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Road Test: Vauxhall Vivaro Combi

The double cab has become an increasingly popular layout for those looking to carry a combination of people and goods, with a second row of seats and a dedicated load area behind. Those looking for additional people-carrying ability will be more tempted by the full-on Combi though.

Vauxhall’s Vivaro Combi can be had on L1 and L2 chassis, both offering nine seats in three rows of three. Unlike a double cab, the Combi is a fully glazed bus, with roof lining and floor coverings running the full length of the vehicle.

The second row of seats has a 60/40 split folding backrest, while the rear bench can be folded and tumbled forward to create more luggage space. Unusually, only the left hand mid-row seat folds forward, to provide access to the rear seats. While this ensures that rear seat passengers load from the kerb side it could limit versatility, given that there are sliding doors on both the left and right of the van.

If required both second and third row seats can be removed completely, to maximise the load space. However on this L2 chassis there is a huge amount of storage space already, even with the rear seats in place. Certainly an airport hotel shuttle or similar minibus operation should find more than enough room for cases when carrying eight passengers.

The second generation Vivaro is a good looking van, both inside and out. Our test vehicle had been enhanced with the optional Appearance Pack 2 (£1,188) including body coloured front and rear quarter bumpers, wheel trims, front fogs and LED daytime running lights. A leather-clad steering wheel, embossed seat trim, chrome-effect instrument surrounds and a lidded storage compartment complete the pack inside the cab.

The test van had also been equipped with a sight and light pack (£235), air conditioning (£756), a Flexdock smartphone docking station (£30) and a nav package (£995), pushing the on-the-road price way north of £30,000.

Our Combi was a pre-2016 model year van, so came powered by the 115hp Euro 5 version of Vauxhall’s 1.6-litre CDTi engine. However given its people-carrying abilities, all 2016 model year and beyond specification vans now boast a Euro 6 motor, offering 95hp in single turbo and 125hp in bi-turbo forms.

Both Euro 6 engines come with Start/Stop as standard, while the 125hp engine is supplied in full ecoFLEX trim. The lower powered engine boasts 44.8mpg with 164g/km of CO2 while the higher powered twin turbo promises up to 49.6mpg and 149g/km.

With either engine the Combi should deliver an easy, comfortable drive, with plenty of pulling power and competitive economy. The additional sound deadening and body lining material that comes with the people-carrying layout also make the Combi a very quiet van to drive and ride in.

Which is the point of course, the Combi is as much about the passengers as it is the driving experience. Certainly if you had to travel in the back of the Vivaro Combi, it would be no hardship.

What we think

Vauxhall’s Vivaro Combi builds on the strengths of its award-winning mid-weight van. In L2 layout in particular there is plenty of room to carry people and their luggage in comfort.


MODEL                       Vauxhall Vivaro Combi L2H1 2900 1.6CDTi

BASIC PRICE              £27,719

ENGINE                        4-cyl/1,598 cc

FUEL INJECTION       Common-rail

POWER                      115hp @ 3,500rpm

TORQUE                     300Nm @ 1,750rpm             

Weights (kg)

GVW                           3,020 

KERB WEIGHT          1,901

PAYLOAD                   944


Dimensions (mm)

LOAD SPACE LENGTH          1,136

LOAD SPACE WIDTH                        1,662

LOAD HEIGHT                       552

LOAD VOLUME                      1.8-4.0 m3 

Cost considerations

COMBINED CO2/MPG           174g/km/42.8 mpg

Oil Change                              2 yr/25,000 miles    

Warranty                               3 yr/100,000 miles

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Written by Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.

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