Opel Combo C is one of the small vans that any entrepreneur starting out should take a look at. Opel Combo C, the official “I’m a small man, but I say big things!” car.
By 2001 Opel saw how the world was starting to flock to cars like the Caddy Life or Kangoo or other vans with windows and said they wanted to enter the market stronger. Only they approached things differently and with extremism, which made the Opel Combo C a memorable car in the commercial vehicle market.
The idea back then was pretty simple – if you wanted something premium (although why you’d want a premium van is beyond me on a straight line like I’m on the M25 on a Sunday night when everyone is rushing to get home, to the pub or both) you went for the VW Caddy. If you wanted something that was halfway between practicality and comfort you went for the Renault Kangoo. And if you wanted the ultimate in practicality and utility then go for the Opel Combo C. Of course, things were to change in 2006 when the Logan MCV became the new champion of cheap and practical vans, but until then the Opel Combo C was sitting alone in the back parking lot of a hypermarket, hauling the supplies.
Yes, back then there was the Astra H Van, only the Opel Combo C went one step further. The whole idea of the Opel Combo C was to build the smallest and cheapest car that could fit a Euro pallet. So they took a Corsa C, kept the front half, and adapted the back to accommodate a Euro pallet for the plain Opel Combo and a row of seats and some luggage for the Opel Combo Tour, the version for people who don’t differentiate between relatives, children, potatoes and bags of cement. Plus it has a maximum authorized weight of between 570 and 750 kg depending on trim level, the equivalent of two shopping bags your parents make you carry against your will.
Opel Combo C Engines
- 1.4 MPI of 90 horsepower – Launched in 2004 just 2 years after the Logan MCV, so you’re better off going with the MCV because that 1.4 MPI is better than this one on the Combo / Corsa. Plus it’s even cheaper an MCV 1.4 MPI because you’re right at the bottom of the barrel in terms of comfort, equipment but also price.
- 1.6 MPI with 87, 94 and 97 horsepower – You can find it on the evergreen EcoTec with a camshaft and 8v but also with two camshafts and 16v, and I don’t have much to say about this engine as I’ve talked about it extensively in the Astra H article. Plus it’s realistically the only petrol that is worth the money on the Opel Combo C. The EGR clogs occasionally and you really need to change the water pump along with the timing kit and that’s about it.
- 1.3 CDTi of 70 and 75 horsepower – Great for carrying supplies to your guesthouse on the way out of town, particularly poor for the city. If you only use it in town you’ll have problems with EGR, particulate filter, flywheel, and injectors and that’s why this little David is sometimes looked at the wrongfullyy. It’s a comically reliable engine, but it’s not made for short trips and only around town. But at least you’ll find parts on absolutely every fence, the 1.3 MultiJet engine being a village bike of the car industry, being fitted even in Fiat Doblo, the Combo’s competition.
- 1.7 DI and DTI of 65 and 75 horsepower – First mentioned historically 2330 BC, this Isuzu engine is old, ancient, historic, reliable, and environmentally friendly.. Ah yes, have an ECU in the boot at all times because this engine is notorious for its ECU appetite.
- 1.7 CDTi of 65, 75, and 101 horsepower – By far the most popular engine in the Opel Combo C and an engine capable of all possible and impossible jobs. With an service interval of 40,000 km, Isuzu’s legendary 1.7 CDTi has done its job honorably. The main problems are from cracking coolant lines, alternators giving out prematurely, and don’t forget to change the water pump along with the timing kit.
General issues Opel Combo C
- You’re at the bottom of the barrel in terms of comfort and equipment so you have to ask just like when you are buying a Dacia Logan if the car has air conditioning, electric windows, or ABS (base versions didn’t have ABS).
- And generally cheap cars also attract people with a passion for cars and who look after them like they would after their children. That’s why you have to be careful not to get a model that’s more toasted than a guy who had way too many Mitsubishi’s at the swinger’s club.
- Rust is a problem point of interest (probably) with the Opel Combo C and it’s all because of the drivers who have a special respect for these cars and wash them weekly.
- The transmission is more tortured due to the style of the employees that don’t give a damn about the car at work so they put money aside for the clutch, flywheel and gearbox linkage. And when the steering column fails, the Combo is pretty much out of the game.
Opel Combo C Verdict
If you want absolute utility for your money, then the Opel Combo C is king in the small commercial vehicle category. And that’s a good thing because that way the car will be spared from all sorts of people complaining that it’s ugly, noisy, slow, or all of them. Which makes the Combo a car that people don’t rush out to buy and that keeps the price down. So low, I can see Adele rolling around.
What engines do I recommend? For petrols I will definitely recommend the 97 horsepower 1.6 MPI, and for diesels I can’t recommend anything other than the 101 horsepower 1.7 CDTi, when available.