The Combo Life comes in two sizes, regular and XL, the latter of which is longer. Both are available with five- or seven seats
. So far, though, we’ve only had the chance to try the regular version in five-seat format. For five passengers, cars don’t come a whole lot more practical than this. There’s absolutely tons of headroom, legroom and shoulder room for rear-seat passengers, and every person gets a seat that has the same width and side support (in other words, whoever’s in the middle doesn’t get lumbered with a seat that’s hard, raised and narrow like they do in most cars).
In the five-seat version, the rear bench is split 60/40 and drops down flush to the boot floor, and the flat footwell means that everyone gets plenty of room for their feet. Parents with large families
will want to know that this is one of the few cars where you can fit three child seats (so long as they’re not too bulky) across the middle row.
In the seven-seater, you get three individual seats in the middle row - which makes it even more versatile – as well as the extra (foldable and removable) ones in the boot. However, having not tried a seven-seat version – either in regular or XL format – we can’t tell you how the various seats do for space.
The regular Combo Life has a huge 597-litre boot
when loaded up to the parcel shelf, and that figure climbs to 2126 litres if you drop the back seats and load up to the roof. The XL claims corresponding figures of 850 litres and 2693 litres. That parcel shelf is also solid, and can be installed at various heights in the boot to act as a genuine shelf. Genius.
The sliding rear doors make it a doddle for your passengers to get in and out in a tight parking spot, but in the same environment, it’s not nearly so easy to open the boot due to the length of the tailgate.
The Combo’s commercial vehicle roots are apparent inside the cabin, because the materials on show look to have been chosen for their durability rather than their tactility. All the surfaces are hard and scratchy on the fingertips, meaning more conventional MPVs
feel a bit posher inside. The Combo’s van-like character does come into its own when it comes to cabin storage, though. Everywhere you look there’s another cubby hole, lidded bin, cup holder, shelf or pocket, so you’ll never be short of somewhere to stash your bits and bobs. You also get a van-like driving position which is elevated and upright, giving you a clear view of the road ahead, and the massive windows mean that your view is almost as good behind you. What isn’t quite so good, though, is the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment
system you get with the higher-level Energy-trimmed car. Its layout and menus aren’t hugely logical, and the reactions and screen transitions are rather slow.
You might be expecting particularly great things on the road from a van-derived people carrier, but the Combo Life might well represent a pleasant surprise. The soft suspension soaks up lumps and bumps really effectively, so it’s a comfortable and smooth way to get around. Yes, the body can start to feel a little bit floaty on an undulating road, but the movement is controlled well enough that it won’t have you or your brood feeling seasick. And, while the body does lean over a bit in bends, there’s not as much as you might expect, so it feels pretty stable if you keep your cornering speeds sensible. That said, the car’s considerable size, along with slow steering, still make direction changes feel more laboured than they do in a more conventional MPV, even if the tight turning circle helps a lot with low-speed manoeuvres. What the car is really good at, though, is isolating exterior noises. Road noise is particularly well suppressed, and there isn’t too much in the way of wind noise, either, especially given the car’s upright design.