Moving rearward, there’s a fixed steel bulkhead and a nearside sliding door, also standard equipment.
The rear doors each open through 180°, and there’s enough space in the load bay for two Euro pallets.
Boosting the load space further on our test van was the optional FlexCargo Pack, which allows the back of the left passenger seat to be folded down and long items to be loaded through into the cabin – with a pre-fitted bag included to protect the interior trim.
Alternatively, the base of the left passenger seat can be folded back to create a space for loading items in the cab, or the back of the middle seat – cramped and only suitable for the shortest of passenger trips – can be folded down and used as an office table.
Launch engine options are a 1.6-litre diesel with 75hp or 100hp, or a 1.5-litre diesel with 130hp, with a petrol unit arriving next year.
The 1.6-litre diesel is an unusual case, as it is carried over from the previous-generation model, and will only be around for nine months as it doesn’t meet the incoming Euro6.2 emissions standard, unlike the 1.5-litre, lower-powered versions of which are then set to fill the gap.
In the 100hp form tested here the 1.6-litre shifts the Combo adequately enough, with 250Nm of torque available, but refinement under acceleration is a bit lacking, although it is more economical than the equivalent engine in the Ford Transit Connect.
The Combo’s engine isn’t helped by the five-speed manual gearbox it’s paired with, which features an imprecise change action that makes shifting up and down the cogs in town hard work, while at motorway speeds a sixth gear to reduce noise and improve economy is sorely missed – a six-speed manual is available with the 1.5-litre engine along with an eight-speed automatic option.
On the plus side in terms of the driving experience, the ride is good – comfortable at all speeds, with bumps well absorbed.
The Combo also copes well with corners, with composed handling and body roll well controlled, although the steering is a bit light for brisk B-road work.
Driving is also made easier by the technology fitted to our test van – although again these are cost options. A £700 outlay gets you the Parking Pack, which adds front parking sensors to the rear ones standard with Sportive trim, along with a reversing camera, the Flank Guard side-sensor system, electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors, and front fog lights with cornering function.
And for £570 you can have the Safety Pack, which includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver drowsiness alert, speed sign recognition, and lane keep assist, although we found the latter system’s steering inputs annoying and ended up turning it off.
Combo Sportive L1H1 2000 1.6 100PS Turbo D Start/Stop
Price (ex VAT) £18,593
Price range (ex VAT) £16,518-£21,043
Insurance group tbc
Service intervals 1yr/16,000mls
Load length 1,781mm
Load width (min/max) 1,229/1,630mm
Load bay height 1,236mm
Gross payload 668kg
Load volume 3.3m3
Engine size/power 1,560cc/100hp
Combined fuel economy 65.6mpg
The new Vauxhall Combo does much to impress, although as tested the gearbox hurts the driving experience, and some of the best features are optional.