Last weekend we borrowed a Combo Life from Vauxhall and took it for a spin around our very busy lives. It did school runs, weekend trips and runs to the take away, pretty standard stuff but let’s be honest, that’s the stuff you need when you’re reviewing a car. It’s all well and good doing something fancy but it’s the day to day realities that allow a parent to see if a car is fit for purpose, which I can tell you confidently the Vauxhall Combo Life is.
One of the things that struck me the most about the Combo Life is that it is, without doubt, a practical car. It doesn’t waste time with excessive and unnecessary pomp and fluff, it’s utilitarian and sensible, it’s practical and efficient. The car has sliding doors which delighted me more than I thought that they would – especially in car parks where families are often at a disadvantage because they spaces for cars aren’t suitable for the modern family beast – they were built for cars from 10-20 years ago, much smaller and compact. The sliding doors made it so easy for the children to clamber in and out without the risk of a door being flung open into the adjacent car. It was a surprisingly brilliant and simple feature. It also had the added benefit of making it much easier to get the car seats in and out of the isofix points, or if you still use the belted options you would find this a DREAM. More space, less hassle.
Speaking of space, I drive a BIG car and I have been driving big cars for some years – my friends joke that I have “mum mobiles” – something that this car could proudly consider itself as it is one of the most spacious cars I’ve ever driven. There was so much room, both in the back and the front, that it made sitting as a family of 5 comfortable. The car has 3 isofix points in comparison to the majority of cars that only have 2 which makes it ideal for a larger family and at the end of the year they will be offering up a 7 seat version for anyone with a larger family still. As well as being comfortably spacious, the car has 28 storage compartments, which delighted the mother in me more than I can tell you. I used to keep toys in my storage compartments of my old car but they were often too small. These are impressive and ideally sized for changes of clothes, toys and books in case we break down and all the more practical things like blankets, first aid kits etc.
Just because I’ve said that this car is the King of practical and without the excessive and unnecessary pomp, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of innovation around the car to make it easy to drive and keep your family safe. For me the huge windows and blind spot sensors made looking out for potential hazards easier than ever, even with the kids squabbling in the back or demanding “look at this mummy!” knowing full well that I’m driving and unable to look. Parking sensors at the front and rear of the car are a must for me nowadays for the same reason I love the sliding doors – it’s often impossible to see what you are doing as efficiently with swing arms in the back of the car, distracting and blocking views. This car takes that one step further with Advanced park assist – a feature that I tried in Morrisons car park before loading up the car with pumpkins for the kids to carve for the front of the house.
Another thing that I noticed (and appreciated) was the HUGE boot space, perfect for a pushchair, the boys sports equipment and everything in between (there is A LOT inbetween ha!). As a family that own dogs the boot space would have been perfect for fitting both the children across the three back seats and then the dogs in a crate in the boot if we were heading off for a moors walk or even on holiday.
All in all I was incredibly impressed with what I would describe as a fantastic choice for an active family car on a budget. The Vauxhall Combo Life starts from just £19,610 which is dramatically less than a lot of family cars that we have test driven and looked at over the last 3 years since becoming a larger family. The car is perfect for anyone looking for practical and efficient with safety features and space without compromising on price.