by Seán Creedon
Last week I drove the Opel Combo Life and during the week the car reminded all the family of the Peugeot Rifter, which I had driven a few months back. The two cars, plus the Citroen Berlingo are all built on the same platform.
Up to a few years ago Peugeot and Citroen used to share the same Irish headquarters in Bluebell. And now Peugeot has bought Opel, so the family connections continue.
When I drove the Rifter people thought I was thinking of getting in the taxi business. And likewise with the Combo, but all I ended up doing was dropping various family members to different shopping centres and department stores.
There is certainly plenty of room in the combo for carrying shopping if you leave down the third row of seats. Inside the car there are also plenty of cubby holes to hold phones etc.
Seán Rooney, the obliging young man in Opel who handed over the keys of the car, told me that there are 28 places in the cabin to hold various items. I believed him and didn’t count them all.
Normally in these type of small cars/van you see workers clutter up the dash area with diaries, invoice books and various sized note books.
In the Combi there is plenty of overhead space in the cabin to keep those important diaries out of view of would-be thieves. It’s a bit like the overheard compartment on an airplane.
On the dash you get an eight-inch colour touch screen and the Apple CarPlay worked very well. Inside the decor is mainly black, but a white does lift the interior decor.
Rear sliding door
The Combo is popular with Taxi drivers and one of the reasons is the sliding rear door, which makes access and egress so easy for customers. Children also love that rear sliding door, which is ideal if you have to park in a tight space.
With three rows of seats there is no room for a spare wheel inside the car. But rest assured Opel have not forgotten and there is a spare underneath the car.
Dirty work if you get a puncture, but it’s still, I think, better than the dreaded repair kit.
Prices start at €23,840, but my seven-seater 1.5-litre turbo diesel version started at €25,560. It was a very frugal engine and road tax is only €200.
Van-based MPVs will never qualify as the best looking people carriers on the road. But what they do offer is outstanding practicality at good value pricing.
The Combo is a case in point. It’s easy to handle and with a reversing camera no difficulty parking.
I liked the old-fashioned style handbrake and the arm rest for the driver and front seat passenger. And I appreciated the pop-up display on the dash which tells you the speed limit on the road you are travelling on and your own speed.
My wife and my daughter complained that there was no vanity mirror and that they couldn’t adjust the passenger seat.
They reminded me that the driver gets three mirrors: a proper rear view mirror, a mirror to check the people in the back seats and a vanity mirror.
So it looks like Opel are of the opinion that it’s really all about the driver!