The latest kombi, now available with a 7 speed DSG came to us not too long after our test with the Hyundai H1, arguably its biggest rival in terms of cost and value for money. I’ve never been a bus person, but having the additional space the last couple of weeks and a little person and all his goodies to load and contend with, they make perfect sense!
The Kombi’s oil burner puts out 103kw and 340nm of torque and our model was fitted with the new 7 speed DSG. The gearshifts are smooth, but can become a little jerky in the lower gears, especially when running around in bumper to bumper traffic. This is, however, the case with most Automatic transmissions and certainly something to get used to. The Kombi really loves the freeway and open road where it will comfortably cruise. Out on the open road, you can expect around the 9l/100km consumption figures and this will creep up to about 10 in the city. Tank range is still a mammoth 900km from the big 80l fuel tank.
Interior specifications are good, with cruise control, Bluetooth, and USB available as standard and this is connected to the 8 speaker multimedia system. Our model, however, lacked the optional PDC, which I think in a vehicle this size should be a necessity. Full climate control in the front with additional rear controls are also fitted. I found a lack of cup holders in the front with the only real holders on top of the dash. They also hold the removable ashtrays and the closest cup holder is down below in the doors and that’s more suited to a bigger bottle variant. From a space point of view, the kombi has no shortage with a maximum of 4300liters.
From a lifestyle point of view, the seats can be folded or removed completely, so this can turn your average 8-seater into a panel van, should the need arise. We also found towing no problem with the 340nm having enough on tap in all situations.
The biggest surprise with the Kombi is the handling. From a big imposing presence on the road, you would think that this big and top heavy vehicle would be a rather awkward when the road starts to turn. That was the case about 2 decades ago and the Kombi has really excelled in this department, with very few other vehicles in this segment that can hold a candle to the big VW bus when the straight roads disappear.
When compared to its rivals, the Kombi can become a little bit more expensive when you start ticking the option boxes, but with a standard price of R626 700, it’s still one of the better models in the segment.
The kombi will always remain an iconic South African vehicle, even in today’s economy.