I n September 2018, the fifth generation of the Opel Combo will be available from dealers. So that you don't turn up there completely unprepared, we have already been on the road with the high roof combination and can tell you where the strengths and weaknesses of the variable Rüsselsheimer lie. Opel provides the 1.5-liter top diesel with 130 hp and the basic petrol engine, a 110 hp three-cylinder, for test drives. To start with, we roar in the diesel engine.
No blender on the asphalt
It doesn't take many kilometers to find out that the combo is an honest guy who does not pretend to be anything other than a leisurely practitioner. The four-cylinder diesel is an old friend from the engine portfolio and does not cause any surprises. In the top version, Opel optionally couples the 1.5-liter to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which does the shifting work for the driver. If you want to intervene yourself, you can use the shift paddles on the steering wheel and, if necessary, select manual driving mode at the push of a button. Before itgoes into the limiter, however, the combo switches itself. From 3,000 revolutions it gets grumpy, but here you have already left the comfort zone. Does it have to be that way? No, because the Combo is not a car that wanted to be challenged longitudinally or transversely. As I said, an honest guy.
When it comes to curvy terrain, the chassis should still have been a bit tighter, because even at low speeds you can feel swaying movements. In the absence of lateral support and a slight tendency to understeer, this is not an experience that a combo pilot would want to have all the time. But the high-roof station wagon scores with long-distance comfort when cruising comfortably on the motorway. Up to 19 assistance systems are at the driver's side. In addition, there are successful cockpit ergonomics and excellent all-round visibility. Only the interior mirror could have used a few centimeters of additional size, as it does not even depict the entire rear window on its surface. This is not a problem when parking, however, because thanks to camera support, the combo hits even tight parking spaces precisely.
Depending on the purpose for which you want to buy the combo, however, the gasoline engine is more recommended. The lively three-cylinder from PSA moves quickly and delivers, should that be a purchase argument, greater driving pleasure. Coupled with the manual six-speed gearbox, things are surprisingly quick. Whereby the sixth gear first has to be engaged for speeds above 100 km /h. It gets sluggish and booming underneath. So if you are not primarily buying the Combo for longer family trips, then the three-cylinder is the clear recommendation. In the city and on the country road, the 110-hp engine is elastic and lively, it only starts to look strained from 3,500 revs would have suspected such a vehicle. However, the manual transmission has one catch: the gearshift lever. With its almost cubic shape, it takes some getting used to and doesn't want to be really comfortable in the hand. It's better to put your fingers around the steering wheel, because the steering can be moved comfortably, directly and easily. So even with a car of this size you can easily get around tight bends.
Life with Lifestyle
Generation five has become quite handsome - Good looks have not always been part of the combo designer’s specifications. The model was supposed to be an inexpensive high-roof station wagon when it was launched in 1986 based on the Kadett E. The new combo, the Life version of the passenger car, even goes a bit in the direction of lifestyle.
The Opel Combo with the high, short nose comes in two wheelbases (2.78 meters and 2.97 meters) and therefore two Lengths on the market: 4.45 and 4.75 meters. Both variants are available with either five or seven seats. The three places in the second row are equipped with an Isofix child seat holder as standard. The rear seats of the new Opel Combo can be removed. The foldable passenger seat enables a flat loading floor with a length of 2.70 meters (long version: 3.05 meters). In the long version, the rear seat can be moved lengthways by 130 millimeters. Optionally, a large sun canopy lets daylight into the interior of the Combo. Opel also promises to equip the combo with up to 19 modern assistance systems, an optional head-up display and a 180-degree reversing camera.
The seats in rows two and three can be folded down, and the storage space is 597 up to 2,693 liters.
Like the Grandland X, the new combo is also based on the EMP2 platform (Efficient Modular Platform) from Opel's mother PSA. The platform enables different wheelbases, front and all-wheel drive, and high and low bodies. Compared to the previous platform PF2, EMP2 saves by using high-strength steels, aluminum andMagnesium 70 kg weight. The first EMP2-based vehicles came with the second generation of the Peugeot 308 and the second generation of the Citroën C4 Picasso in 2013. Peugeot is introducing the new 508 as the next offspring of EMP2.
