Vauxhall introduced the original Combo in 1997 - basically a Corsa with a box on the back - and then came the purposebuilt integral design at the end of 2001. The 2005 model year saw yet more revisions, but this time they are under the bonnet with a new three engine line-up.
Two common rail turbodiesels replace the old 1.7 direct injection units. The 1.3CDTi is the smaller of the two - also found in the Corsavan - and produces 70hp with peak torque of 170Nm while its bigger 1.7CDTi brother manages 100hp and 240Nm. A 90hp 1.4-litre Twinport petrol option is also available, as well as a Congestion Tax-busting Dualfuel petrol/lpg version.
The brace of CDTis cannot be recommended highly enough. They are refined, fuel efficient and service intervals are set at 30,000 miles. An Easitronic automated manual option is now available on the 1700 1.3CDTi.
Back at thebusiness end you get a 2.8m3 load cube which increases to 3.2m 3 if you take the FlexCargo swinging bulkhead/ folding passenger seatoption. Equal sized side-hinged rear doors give access to the rear and these can be opened to a full 180°.
The diesels are available at two GVWs which gives two payload options; 595kg or 745kg. There’s plenty of space in the comfortable cab and the driver’s seat is set at a sensible height for those involved in multidrop deliveries. All the controls are light and power steering is standard. The diesel engines are pretty well isolated from the cab and there is plenty of torque on tap, especially from the 100 bhp version. The ride and handling are hard to criticise, apart from the overassisted steering.
All Combos are protected by a threeyear/ 60,000 mile warranty.
Vauxhall has raised Combo’s game with these new engines and the 1.3 will be sufficient for most operators, unless they live on the motorway. Five-seater Crew Cab versions are available.