The surprises the Combo Life delivers in this section are hardly earth-shattering, but some are quite pleasant. They mark this car out as the comfortable, pragmatic, servile utility vehicle most will want it to be, with a note of added extra refinement that you might not have expected of a utility MPV such as this.
Just as this car is unexpectedly mechanically refined and fairly well sealed from wind noise, so is it pleasantly quiet-riding and absorbent over most surfaces. Particularly soft suspension gives the Combo Life the kind of gentle, spongy ride that deals well with rough and broken surfaces taken at low speed. Around town the car’s suspension has both the supple comfort and the isolation to compare quite well with most modern passenger cars.
Meanwhile, light and reasonably direct steering with plenty of maximum steering angle compensates quite effectively for the relatively long wheelbase, making it wieldy enough and manoeuvrable.
A respectably tight turning circle – 11.0m for the short-wheelbase version, 12.0m for the ‘XL’ – means that in either case you shouldn’t get trapped in that tight unloading bay at the recycling centre.
Leave town and increase your speed, however, and the Combo Life begins to show some dynamic compromises relative to the standards of a more typical family car. At A-road speeds the suspension remains pretty quiet but doesn’t have the damping authority to deal with bigger inputs, allowing them instead to cause the body to bob and pitch gently.