Vauxhall Combo Life 100kW Ultimate 50kWh 5dr Auto

  • Automatic
  • Electric
  • 5 door mpv
  • 11.7 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 136 bhp Engine power
  • 199 mi Combined range
  • 50 kWh Battery capacity
  • 8 yrs Battery warranty

Ten Second Review

Vauxhall's fully electric small MPV, this Combo Life Electric, gets a useful update here both inside and out, but the main change is a significantly greater driving range between charges. As a result, like its Peugeot and Citroen design counterparts, it might be tempting option if you're looking for a full-electric compact family car and don't want a compact SUV. Here, there's the option of a 7-seat cabin too, which is quite rare to find in an EV at present.

Background

Because current Vauxhall vans must all have fully electric powertrain options these days, MPV customers also get offered BEV technology. This is provided both with the large Vivaro Life Electric model and also with this smaller Combo Life Electric, which shares its design with two French counterparts, the Citroen e-Berlingo and the Peugeot E-Rifter. As with those two models, this battery Combo has been significantly updated here, with the longer driving range, smarter looks and an updated front-of-cabin experience with enhanced media connectivity. But the boxy practicalities are just as before and are unaffected by the battery installation.

Driving Experience

We'd expected that this improved Combo Life Electric would get the same improved 54kWh battery lately fitted to the closely related Corsa Electric. That is after all, what's been fitted to this MPV model's clone, the otherwise near-identical Citroen e-Berlingo. Instead, like its other cousin, Peugeot's E-Rifter, this Vauxhall must continue with the same 50kWh battery it had before, though the cells have been worked on - with some significant results. This Combo Life Electric can now go 205 miles between charges, a useful 31 miles further than before. Much the same electric motor propels this MPV, a 136PS unit with 260Nm of pulling power but a particularly modest top speed (just 84mph). And you'll struggle to get that (and particularly eager acceleration) if you select the 'Eco' drive mode necessary to get anywhere near the quoted range stat. This reduces the powertrain's total 136PS output to just 80PS and also restricts the climate system to conserve power. Vauxhall recommends that you do most of your driving in the 'Normal' setting, which increases the motor output to 107PS. The top 'Power' mode you'll need for the full output isn't really intended for sporty driving but for situations when you're carrying heavy loads. There's a three-level regenerative braking system operable via paddles behind the steering wheel. The fiercest setting increases the level of regen braking to a point where the car slows so much when you come off throttle that you'll very rarely need to use the brake, unless you're coming to a complete stop. And on the move? Well like all electric vehicles, this one has a bit of a weight problem - that drivetrain adds over 300kgs of bulk, but that arguably helps the Combo Life Electric when it comes to ride quality; you'll feel things like speed humps keenly, but at speed on the open road, it handles tarmac tears a little better than you might expect.

Design and Build

The original Combo-Life (later renamed the 'Combo Life Electric') was a rather apologetic-looking thing. A bit too van-like and sensible, even for the aesthetically undemanding customers who want a small van-based MPV. This updated model won't stop the other school mums in their tracks, but it's a much more appealing-looking thing thanks to the addition of Vauxhall's signature 'Vizor' grille design. Plus restyled bumpers and much slimmer LED headlights that can optionally feature adaptive IntelliLux matrix technology. As before, two body lengths are available - 'Medium' (4.41m) and (if you want seven seats) 'XL' (4.76m). Inside, there's a considerably more far-reaching fascia redesign than you usually get with a facelift; this model's needed it to accommodate the latest Stellantis Group media tech. Namely a 10-inch digital instrument display that provides navigational information and energy consumption data. And a bigger 10-inch central touchscreen with wireless 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-connectivity. The steering wheel's been redesigned too and has a set of paddles behind it for control of the different strengths of the regenerative braking system. The second row features a 60/40 split-folding seats, while the front passenger seat can be fully folded extending the length of the load area so that even large items, such as flat-pack furniture or ladders, can be carried inside. Medium variants with five seats feature up to 597-litres of boot space, extending up to 2,126-litres of space with the rear row folded. While 'XL' variants come with 850-litres of space, and up to 2,693-litres with the rear rows folded.