The new combo is not alone, but is born as part of quadruplets. Its sister models, which only differ externally, are called Peugeot Rifter, Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo - after all, GM sold Vauxhall together with Opel on August 1, 2017 to the PSA Group. Vauxhall's right-hand drive vehicles are intended for the British and Northern Irish markets.
As a drive for the Combo, Opel offers 1.2-liter petrol engines with 110 and 130 hp and 1.5-liter turbodiesels with 100 and 130 hp. The basic engines are coupled to a manual six-speed gearbox, the more powerful versions pass their moments on to a new eight-speed automatic - the more powerful diesel is also available as a manual switch.
The first thing you notice is the airy feeling of space: there is space in the Opel Combo in all directions. The seats are comfortable even without the AGR logo (AGR: Healthy Back Campaign) and the flat alcove above the heads of the driver and front passenger looks almost stylish. By the way, if you put something in a shelf in the new Combo, you should note which one: The trolley is equipped with 28 of these small parts storage options. The very wide center console fits in with the feeling of space - its dimensions would also fit a luxury car. Either the easily accessible gear lever or a flat rotary actuator for the new eight-speed automatic protrudes from the console. The selector lever for the automatic gear selection seems to be slowly dying out: Jaguar and Land Rover have been using the rotary knob for a long time, and Ford is doing this at new Focus now also. The surfaces match the uncomplicated character of the vehicle and are therefore, as expected, inexpensive.
Nice and cozy
A button on the steering wheel promises warmth in winter: the steering wheel heating can be activated here. The entire tax, which has been flattened at the bottom, including satellites, comes from Opel, so even regular customers do not miss any brand identity. Other heaters are the windscreen heater and the seat heater for the front seats.
A head-up display is one of the features that generate customer satisfaction of almost 100 percent. And such a super comfortable display is now optionally also available for the combo. Of course, this is the budget variant with an additional fold-out pane - but that's much better than nothing. The display shows, for example, the current speed, the recognized traffic signs and the data of the lane departure warning system in a clearly legible manner.
Great to enjoy from the second row: the huge panoramic roof. The view up is halved by an alcove extending from front to back, which is surrounded by an LED light strip along its entire length. The partially transparent floor of the alcove allows the occupants to see where something is stowed there. Getting on and off in row two works just as easily as in row one. The sliding doors in the second row not only save space when they are opened, they also cannot be accidentally knocked against the neighboring vehicle - good protection for impetuous children and careless adults. The sliding door on the driver's side costs extra.
One seat: 14 kilograms
The seats in row three leave expand and lift out of the car relatively easy on your back: one seat weighs 14 kilograms - other expandable seats can weigh 20 kilograms and more.
A practical detail awaits at the very end of the combo: the rear window can be opened open separately. To do this you have to reach under the edge under which the button for the entire tailgate is located (a button on the rear wiper would be more ergonomic), but you can still throw a small sports bag or other junk in the trunk.
The new Opel Combo is a practical, comfortable and probably also very affordable space saver. Young families and everyone who likes to take a lot or large luggage with them are well served with the Combo. In addition, the car is not only flexible, but also available with many assistants. There are no frills in the combo - even the automatic operation is modern using a rotary switch. This should go well with the current lifestyle.
In the 32 years of its existence, the Combo model series already has a technically eventful history behind it. While the first generation built until 1993 was based on the Kadett E, the second generation built until 2001 was based on the Corsa B. For the third generation (until 2011), the Corsa C was then used. The fourth generation, available until 2018, was based on the SCCS (Small Common Components and Systems Platform) platform developed by GM in collaboration with Fiat, on which the Fiat 500X, the Jeep Compass and the Ram ProMaster City are based.
Combo, Rifter and Berlingo roll off the assembly line at PSA's Iberian Industrial Division plants in Vigo (Spain) and Mangualde (Portugal). A fourth shift will be introduced in Vigo and a third shift in Mangualde.
Der Sales of the Combo Life will start in May 2018, the first wagons will be available from dealers from September, the cargo variant will follow later in the year. The 130 PS petrol engine will be available from autumn 2019. Prices start at 19,995 euros. The Combo Life Edition, which comes with a multimedia radio, leather steering wheel and air conditioning, costs at least 23,450 euros. At least 31,550 euros are due for the large diesel with eight-speed automatic and top-of-the-range innovation.