Rochdale Observer - - THE LAUGHING BADGER -

AUXHALL seem to be on a bit of a roll at the mo­ment - after some time in the dol­drums - pick­ing up a num­ber of awards for their lat­est ve­hi­cles.

The most re­cent suc­cess came for our sec­ond test car this week, the Combo Life MPV, which has won AUTOBEST’s Best Buy Car of Europe 2019. The awards are given by an in­de­pen­dent judg­ing panel com­posed of ex­pert mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ists from 31 coun­tries.

That suc­cess came on top of Vauxhall’s In­signia flag­ship tak­ing Best Large Fam­ily Car for the sec­ond year in a row at the Car­buyer Best Car Awards and the Up­per Medium Cat­e­gory at the in­au­gu­ral Com­pany Car To­day CCT100 Awards.

The rugged Coun­try Tourer ver­sion was also recog­nised as Best 4x4 at the Scot­tish Car of the Year Awards 2018 and Best Cross­over Es­tate at 4x4 mag­a­zine’s 2018 awards.

Last Sep­tem­ber, the all-new Combo Cargo (the van ver­sion of our test car) was voted In­ter­na­tional Van of the Year 2019 by a jury of spe­cial­ist jour­nal­ists from 25 Euro­pean coun­tries and it also took What Van? Light Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle of the Year 2019.

So what is all the fuss about? Well we got our hands on a Combo Life En­ergy, which had a 1.5 diesel en­gine giv­ing out a mod­est 99bhp mean­ing 0 to 60 in a re­spectable 12.7 sec­onds and top speed of 107.

But where this mo­tor scores highly is in con­sump­tion, up to a shade over 70mpg on a run (67.3 com­bined) which only drops to 62.8 on the ur­ban cy­cle,.

Add to that our top-of-the-range ver­sion had all the bells and whis­tles - even high end kit like heads up dis­play (a fit­ted ex­tra), heated seats, rear cam­era and an 8-inch in­fo­tain­ment cen­tral touch­screen with DAB ra­dio, sat­nav and An­droid/Ap­ple con­nec­tion, cruise con­trol and a whole raft of safety sys­tems.

These in­clude auto emer­gency brak­ing with pedes­trian de­tec­tion, lane keep­ing as­sist, for­ward col­li­sion alert and even a driver drowsi­ness warn­ing sys­tem.

But where the Combo re­ally comes into its own is load and pas­sen­ger space. Be­ing van-de­rived means lots of room on the in­side plus many clever stor­age fea­tures - yes it is a bit minibus-like but what a great load lug­ger.

It is no sur­prise that the Combo is based on the Ber­lingo plat­form of new own­ers PSA group, although Vauxhall say the ve­hi­cle was

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