Market and Model

Prices start from around £32,000 and there's a premium of £900 if you want to progress from the five-seat 'Medium' body shape to the seven-seat long wheelbase 'XL' version. There are two trim levels - base 'Design' and the plusher five-seat-only 'Ultimate', for which you'll need close to £35,000. 'Design' spec gives you quite a lot - a 10 inch centre touchscreen, air conditioning, roof rails, 16 inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and Vauxhall remote smart phone access. 'Ultimate' spec adds navigation, a heated steering wheel and an electronic dual zone climate control. A key option is the adaptive, glare-free IntelliLux LED Matrix headlights. These incorporate a total of 14 LED elements - seven on each side - to ensure that the road is optimally illuminated in the dark and without glaring other road users In total, the Combo Life Electric can now offer up to 18 state-of-the-art driver assistance systems. The highlights include Adaptive Cruise Control with stop & go function as well as a high-resolution 180-degree rear-view camera. Intelli-Grip with hill descent control provides a firm grip on difficult surfaces such as snow, mud or sand. Sensors at the front and rear as well as flank guard and blind spot warning facilitate safe manoeuvring. Numerous additional systems such as Driver Attention Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert with Emergency Braking complete the portfolio.

Cost of Ownership

We mentioned the improved WLTP-rated range in our Driving Experience section - 205 miles. To optimise range, you'll need to make full use of the car's regenerative braking system, regularly activating the fiercest mode via steering wheel paddles to maximise energy recovery during braking. As you'd want, the Combo Life Electric supports up to 100kW rapid (DC) charging, with an 80% re-charge taking less than 30 minutes, while a full charge from a 7.4kW single-phase wallbox takes 7.5 hours thanks to the 7.4kW on-board charger. Customers with access to three-phase power can specify an optional 11kW on-board charger that will charge this Vauxhall in 4 hours 45 minutes, when using a wallbox that also supports this faster home-charging solution. As usual with a compact zero emissions EV model, there's a Benefit-in-Kind first year tax rate of just 2%. That's until 2025, as is exemption from London congestion and ultra-low emissions charges. Maintenance intervals are much as they would be for a combustion model, but there'll be less for the workshop to do, so costs should be lower. There are plenty of Vauxhall outlets to choose from, so you should never be too far from one. So you can budget ahead, the brand offers various servicing pre-payment schemes that let you pay either a one-off fee or monthly instalments to cover the cost of the routine upkeep of your car. Insurance groups range between 18A and 21A.

Summary

This improved Combo Life Electric probably won't be the family car you promised yourself but it could well be the one you really need. Assuming that your Vauxhall dealer has delivered a sharper asking price quote than you could have got for this car's virtually identical Citroen e-Berlingo and Peugeot E-Rifter design stablemates. This Vauxhall's probably ideal for family folk who want a spacious compact electric vehicle - maybe as a second car - but don't want an SUV. Something that's realistically priced - on a lease deal anyway - and has an acceptable driving range. Plus this Combo Life Electric can be a van if you need it to be. Everything you really need then. And nothing you don't.

