2004 Holden Combo from Australia and New Zealand


OK, but unreliable, and small for dog transport to vets


Brakes squeal and grab, despite several trips to the garage to clean and adjust.

Battery light continually on; fitted new alternator wire, but the problem persists. Sudden loss of power and lurching, almost stalling, in the line of traffic (very scary). Generous footbath for my passenger in rainy weather when turning left on a roundabout or any sharp left turn.

Air conditioning fails when held up in traffic due to an accident or road repairs.

Driver's seat is most uncomfortable, causing backache.

Unreliable transport for animals due to the risk of stalling in hot weather.

General Comments:

Very economical; had to take my dog to Sydney, and did the round trip for about $18.

Compact little van, however visibility is poor on turning or roundabouts, due to the huge mirrors.

Seats uncomfortable.

Needs side windows for complete safety.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th October, 2012

1995 Holden Combo from Australia and New Zealand




No fuse information written on lid, must buy manual.

Ignition key failure.

Front end knock.

Mirrors not adequate for a van with no side windows.

Everything is back to front, blinkers left hand side, wipers right.

Wipers are woeful.

Bloody things beeps when the key is taken out of the ignition.

And blinkers are still on

Horn is poking through plastic covers on the steering wheel.

They say there's a sucker born every minute, and I'm one of them for buying this piece of you know what.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st February, 2010

1996 Holden Combo SB 1.2 from Australia and New Zealand


Great, economic, plastic


Something in the ignition barrel broke causing the radio to not turn on if the car was on (ended up wiring it straight to the battery)

Window winders pop off.

Paint fades (fire engine red)

General Comments:

With no power steering or air conditioning it is a real no frills car, but it looks great since I have put mags and tinted windows on it.

Not much power and can feel unsafe at high speeds and being tall the steering wheel touches my legs.

Expensive parts, hit a Wallabe and smashed the head light($180) and set off the drivers side seat belt pretensioner(over$400)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th November, 2006

2003 Holden Combo Van 1.6 SOHC petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Do NOT buy one of these


I purchased this car new from a Holden dealer in Sydney, Australia in March 2003. Being a van, it was purchased for business use. It is a German built vehicle, fully imported into Australia. It is the van version of the Holden Barina/Opel Corsa model.

Since purchase, the engine has never run smoothly. The idle is erratic and it has a huge flat spot between idle and redline. In other words, it is not in tune and is unpleasant to drive. Despite numerous visits to the dealer to update the software (being a new generation car, it is unable to be tuned in the good old way : adjusting the mixture in the carburettor, adjusting the valves etc.), but these visits prove fruitless and the car has NEVER run properly. Independent mechanics are unable to adjust the tune because Holden will not release the software to tune the engine to non GM-H mechanics. The car is currently doing about 25 MPG, which is unacceptable for a 1.6 litre engine.

In November 2004 the gear linkage broke, leaving me only 3rd, 4th & 5th gears. The linkage components from the firewall to the gearbox were made of plastic, yes, plastic. These were replaced under warranty with components made of metal, surely a tacit admission by General Motors-Holden that the original linkage components were sub standard. However, I was not compensated for the loss of a day's income, due to the fine print in the warranty conditions enabling Holden to avoid make such compensation.

December 2005, and the clutch slave cylinder failed, so I couldn't change gears. Back to the dealer, unfortunately, to have things repaired under warranty. Should have been a straightforward job. With any other dealer, it surely would have been. On the second day of this job, they called me to say that the clutch plate and pressure plate also needed replacement. Given that the clutch assembly was out of the car, it made sense to replace it now than in another few thousand k's. However, this stellar service department in this Authorised Holden Dealer had broken the steering column, the ignition lock and the brake light switch on the brake pedal during the job. They were unable to expalain how they managed to break the steering column while working on the clutch. The vehicle was returned after 4 days. They offered a loan vehicle for the 3rd day.

In April 2006, the rear shock absorbers failed (at 95,000k's). These were replaced under warranty, at the third visit to the dealer because they kept ordering the wrong parts. Three days after the shocks were replaced, one of the lower mounting bolts fell out, allowing the shock absorber to grind itself against the wheel while I found a spot on the freeway to pull over. After 3 phone calls to the dealer, they arranged a tray top truck to take the car to the nearest Holden dealer to have the problem fixed. They didn't replace the shock absorber, only the bolt. I'm still waiting for the shock to fail after the grinding against the wheel.

In May 2006, the entire braking system was replaced, not under warranty : front discs, rear drums, pads, shoes, slave cylinders and assorted retaining springs etc. Now, In June 2006, the retaining spring for one of the rear has broken, meaning that the brake shoe is loose inside the drum and once again I'm driving to the accompaniment of the Holden Combo Grind. And I also have only 3 operating brakes.

The factory-fitted Blaupunkt CD/radio has a terrific sound, but the controls don't respond to the first input, requiring me to press them over and over, causing an unsafe distraction while driving. Sometimes, the only way to get the radio to work is to eject the CD, even if the CD isn't playing. More "German quality."

General Comments:

If this vehicle is an example of German design and build quality, no wonder there are so many Toyotas, Mazdas, Hondas etc around.

If only Toyota made a van based on the Corolla.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th June, 2006

15th Jul 2006, 09:57

I thought I would let you know now that there will be no more Combos based on the Barina any more as Holden have since, once again, changed their source of the Barinas to the Korean Daewoo. So if you must have a small European work van, buy a Renault or Volkswagen.