Review: Vauxhall Combo Kombi (2002 – 2010)

Rating:

Very spacious, honest, Berlingo-style transport. Better looking than most.

Prices are on the high side.

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29 September 2013

DPF failed completely in Corsa 1.3 CDTi bought new on 7-9-2012. Before then had been back 5 times due to DPF problems and has now been waiting 8 weeks for the new DPF which is in short supply. Many similar... Read more

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1 March 2006

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Vauxhall Combo Kombi (2002 – 2010): At A Glance

Bit different, this one. 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 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.

It actually proved to be a surprisingly good vehicle and I'll get to that soon. But first I'm going to rail against the rank stupidity which makes a van so much more expensive than a windowed utility that, even if a VAT registered business gets the VAT back, it's still out of pocket. At £11,372 on the road before VAT, this very good 5-seater Combo Crewvan actually costs more than the £9,795 a windowed 5-seater FIAT Doblo with the same 1.3 Multijet engine costs after VAT. It's more than the Doblo Family 7-seater 1.3 Multijet, which costs £10,595 on the road, VAT paid. At the time of writing you can get a Citroen Berlingo Multispace 1.9D for just £8,500 on the road. So what on earth is the point of asking £11,372 plus VAT for the Combo Crewvan?

This isn't a dig at Vauxhall, by the way. All vans, including Doblos and Berlingos, list more expensive before VAT than their windowed combi counterparts are after VAT: a situation that is plain stupid. Not only that, vans are much more expensive to insure than combis. Sure the whole point of these silly prices is to offer massive discounts to big fleets. The van market hasn't caught up with the car market in that respect. But why would any private individual or small business buy a van rather than a combi? Just for the sake of qualifying for £500 BIK? Seems like spending thousands to save hundreds.

Vauxhall Combo Crewvan 2005 Road Test

What does a Vauxhall Combo Kombi (2002 – 2010) cost?

Vauxhall Combo Kombi (2002 – 2010): What's It Like Inside?

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.

Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Combo Kombi (2002 – 2010)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the Vauxhall Combo Kombi (2002 – 2010) like to drive?

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.

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 have we been asked about the Vauxhall Combo Kombi (2002 – 2010)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

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Buying an economic car for a small business - what would you recommend?

I need help to choose the right car. This will be my first car in the UK. I've started a small business recently and we're looking for an economic and spacious car to carry wicker and wooden products (baskets, fire log baskets, etc). We don't need a large van but we may need something larger that a standard estate car. I'm totally confused with so many different types of cars and insurance groups. How about cars like Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo which are quite spacious? Are they in a van insurance group already? How do I choose and what do I look at?
You need a Citroen Berlingo Multispace, Peugeot Partner Tepee, Fiat Doblo, Renault Kangoo, Vauxhall Combo Kombi, or a smaller Citroen C3 Picasso. Best not to buy a van because the insurance is higher. Best also to go for petrol if you can because short runs cause problems with diesel DPFs and EGRs. If you want something smaller, under 100g/km you could consider a Fiesta 1.6 TDCi van or a Vauxhall Corsavan, but they are car derived vans and don't have the capacity of the cars I have already recommended. There is also the Fiat Qubo, Citroen Nemo Multispace and Peugeot Bipper Tepee.
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