  • Connected services
  • Multimedia NAVI audio system - 10in HD touchscreen,AM/FM/DAB digital radio, Wifi Mirroring, Bluetooth & 2 USB connection, Four speakers & two tweeters
  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls
  • Alloy-effect protective front skid plate
  • Body colour crossover flap
  • Body colour door handles
  • Body colour front and rear bumpers
  • Body colour side access door rail covers
  • Bodycolor license plate light support
  • Chrome-effect front grille bar
  • Magic wash
  • Nearside and offside sliding side access door with opening windows
  • Painted flap shied
  • Painted shiny black side protection mouldings
  • Roof bar predisposition
  • Roof rails
  • Short Antenna (200mm)
  • Tailgate with opening heated window and wash/wipe facility
  • 1 open glove compartment in the lower part
  • 12V socket in 2nd row
  • 12V socket in dashboard
  • Chrome effects instrument rings
  • Chrome inner door handles
  • Four load restraint lashing eyes
  • Four tie bracket points on trunk lower area
  • Full width overhead storage shelf with ambient lighting
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Height/reach adjust steering wheel
  • Individual co driver seat with armrest and folding shelf
  • Interior tailgate handle
  • Large open storage pocket behind infotainment screen
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Luggage compartment cover
  • Mistral cloth upholstery
  • Open storage compartment below glovebox
  • Passenger car complete roof garnish with overhead storage, Individual roof light and grap handle for row1 overhead storage and Row 2 trunk area light.
  • Small open storage compartment behind gear knob
  • Sport steering wheel
  • Sunvisor with ticket holder, Mirror, Lighting, Cover on driver and without mirror on passenger side
  • Toolbox on board
  • Twin gas assisted tailgate struts
  • Two drinks holder in centre console
  • Two facia mounted drinks holders
  • Two foldable table with cupholders
  • Two large and two small front open door pockets
  • Two rear door pockets
  • 3 rear 3 point seatbelts
  • Child locks on rear doors
  • Deactivation switch for front passenger front and side impact airbags
  • Driver/Front Passenger airbags
  • Front seatbelt unfastened audible warning and warning light
  • Full size curtain airbags
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings incorporating top tether anchor points located on second row rear seats
  • Lap and diagonal inertia reel seatbelts
  • Two front seat side-impact airbags
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • 2x 3-Button keys (lock, load area unlock, full car unlock)
  • Electric child security
  • Electronically protected audio equipment
  • Engine deadlock and immobiliser
  • Freewheeling door locks
  • Key left in ignition audible warning
  • Locking wheel bolts
  • Primary + spare folding keys
  • Remote control central deadlocking - Operates on doors, tailgate and filler flap,central locking activation switch on driver’s door
  • Remote control central locking
  • Visible vehicle identification number
  • Battery Capacity % guaranteed under warranty: 70
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 50
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Charge Time (Mins): 1350
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Power Supply - kW: 2.3
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Charge Time (Mins): 403
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Power Supply - kW: 7.4
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Charge Time (Mins): 290
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Power Supply - kW: 11
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Charge Time (Mins): 38
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Percentage Change: 0-80
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Power Supply - kW: 100
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Charging Port Location: Left Side Rear
  • Coupler/Connector Type: CCS Type 2
  • Maximum Charging Rate - kW: 100
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • Usable Battery Capacity: 47
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb: 320
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb: 199
  • CO: N
  • CO2 (g/km): 0
  • HC: N
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Noise Level dB(A): N
  • NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: N
  • Camshaft: N
  • Catalytic Convertor: N
  • CC: 1
  • Compression Ratio: N
  • Cylinder Layout: N
  • Cylinders: N
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): N
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): N
  • Engine Code: N
  • Engine Layout: N
  • Fuel Delivery: N
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: N
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • EC Combined (mpg): N
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: N
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Urban (mpg): N
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 0.0
  • Badge Power: 136
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: 100kW 50kWh
  • Coin Series: Ultimate
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 22P
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 24
  • Service Interval Mileage: 25000
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 11.7
  • Engine Power - BHP: 136
  • Engine Power - KW: 100
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 192
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 26.5
  • Engine Torque - NM: 260
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 3674
  • Top Speed: 81
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: N/A
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 205/60 R16
  • Tyre Size Rear: 205/60 R16
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: 7 SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 16" ALLOY
  • Height: 1812
  • Height (including roof rails): 1841
  • Length: 4403
  • Wheelbase: 2785
  • Width: 1921
  • Width (including mirrors): 2107
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): N
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2387
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 2126
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 983
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11