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Vauxhall Combo vs Ford Transit Connect: Small Van Showdown

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Vauxhall Combo vs Ford Transit Connect: Small Van Showdown

One of the simplest ways to save money for your business is to choose the smallest van without compromising on load capacity. A smaller van is cheaper to purchase and cheaper to operate. It’s also less likely to get damaged by poor driving, as the experience of driving a small van is similar to that of driving a car.

There are many small refrigerated vans available on the market today, but the Vauxhall Combo and the Ford Transit Connect lead the charge for the small van category. If you’re on the fence between the Combo and the Transit Connect, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we’re taking a deep dive into these two van categories and asking important questions about things like performance, capacity and comfort. By the end of the article, you should be a little bit closer to closing the ideal small refrigerated van for your business

Ford Transit Connect Fast Facts

Ford Transit Connect Fast Facts

This zippy little vehicle drives like a car but has the load capacity of a much larger vehicle. As part of the Transit family, you can rest assured you’re getting a quality vehicle built to last. Some models have 3 seats in the cab, which out performs some of the vehicles in the medium sized category. If you want reliability and affordability in equal measure, the Ford Transit Connect is a great place to start your search.

  • Max load space of up to 3.6 cubic metres
  • Max load length of up to 2152mm 
  • Two body lengths available
  • Versatile configuration
  • Raised seating position for added comfort
  • Square body shape to maximise space
  • Available with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engine
  • Choose from automatic or manual transmission

Vauxhall Combo Fast Facts

The Combo is the leading small van from the Vauxhall family. The car manufacturer is known for larger models like the Vivaro, but the Combo can certainly pull its weight. The car-derived model is a breeze to drive, making it the ideal choice for city stops and long distance deliveries alike. And while it might be classed as a small van, the Combo makes best use of the rear payload to ensure no space is wasted.

  • Max load space of up to 4.4 cubic metres
  • Max load length of up to 3.4m
  • Two body lengths available
  • Versatile configuration
  • Raised seating position for added comfort
  • Square body shape to maximise space
  • Available in electric or diesel models
Running costs and fuel economy

Running costs and fuel economy

It goes without saying that an electric vehicle will offer the lowest running costs, so the Vauxhall Combo wins in this category as the Transit Connect isn’t available as a fully electric vehicle. This is followed in second place by the Ford plug-in hybrid Transit Connect.

The fuel economy for each model will vary depending on the engine selection, and this is something you’ll need to consider. It’s also beneficial to choose a vehicle with a plug-in backup for the refrigeration unit, as this will avoid draining the battery at night. This option will allow you to use your van for additional storage rather than emptying the van every night.

Driver comfort

Both models offer three seats in the front cab, which means these are roomy vehicles that prioritise driver comfort. Even taller drivers will feel at ease in these car-derived cabins. You can expect a slightly more cramped experience than with a medium to large sized vehicle, but this is to be expected. Heavily padded seats and fully adjustable seating mean that most drivers will be able to make themselves comfortable. 

Both vans are loaded with safety features to ensure that driving is not only fun but also as safe as it can be. Things like lane assist and rear parking sensors take some of the pressure off the driver and can help to protect against avoidable mistakes on the road that could drive up your insurance premiums. 

Capacity and ease of loading

Capacity and ease of loading

The Vauxhall Combo is slightly superior on load capacity, but the final capacity will all depend on the finish of the refrigeration customization. The use of recessed condenser pods will help to maximise the load capacity. Both vehicles offer side panel doors and rear double doors to make it easy to get loads in and out of the van.

Both can be customised with rear T bar protection to make it easier to load in with a forklift. Sliders on the floor will also ensure the flooring is not damaged by sliding items into the van. A van converted into a refrigerated van should also offer smooth surfaces that are easy to clean – this is particularly important for food businesses. 

Perhaps the biggest perk of vehicles this size is the ability to manoeuvre easily in city centre locations, making this vehicle size ideal for businesses like catering companies and florists that need to be able to navigate built-up areas.

Final thoughts on the Vauxhall Combo Vs Ford Transit Connect

Once you’ve settled on a small van for your business, it’s vital to company specific vans like-for-like rather than looking at the specs of the whole range. This is simply because the conversion can have a huge impact on the final load capacity of the van. If you have minimum size requirements, always compare these to the actual capacity of a van and not the vehicle’s standard specs.

If you are looking for a slightly larger van, the Vauxhall Combo is the natural choice. Its square shape allows you to maximise the loading capacity and this also helps for companies that need to install custom racking in their van.

The Combo also offers the obvious advantage of being available as a fully electric vehicle, which could be important to your business if you have green goals you need to meet. You could also enjoy the best of both worlds by choosing the plug-in hybrid model of the Ford Transit Connect. The Connect is also available with automatic transmission, which could be more versatile as it avoids eliminating staff members with only an automatic licence. 

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