Vauxhall Combo Life (2018 – 2024) Review

Vauxhall Combo Life (2018 – 2024) At A Glance


+Comfortable and easy to drive, three Isofix points, very spacious and practical, twin sliding doors make getting in simple, available as a long wheelbase seven-seater, modern interior.

-Citroen Berlingo is more stylish.

Vauxhall may no longer build the Zafira but that doesn't mean it has given up on MPVs. Filling the gap is the Combo Life, available as a standard five-seat model or a long wheelbase seven-seater badged XL.

The shape may look familiar and that's because it's one of a trio alongside the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter. Vauxhall is of course now owned by Peugeot Citroen but thanks to the considerably different front end styling, the Combo Life does at least stand out as a model on its own.

From the looks there's no hiding the fact this is based on a van, but this is a case of not judging a book by its cover. Vauxhall may have never offered an MPV version of the Combo before, but Peugeot Citroen has plenty of experience and it shows.

Not only is the interior spacious and practical as you'd expect, but it's also pleasingly wel finished. Yes there are of course lots of hard plastics, but it feels more like a vehicle that's built to withstand busy family life rather than something that's merely cheap. The neat air con controls, leather trimmed steering wheel and high quality touchscreen all add to the feeling that this is more car than van. 

That filters through to the drive. The Combo Life was designed as a car first and van second, and while you wouldn't describe it as enthralling to drive, it's far better than many will think. It rides well, even when empty, but most impressive is the way it tackles corners with plenty of grip, helped by responsive steering.

But what really sells the Combo Life is the practicality. Both models come with three Isofix points on the second row so you can fit three full size car seats. The sliding side doors make getting children (or yourself) in and out easy. XL models have extra seats in the back which can be removed if not needed, although they are heavy and cumbersome. Both versions offer a whopping amount of boot space, even with the seats up: 597 and 850 litres from glass to seat. 

The engines include the impressive 1.2-litre petrol which would be our choice if you're not doing big mileages. Alternatively there's a 1.5-litre diesel available in two versions - either 100PS or 130PS. The latter is available with an eight-speed automatic.

As a practical and no nonsense family car, the Combo Life has much to offer, especially the XL. It may not be the most stylish choice, but it's very likeable and surprisingly good to drive. It also comes very well equipped as standard although with prices starting at more than £20k this is no budget choice. 

Ask Honest John

Are there any cars with sliding doors that fit three child seats?

"I want a car or MPV with sliding doors for a family of three kids and two adults. I currently have a Ford S-MAX and we can get three child seats in the middle row but obviously that doesn’t have sliding doors. I’m considering the Mazda 5 but want to know if the middle row will hold three seats. We don’t want to go as big as the SEAT Alhambra. Hope you can help."
Unfortunately, the Mazda 5 is not compatible with what you want. It's very unlikely to seat all three kids in the back - and it only has two Isofix anchor points in the second row anyway. That leaves you with two options (unless you can think of an alternative model I haven't): 1) a larger car like the Sharan or MPV with sliding doors, 2) a slightly smaller car without sliding doors. You're unlikely to get a smaller car with sliding doors, essentially. Here are some models that fit three child seats across the back (but not all have three Isofix points): 1)Audi Q7 2) Peugeot 5008 3)VW Touran 4) VW Sharan/SEAT Alhambra 5) Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 6) Ford Galaxy 7) Renault Grand Scenic 8) Citroen C5 Aircross (two outer seats get isofix mounts) 9) Vauxhall Combo Life/Citroën Berlingo/Peugeot Rifter (second row gets 3 isofix points and fits 3 child seats, but the third row with two seats isn't suitable for car seats. It has sliding doors but is obviously much larger than your S-MAX as it's van-based). 10) Volvo XC90
Answered by Georgia Petrie

Which vehicle would be good for transporting two large dogs?

"My wife and myself drive a Volkswagen Golf Estate, but we have two large Newfoundland dogs, one fully grown and the other still growing which will eventually be a combined weight of 20 stone. We are in two minds to go down the van route unless there is a vehicle out there with a large enough boot space. I’ve been quite taken by the Ssangyong Rexton but that’s only looking online. What do you suggest?"
The lower and flatter the floor the better in order to accommodate a decent cage and the weight of the dogs. I'd suggest the new Peugeot Rifter, Citroen Berlingo or Vauxhall Combo Life. You'll already know this, but just in case, do not ever drive anywhere with dogs of this size loose inside the car.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Vauxhall Combo Life (2018 – 2024) cost?