Here is a timely reminder that large and expensive SUVs can be beaten as practical family transport by something that need not cost more than a five-door hatch, or be poorly equipped, or feel particularly ‘commercial’ to drive.

For outright versatility, carrying space and ease of use, cars like this always deliver more than expected of them, but there will always be those for whom the associated image remains an intolerable turn-off. Even next to its PSA sister products the Combo Life holds little aesthetic appeal and likely won’t do much to popularise the niche.

Usable, spacious and practical, if not very pretty to look at

As an affordable means of transporting a lot of people, a lot equipment, or a fair amount of both with little fuss or bother, however, the Vauxhall does okay. Limited performance and questionable body control bring the outer reaches of its utility value into question, and it’s a shame that its most clever on-board storage features aren’t offered as standard. But neither reservation need put you off if all you need is a lot of space on a little budget.

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