Saturday, 29 February 2020

The multi-purpose vehicle that’s not to be sniffed at

The multi-purpose vehicle that’s not to be sniffed at

WHILE motorists in Europe distance themselves from diesel — their favourite fuel of choice for decades — they are not about to give up on one type of vehicle that has sold in millions on the Continent.

Brits remain a bit sniffy about what started out as a sort of DIY multi-purpose vehicle, in other words a conversion from a commercial van.

However, European motorists have taken this vehicle to their hearts as they did diesel until Germany’s multi-billion euro car industry, for one, began a long retreat from championing the fuel.

Vauxhall, which is part of Groupe PSA, the French carmaker, has this year embarked on a drive to promote its highly successful commercial vans.

The all-new Vauxhall Combo Life is the “lifestyle” version of a vehicle that has been voted International Van of the Year 2019.

With the Combo Life version I have been driving this week, you get much more than just a van with windows at a reasonable price.

If you are not prejudiced against vans turned MPVs, then you could get a heck of a lot of value out of owning a Combo Life.

Inside, you are surrounded by useful pockets for storage and inner space.

What might appear wanting is exterior style, though the 2019 Combo Life is smartly turned out and comes in a variety of colours.

If you have a young family and enjoy an outdoor lifestyle — camping, touring and the like — then you would be certain to get great value out of owning a Combo Life.

Vauxhall offers a new range of accessories for both the Combo Life and Combo Cargo van.

From bike carriers and child seats to roof boxes and rear parking assistants, the aim of this equipment is to help “families and business users get the most out of their vehicle”.

For additional carrying and towing options, the Combo Life can be equipped with fixed or removable towing hitch kits (from £485 excluding fitting) with a 13-pin harness for the electrical system and a maximum vertical load capacity of 74kg.

There is an aluminium base roof carrier (from £191) that can carry up to two conventional bikes and there are roof box options (from £154, up to 460 litres in volume or 75kg in load capacity). The vehicle can even carry a surfboard, kayak, skis or snowboard. On model variants with rear doors, steel or aluminium roof racks (from £533, excluding fitting) can be installed on the roof. Integrated load-rollers are available for ease of loading.

The Combo Life has two rear sliding doors and can be ordered as a five- or seven-seater, with each configuration available in either standard or XL wheelbase.

The latest addition to the Vauxhall range makes longer trips more comfortable for a family, with three Isofix child seat brackets on the second-row seats of all models, and the optional panoramic glass roof.

Combo Life customers can choose between a variety of turbocharged, direct-injection petrol and diesel engines, which have low CO2 emissions from 111g/km and fuel economy up to 67.3mpg.

The all-aluminium units are available with five- or six-speed manual transmission. In addition, a low-friction eight-speed automatic with Quickshift technology can be ordered in combination with the 1.5-litre (130PS) diesel engine.

The petrol engine offering comprises a 1.2-litre (110PS) Turbo Start/Stop direct injection unit. In both Combo Life and Combo Life XL body style, the 1.2-litre petrol engine achieves 51.4mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 125g/km.

In order to reduce particulate emissions, the unit has a gasoline particulate filter that enables optimised oxidation of the particles captured by the filter.

The Combo Life is fitted with driver assistance systems such as Driver Drowsiness Alert, Rear View Camera with 180-degrees bird’s-eye view, Head-up Display, and IntelliGrip.

There are improved comfort features available such as heated seats and a heated steering wheel.


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