Last weekend we spent a really lovely weekend in Knaresborough visiting friends and family. We had the opportunity to try out the new Vauxhall Combo Life too and see if it could cope with our family of 5 and all our stuff!
In summary we are happy to confirm that it did cope with all of our families stuff as you can see from the photos below – this is what we managed to get in – and we still had room!
My brother and his family have recently moved to Yorkshire so last weekend we decided to head over to see them, their new house and celebrate my birthday. We also have other friends just down the road so we combined visiting them all too.
Knaresborough if you don’t know it is a really lovely village just north of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. It’s just under two and half hours from our home on the Wirral so we gave the Vauxhall Life a good run out on the Saturday morning in torrential rain and another good run out coming back late on Sunday, in much more pleasant weather.
We filled up the boot with suitcases, girls bags, wellies, extra coats and the usual small mountain of things you need to pack for a family of five for a simple weekend away. Long gone are the days of a small bag and a change of knickers, but then the sort of people this car is for don’t tend to fly off to Monaco for a long weekend in the sun!
Before we go any further what has to be acknowledged about the Vauxhall Combo Life is that practicality has been put before design. The bright red of our hire car perhaps didn’t down play it’s van like qualities than perhaps a black, grey or silver model may have done, but there is no getting away from the tall squareness of the Combo Life that screams practical not desirable.
However for a practical family car that retails below £20,000 its safety kit is incredibly impressive.
The seven seater which we tried has three Isofix child seat points in the three large rear seats, which is pretty difficult to find and is much appreciated by larger families. You could get all our three car seats in there with ease and there was plenty of leg room for our children aged 8, 7 and 7.
There is also no getting away from how much more convenient sliding doors are than normal doors when you’re parked in a small town car park and you need to get 3 kids out of the car without scratching the car at the side of you! Yes, just as it sounds, we appreciated that feature over the weekend and I managed not to scratch anyone elses car.
There are also lots of useful pockets for the kids to keep their many trinkets in, most of which I imagine we sent back to the garage when it was collected as I won’t have managed to check them all.
The boot is absolutely enormous too; a big square space of 597 litres to the window line, or 897 on the XL version, rising to apparently well over 2,000 litres with the rear seats folded. The seven seater has the same issue as all seven seaters though as that once the seats are up the boot space is practically no existent, but with just the three kids in the car it was a fantastic size.
Sticking with safety points, there is a rather rigid lane keep assist (it pulls you back into the lane on the motorway, or pulls you back if you don’t indicate) and I couldn’t work out how to turn it off, or soften it a little but I did really like the sat nav that appears on the small screen in front of you with the speed detector too, and I also like the lights that flash in the wing mirrors to show you if it’s safe to pull out or if there is someone in your blind spot. It felt a little perhaps like the car was driving you, rather than you driving it, but the added safety features were a really useful addition.
We certainly had fun in the Vauxhall Combo Life, we even managed to fit in some horse riding at a friends and the car coped more than adequately with the slightly off road nature of the driveway. I’ve no idea why the Christmas hats made an appearance for the horse riding lessons but having the wellies stashed in the boot was certainly a good idea. That’s the beauty of a car like this, you don’t need to worry about what you can take and what you have to leave as you can simply throw it all in.
We did over 200 miles in the car over the weekend and used less than half a tank of petrol. The stats tell me that a “1.2-litre unit offering an average fuel economy of 51.4mpg and 125g/km emissions, with the 1.5-litre turbo-diesel comes with 99bhp or 128bhp, the former being the more efficient at 67.3mpg and 111g/km” All I really know is that because I probably wasn’t driving as fast as I usually do, I definitely used less petrol and I was therefore more efficient. Whether that fact was due to the car being slower, it being new to me, or the fact that I was driving more to the speed limit due to the lights flashing up if I went anywhere over I’m not sure.
The car certainly served its purpose and if you want a sensibly priced, large, practical family car, then I’d definitely check it out. Just look at how much you can get in it!
You can find out more about the Vauxhall Combo Life here.
You can read another review of the Vauxhall Combo Life here from Globalmouse.
Disclosure: Vauxhall loaned me a Combo Life for this trip and compensated me for writing this post. All words, images and opinions are my own, as ever.
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.