The first commercial vehicle to result from PSA Group’s ownership of Vauxhall is a replacement for the Combo.
It launched last year, at the same time as the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo. It shares a platform with both. There are few differences between the three, and all share the same PSA Group mechanical parts.
The steering wheel, headlight switch and dials are the only Vauxhall parts on the interior.
The Combo Cargo is the cheapest of the three, with prices starting at £16,663. That’s £200 less than the French-badged models.
Cheaper petrol engines will be offered later in the year, but for now there is a selection of diesels.
We tested the mid-range 100PS version. The entry-level van uses a 75PS engine and there is a more powerful 130PS version, but we doubt many operators would need it.
With 250Nm of torque, there is plenty of power to shift the Combo. It does so in a refined and relaxed manner, with the PSA-derived five-speed gearbox the only niggle. It’s notchy and imprecise.
We were impressed to see that our test van had averaged 48mpg over the past 2,000 miles it had been driven and we managed to exceed 50mpg on one trip.
The underpinnings come from Peugeot and Citroën’s latest road cars, which gives the van precise handling. The new Combo is also available as a small MPV, called Combo Life.
Ride comfort and refinement were better than we expected, given the Combo Cargo’s low list price.
Access to the rear is provided by two barn-style doors and a side sliding door.
Dependent on model, payloads reach up to one tonne. Our version could handle a 668kg payload, with a 3.3 cu m load area – enough for two euro pallets.
The longer XL version has a 4.4 cu m load area and is available with a second row of seats.
One clever innovation that comes as standard on the Combo Cargo is an overload warning sensor. It can alert the driver if the van has exceeded its maximum payload, a crucial safety benefit.
The Combo is available with an array of driver assistance technology, including lane departure warning, autonomous braking and blind spot monitor.
For £150, the winter pack adds heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
Air conditioning is standard on all but the entry level Edition model.
The infotainment system (£300) provides an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth and digital radio. A sat-nav system is also available for £700.
The Combo Cargo has a modern and comfortable interior, great efficiency and competitive running costs. It is a significant step up from the last Fiat-based version and is now a front-runner in the small van segment.