The Opel Combo has also been available to order with a battery-electric drive since June 2021. We took the Combo-e Life for a spin and looked at what differentiates the electric high-roof combo from the combustion engine version.
Practical for everyday use, suitable for travelling, honest driving behavior, inexpensive - it is not difficult to give the Opel Combo Life the title of multi-talent. But does this also work as an electric version? First spoiler in advance: absolutely. Just a little different and with a small difference. But one after anonther.
First, let's clarify how the electric combo drives: One step on the accelerator pedal and the high-roof combo buzzes, but feels almost a bit sluggish, which is solely due to the "Eco" driving program that has been selected. Depending on the mode, the 136 hp electric motor does not confront the front axle with its full power, which means that the Combo-e accelerates butter-softly out of the bottom in Eco mode. If you set it to "Normal", the family station wagon pushes forward much more energetically. The typical "electric boom" is only available in power mode. Then the e-machine unleashes its 136 hp and 260 Nm of torque unbridled. And they have a really good effect on the senses from a standing start in the family van, which weighs between 1.67 and 1.74 tons, depending on the version - especially when starting off quickly from traffic lights.
According to the manufacturer, the standard sprint takes 11.2 seconds, depending on the variant. If you want to be dramatically faster, however, you'll look down the drain, as the Combo-e Life electronically limits at 135 km/h.
Recuperation, battery and range
And the brake feel? That's always a problem with regenerative braking systems. How does the transition from recuperation to manual braking work? Very good. The braking process can be dosed relatively easily. A highly sensitive driver's foot is therefore not required if you want to decelerate appropriately when entering a corner. However, if you fight your way through traffic stop-and-go, you will not be spared one or the other typical stuttering, even in the electric combo – despite every sensitivity when braking.
The system feeds the generated energy back into a 50 kWh battery unit – there are two different recuperation levels to choose from while driving. It stores enough juice for a maximum range of 280 kilometers (WLTP).
Long-distance drivers are sure to think about the latter. After all, not everyone has the desire and nerves to interrupt the long-distance journey too often for charging breaks. At a DC charging station, the Combo-e Life creates a maximum of 100 kW and, according to the manufacturer, is back to 80 percent in 30 minutes. We also know the values from the other Stellantis models that are based on the group's CMP platform. With our standard three-phase 11 kW on-board charger, five hours and five minutes pass for a complete charging cycle.
Low vehicle center of gravity
Opel installs the lithium-ion battery in the underbody of the car. First and foremost, this saves space, so that the electric combo does not lose anything in terms of space - more on that later. In addition, the low-placed battery ensures a low vehicle center of gravity and balanced weight distribution. The family van lies noticeably more firmly on the asphalt.
The Opel engineers also did a good job of comfort: the e-combo skilfully absorbs bumps on the country road, while remaining remarkably stable when cornering at high speed. Above all, the steering would like to act a little more directly. If you are looking for load changes, you will be confronted with moderate swaying, which is perfectly fine in this vehicle category and can be easily controlled at any time.
Heaps of space and storage space
Anyone who travels with kith and kin often wants to have all sorts of odds and ends on board. No problem in the Opel Combo. Here's another storage compartment, there's another shelf - if you're driving around a drinking bottle, diapers, cuddly toy and the like and want to keep things tidy, you'll quickly warm up to the electric Opel. As an option, the people from Rüsselsheim hang a 36-liter box above the luggage compartment cover on the roof as a highlight.
And the family station wagon really shines in terms of space: the manufacturer puts the trunk volume of the Combo-e Life at 597 to 2,126 liters. The three rear seats - each equipped with Isofix brackets - can be removed and folded down in a few simple steps. If that's not enough, you can also find an XL model with a capacity of 850 to 2,693 liters in the price list. The Combo-e Life then grows from 4.40 to 4.75 meters in length, gets two additional seats in the rear and thus offers space for two additional passengers.
Cockpit and equipment
It's almost surprising that the amazing shallows of the lockable compartment in the center console and the inductive smartphone tray aren't quite enough to accommodate another child. Which brings us to the front of the cockpit. What immediately catches the eye there, in addition to the excellent driver overview, is the wide plastic landscape - as expected, visually simple, but haptically very robust. She also gets along with impetuous contemporaries on board. ,
Everything looks tidy around the easily accessible controls under the eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation system, energy flow graphics and more. Only in terms of gear selection - in the conventional model it is still done via a rotary actuator - you have to search briefly. P, R, N, D and B (for stronger recuperation) are now selected using the same simple toggle switch that Opel also installs in the Zafira-e, for example. The knob is now available for the optional adaptive traction system, which also knows settings for snow and mud and the hill start assistant in addition to the ESP deactivation.
In contrast to the electric Zafira, which still communicates speed, charge level and performance status via analogue needle, the Combo-e Life has a fully digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. That's how it should be, since the digital displays are much better suited to a family van with an electric drive. A head-up display also lights up for an additional charge. The system then projects information such as speed, recognized traffic signs and data from Lane Keeping Assist in an easily legible manner onto a fold-out additional pane in the driver's field of vision.
The test car with the optional panorama roof of the combo illuminates us from above. Thanks to the LEDs on its roof gallery, which runs through the middle, the interior looks even more homely. Besides the beautiful view for passengers in the second row, what else does this feature entail? More storage space, because the gallery also serves as a storage compartment.,
38,100 euros starting price
In terms of assistance systems, Opel equips the Combo-e Life lavishly. The standard features range from collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection to hill start and lane departure warning, traffic sign and drowsiness detection to distance cruise control. Air conditioning and thermal insulation glazing are also included. The standard model starts at 38,100 euros. Depending on the predefined equipment line (Edition, Elegance and Ultimate) you are from 39,850 euros, 40,700 euros. or 42,550 euros included. Only Elegance is available for the XL version (42,400 euros). The Combo e-Life can be funded with an environmental bonus of 9,570 euros.
Like its conventional brother, the Opel Combo-e Life is a real all-rounder when it comes to everyday suitability and family suitability. Admittedly, one would not have expected otherwise.
But can he also travel? Theoretically yes. The 280 WLTP kilometers are illusory in everyday life, if you are on a long-distance journey, you have to go to the charging station earlier. With children or pets on board, they are always in line and can therefore actually be combined quite well with the loading breaks. If you want to do without the compulsory breaks, you can travel a good deal more independently with the combustion engine. But in the end everyone has to decide for themselves.