Our needs in life are constantly changing, and so do our requirements from a car. Some people own vehicles simply to get them from point A to B, while others lean towards utility and other practical elements. What happens when your requirements fall into more than one box? Well, that’s exactly where cars like the 2019 Opel Combo Life shine.
From a design perspective, it’s not too different from its competitors from other manufacturers, like the VW Caddy for instance. It’s a box-like shape with sliding doors on either side and not much else going on – they all have this in common. The Opel, however, has a more rounded off front end design, which makes it look less utility and more like a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) that intends on spending most of its days in domestic life.
This is the vehicle you buy if you’re looking for utility and space, as well as the practicality of having 5 seats for your beloved passengers once you’re off duty. The Opel Combo Life has been built to a good standard and you can feel it immediately when getting behind the wheel. There aren’t any intrusive rattles or loose panels, and even the drive feels solid. Locally, we currently have one engine option across the Combo range, the 1.6TD and really, it makes sense to have a duty vehicle run on diesel fuel. From a range perspective, you’ll be able to cover more ground from less fuel, and in the case of the Opel, a fuel range of 1000 km from one tank is not unheard of. When looking at the Opel Combo Life specs, the brand says on average you should be able to achieve a consumption figure of 5 litres per 100km, from an engine which produces 68 kW and 230 Nm. The drivetrain runs smoothly although it feels a bit under torqued. One thing many diesel fans love about their oil burners is the high torque, which can become addictive once you’re used to it. The Opel doesn’t give you this rewarding feeling. There’s one transmission option available here, and it’s a 5-speed manual. Given a choice, an auto would have been our preferred tool for this application, the stick shift just requires a lot of work in the Opel. Your left limbs are constantly under pressure due to the short gear ratios and not enough torque to stick it into high gear and leave it there.
With large windows all around, the interior feels rather open and airy, giving you a clear and unobstructed view of your surroundings. This makes parking the Opel Combo Life hassle-free, and just as well because it doesn’t have a reverse camera, only PDC as an option. On the dash is a 7-inch infotainment screen with features like Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay for smartphone integration. Cruise control and a multifunction steering wheel also come as one with this package, making this a good all-round offering from Opel. What’s even more impressive here are all the storage compartments that have been built into the interior. From overhead storage to compartments on the dash as well as beneath it, there’s endless storage and you’ll never run out of room for stashing your bits and bobs. Careful not to lose anything in the process. Versatility and space are the two main aspects here. We don’t have an Opel Combo Life 7 seater in SA as do other markets, but the 5 seater still offers impressive interior space. The boot has a flat floor space of 2.7 meters which can be partitioned using the cover-board to create a shelf. When partitioned, the board is sturdy enough to support groceries and even boxes. If the already substantial boot space isn’t meeting your needs, the rear seats can be folded flat to create a space the size of a small room, and they really do fold flat to give you one seamless floor all the way through. What’s the cost of all of this? Well, the Opel Combo Life’s price is fixed at R407 000 because there aren’t any other derivatives in the range aside from the panel van.
By Gugu Masuku