New model also gets underbody protection and improved ground clearance.

Vauxhall’s Combo Cargo small van is now available in four-wheel-drive in a move designed to appeal to businesses in agriculture, telecoms and construction.

Dubbed the Combo Cargo 4x4, the newcomer not only gets a four-wheel-drive system, but also benefits from increased ground clearance and optional underbody protection. Vauxhall says the conversion to all-wheel drive, which is carried out by specialist firm Dangel, gives the van the capacity to tackle “all kinds of rough terrain”.

As well as simply fitting the new selectable system, the Combo Cargo also had to be adapted in other ways. The steering and suspension systems all had to be tweaked to get the best from them, while a new rotary switch was fitted to the instrument panel, giving the driver a choice of drive modes.

Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4

Writ large on the dial is the legend ‘Auto 4WD’, which engages the part-time all-wheel-drive system and allows some of the engine’s torque to be transferred to the rear axle when the front wheels lose traction. Next to that is the ‘Eco 2WD’ setting, which disengages the four-wheel-drive system and sends the engine’s power to the front wheels as normal, improving potential fuel economy.

And when the going gets really tough, drivers can select ‘R Lock’ mode to lock the rear axle and split the power evenly between the rear wheels to ensure there’s always power even if one wheel is off the ground. A limited-slip rear differential, which effectively does the same job, is an optional extra.

Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4

Prices for the new Combo Cargo 4x4 start at £34,660 plus VAT, which buys you the Edition model in standard ‘L1’ length. That comes with goodies such as Bluetooth phone connectivity and USB charging, but spending £36,010 plus VAT will pay for the better equipped Sportive version, which gets parking sensors and cruise control.

And if you want the larger load bay of the longer L2 model, you can. Priced from £35,860 plus VAT, the stretched vehicle is available solely in the entry-level Edition trim.

And if you want to spend more, there’s a wealth of off-road paraphernalia on the options list. As standard, the Combo Cargo 4x4 comes with 185 mm of ground clearance, but the 4x4 Plus Pack ups that to 205 mm. And just in case that still isn’t enough, the 4x4 Plus Pack also adds extra underbody protection, including armour for the fuel tank and rear axle.

Gallery: Vauxhall Combo Cargo 4x4