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LIFE LESSONS (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Vauxhall's Combo Life won't be the family car you dreamed about but it could be the one you actually need. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 39
Vauxhall has long offered MPV passenger-carrying versions of its compact Combo van on the Continent. Now it brings that kind of package to the UK market in the form of this small but spacious People Carrier, the Combo Life.
Backgroundword count: 113
Is this more than just a van with windows? Vauxhall wants to convince you that the Combo Life is just that. Yes of course it's based on the Combo panel van, but this little MPV gets the kind of safety and media technology that most LCV drivers can only dream of. It comes in two lengths, gives you a choice of either five or seven seats and can swallow up to 2,693-litres if you load it up to the gunwhales. Is there room in your life for a vehicle as versatile as that, one that can average around 65mpg and is priced from no more than around £20,000? If so, then read on...
Driving Experienceword count: 217
Combo Life buyers choose between three engines. There's a 1.2-litre 110PS petrol unit. Or a 1.5-litre CDTi diesel, developing either 100 or 130PS. The units are combined with five and six-speed manual transmissions. In addition, in a segment first, a low-friction eight-speed automatic with Quickshift technology can be ordered in combination with the top-of-the-range 1.5-litre 130PS diesel. Under the skin, there's an independent Bi-link suspension system that can provide reasonably supple ride comfort, yet is firm enough to resist body roll and support heavy loads. It's a decent compromise. Whichever variant you choose - standard or long - you'll find that the driving position pretty good, with the steeply raked windscreen and low bonnet combining to give great visibility. Couple that with big panoramic door mirrors and the result is a vehicle you can be confident about driving even the most congested city streets where the light steering facilitates a tight turning circle, 11.2m in the short wheelbase version and 12.5m for the long wheelbase model. As for refinement - usually a van-based MPV issue - well, the slightly clattery note at start-up settles down quite acceptably once you get up to speed. Ultimately, probably the biggest compliment you can really pay this Vauxhall is that at times, it's easy to forget you're driving a van-derived product.
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Category: MPV People Carriers
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