Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 review

Category: Small Van

Section: Performance & drive

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Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 tackles hill
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Being able to take the Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 off-road undeniably gives it an extra string to its bow, but this advantage would be negated if it were unable to master life on the road.

That’s why it has selectable two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, so the driver can choose to keep the van in front-wheel drive, saving fuel and money, until more traction is needed.

On the road, set to front-wheel-drive only, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice any difference between the Combo Cargo 4x4 and a regular Combo Cargo. Both vans steer and ride in much the same manner. And engaging four-wheel drive in the 4x4 doesn’t automatically mean that all four wheels are driven; the system only ever calls the rear wheels into action when it detects that the fronts are starting to slip.

The system employs a viscous-coupling to transfer as much torque as necessary to the rear, but will deftly shift it back to the front so that four-wheel-drive isn’t engaged longer than necessary. It works quietly and effectively, and in most scenarios you won’t notice it doing its work.

However, the fact that the system only ever sends drive to the rear wheels if the fronts lose traction occasionally means that you need to be aggressive with the accelerator off-road, particularly when you encounter boggy ground or steep slopes. Power and momentum are key to maintaining progress, so you’ll likely end up leaving the van in first gear for trickier terrain. It does mean a lot of noise, but it’s surprisingly effective. Beware though – if you fail to keep the revs high, the engine is quite easy to stall.

Its off-road ride quality is not as good as a pick-up truck’s, though, and there’s considerably more noise when debris ricochets off the underside of its body. However, on terrain where ground clearance isn’t an issue, the Combo Cargo 4x4 could take you almost as far off the beaten track as most other 4x4s, thanks to its approach angle of 26.6 degrees and departure angle of 38.3 degrees, as well as its break-over angle of 26 degrees. Vauxhall also claims it can climb 41-degree gradients.

Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4 tackles hill

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