Steve Banner is pleased to find that his Vauxhall long-termer’s cabin is well equipped for cold winter weather.
Chilly early morning starts always make me hope that my van’s cab will warm up quickly and the windows will demist as if by magic so I can be on my way pronto.
Fortunately, the Combo Cargo’s heater responds rapidly and the cab is soon reasonably comfortable, although the windows take a bit of time to clear.
The level of comfort is enhanced further by the presence of heated seats and a heated steering wheel, both of which feature in the optional Winter Pack fitted to our demonstrator. At this time of year you realise it is money well spent.
The heated exterior mirrors and front fog lights are welcome too. Both of them are standard with LE Nav specification.
Cabs are a lot snugger when a solid full-height bulkhead is fitted because the heater is not fighting to raise the temperature of the whole interior of the vehicle. It means they are cooler in summer too because the air-conditioning system – What Van?’s Combo Cargo is equipped with optional electronic climate control – is not trying to bring down the temperature of the load area as well as that of the driver and passenger.
Happily, Combo Cargo has a beefy steel bulkhead that extends from the floor to the roof. Its prime function is, of course, to protect the occupants of the cab from being hit by loose cargo and I was grateful for its presence during a recent run down the M5. A heavy wooden packing case full of all sorts of junk that had not been properly lashed down decided to break loose from its moorings and struck the bulkhead with an almighty wallop.
It then shot backwards and thudded into the rear doors, prompting me to wonder whether it would burst through them and end up on the carriageway. Fortunately, the doors and the locks that secure them are beefier than I expected them to be. They held, and I was able to get to Strensham Services and re-secure my load after a fashion. (Memo to self: get rid of those frayed, old lashing straps and buy some new ones sharp-ish.)
Leaving this bit of excitement to one side, I remain more than happy with the van’s handling – it seems to get better and better – and fuel consumption, which keeps steady at around 60mpg. The hatch in the bulkhead that forms part of the FlexCargo package – it allows the load bed to be extended so that extra-long items can be transported – still rattles, however, and I cannot help but think that in-cab noise levels overall could stand to be better controlled.
I’m getting used to the satnav, a standard feature on LE Nav models as part of the Multimedia Navi Pro package. The on-screen directions it provides are clear, so are the verbal instructions, and – unlike some systems I have encountered – it can be easily switched off once you are close to your destination and no longer require its assistance.
Report Card: Fuel economy = 4/5
Won’t break the bank.
Cargo LE Nav L1H1 2000 1.5 130hp Turbo D Start/Stop
Official combined consumption 64.2mpg
Our average consumption 60mpg (estimated)
Price (ex VAT) £20,105
Service intervals 2yrs/25,000mls
Load length 1,817mm
Load width (min/max) 1,229/1,550mm
Load bay height 1,236mm
Gross payload 658kg
Load volume 3.3m3
Engine size/power 1,499cc/130hp
Gearbox 6spd manual
Parking Pack £700
Safety Pack £570
FlexCargo Pack £510
Head-up Display £300
Sight and Light Pack £225
Electronic climate control £200
Winter Pack £150
Wireless charger £80
(See below for previous reports)