Used Vauxhall Combo Tour
The LCV (light commercial vehicle) market is one of the most competitive motoring segments there is. The drivers of these vans are the kind of small business operators that don't stand for any nonsense. Everyone knows that money is tight for small businesses and these vans must earn every penny of their keep and then some. These vans are driven by tradesmen, florists, couriers and the like, for whom practicality, economy and reliability are everything. With the Vauxhall Combo Tour, Vauxhall has delivered an extremely competitive option to this demanding market, with serious load carrying capabilities too.
The Vauxhall Combo Tour borrowed its underpinnings from the successful Fiat Doblo Cargo model to go up against the likes of the Berlingo and Kangoo in the compact van sector. Previous Vauxhall efforts in this sector were unimpressive with the Corsa van being too small and the Astra van's letterbox load dimensions being unsuited to the needs of many users. This time Vauxhall wanted to get it right and started with a clean sheet of paper. Having neglected to serve the market properly for so long, Vauxhall was determined to cover all bases. They therefore launched both long and short wheelbase versions of the Vauxhall Combo Tour which properly address all niches in the LCV segment for perhaps the first time.
Bang for your buck
The design of the Vauxhall Combo Tour is much different to that of its predecessors. That is not just because of its increased size, but more to do with its Fiat Doblo DNA. It is a big, boxy shape which goes down well in this market, with a pair of bulbous headlamps which definitely recall that Doblo parentage. The indicators in the door mirrors might not be so practical when it comes to the expense of replacing them after the inevitable prangs on tight urban streets. The cabin is practical though. There are plenty of storage bins and a large lockable glove compartment. The storage extends to overhead bins if you go for one of the better specs or high roof models. The driving position is very car-like with fully adjustable steering wheel and very comfortable seat, especially if you plump for a Comfort model with driver's seat height and lumbar control alongside a built-in armrest. It's all very business-like.
There is a choice of long and short wheelbase versions, the latter offering the choice of that high roof body. Loading bays range from 3.4 cubic metres to 4.2 cubic metres in a bay that is wide enough to take a standard pallet. The diesel engines offer stop-start fuel saving features and return up to 59mpg on the combined cycle. Service intervals are excellent too at 21,000 miles.
What you'll pay
A 2005 (55 Reg) Vauxhall Combo Tour 2000 CDTI SWB H/C with a tad over 100,000 miles covered comes in at £3,195. That will rise to around £10,000 for a 2012 (12 Reg) Vauxhall Combo Tour 2000 1.3CDTi 16V (90PS) L1 H1 Sportive model which has covered only 17,000 miles.
What to check
The underpinnings and mechanicals of the Vauxhall Combo Tour are proven and solid; just as they are designed to be. Clearly the Vauxhall Combo Tour is a beast of burden though, so check the suspension to make sure that previous owners have not been overly ambitious with their loads. Times have also been tough lately, so make sure previous owners haven't been tempted to skip the services and look for a fully stamped up log book.
Parts for the Vauxhall Combo Tour are cheap, with front brake disks from £35 and a starter motor at £75. An alternator will set you back nearer £99 (based on a 2006 diesel).
How it drives
Earlier models of the Vauxhall Combo Tour were based on the Vauxhall Corsa's running gear and that has not resulted in a great driving experience. The third generation vans have that more advanced Fiat Doblo platform and here drivers will get the sort of car-like performance they have come to expect from this class of van, with a supple but firm ride that offers comfort but can tackle heavy loads without too much body roll. The range of engines is good too and there is an automatic for those drivers who have to struggle through the stop start conditions of urban multi drop delivery routes. Overall then a used Vauxhall Combo Tour van will make a very dependable servant for many operators.