ease. If you ever see a Combo going indecently quickly, it’s not that the bloke behind the wheel is a brilliant driver, it’s because he’s driving a brilliant van.
It’s even good looking. The front seats and driving position are fine for long distances (I did over 400 miles in it). The back seats fold 60/40. There’s a tonneau to cover any tools you may want to lock up and leave in the back. I've had feedback from a rerader who did 505,000 miles in one.
If they could stick some glass in the sides and sell it for £9,750 on the road, they’d have a runaway success on their hands. But at £13,248 including VAT for the tinsider, I cannot understand who will buy it. Not even VAT registered businesses that may get £1,875 back from H.M. Customs and Excise, but have to charge 17.5% VAT when they sell it, so not only spend too much upfront but end up with a lousy residual.
So please, Vauxhall, go for volume, charge £9,750 for a proper Combo Kombi with windows in the sides, and let Britain have the best handling utility there is for sensible money.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
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