LARGE MPV models have great appeal for families who need space for children and lots of luggage, so day-to-day practicality and versatility are key factors – and so is price.
Some of the larger MPVs can cost well over €30,000 but for buyers on a budget, the Opel Combo Life is a smart alternative. Made by Opel and Vauxhall – both now part of the giant French PSA Group – the Combo Life can seat seven on three rows of seats and still have substantial load space in the boot, with prices starting at €22,485 (£20,135).
It has to be said that the Combo Life isn’t the most stylish in the class – it was designed as a van rather than specifically as an MPV – but it more than atones with its value for money and its surprisingly pleasant driving dynamics.
There are petrol and diesel engines, manual and auto gearboxes and the option of five or seven seats. My test version was a seven-seat model with a perky and economical 1.2 litre 110 hp turbo-petrol unit and six-speed manual gears. With all seats in use, there is still a substantial 806 litres of load space and with all seats folded down, there is an amazing 2,693 litres!
In Energy XL trim, this version is €26,031 (£22,310) and highlights include touch-screen infotainment system with digital radio, Bluetooth, audio streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and mobile phone portal, front and rear parking sensors, and auto lights and wipers. You also get very versatile seating – they can slide, fold flat and the rear two are removable – and there are also two drop-down tables.
Safety features include auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, driver drowsiness system and cruise control with speed limiter.
The dashboard is well laid out for ease of use and trim materials are good quality giving the cabin a car-like ambiance despite its van origin.
On the move, the Combo Life is quiet and responsive, with sharp accurate steering, slick manual gearshift, comfortable ride quality and great all-round visibility which gives a commanding sense of control. The 0-100 kph time is 12.0 seconds, top speed 175 kph (109 mph). Emissions are 125 g/km and fuel economy good at 15 kpl (42.4 mpg).
The Combo Life is ideal for busy daily family life, weekends away and holidays and offers real value for money in the MPV sector.