Replacement for the current Meriva gets conventional doors as Vauxhall tries to turn it into a crossover
28 January 2016

These are the latest spy pictures of the replacement for the Vauxhall Meriva winter testing near the Arctic Circle - and they show that the new car will move away from its pure MPV heritage and get conventional doors instead of the controversial rear-hinged back doors of the existing model.

The new model - which is likely drop the Meriva name - is expected to be revealed towards the end of 2016 ahead of first deliveries taking place in early 2017. It's the first car to come from Vauxhall's partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroën, announced in 2012, and will result in new models for both French manufacturers in the near future.

The existing Meriva promised greater ease of access from its rear-hinged back doors, but the continued presence of a B-pillar meant that the gains were modest - and the expensive, complex construction appears to have been abandoned for the next generation. Our spy photographer managed to capture an image with the rear door open - and it has a more conventional front-hinged design.

Sales of traditional MPVs continue to fall across Europe and Vauxhall appears to have taken the strategic decision to morph its entry-level MPV into a fresh new crossover. A similar move was taken by Renault last year, with the revitalised Espace taking on a more SUV-like shape rather than keeping its MPV proportions. Such a move has allowed Renault to capitalise on the growing demand for small SUVs and crossovers in Europe.

The new Meriva is likely to benefit from shared engines with the Corsa and Astra. Although development is still in the early stages, Vauxhall is also deciding whether to use PSA engines to power the Meriva as well as its own units.

Vauxhall is likely to raise significantly the perceived quality of the cabin, with improvements to fit and finish, as it has in the new Corsa and Astra. The IntelliLink infotainment system is expected to be transferred from the Corsa and Astra, and is likely to be standard on all but entry-level models. It features a 7.0in colour touchscreen located on the centre console between the driver and front passenger.

The Meriva won’t be the only new entrant into this growing market for long, as Ford grows its lineup in similar territories. Ford and Vauxhall will then take the fight for sales to Dacia, Fiat and Nissan, all of which are already established in the small crossover sector with the Duster, 500X and Juke respectively.

Matthew Griffiths

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Our Verdict

Vauxhall Meriva
It’s longer and more expensive, but does bigger mean better?

The Vauxhall Meriva, with its rear-hinged back doors, is a more mature car than before, but little more innovative

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Comments
7

10 September 2015

Just thought i'd mention it, you seemed to forget the name of the segment leader, and a car that also replaced a mini MPV, the Modus.

BTW, how will this be positioned with the Mokka? Bellow it, side by side, a la Viva/Adam... ?

 

Please insert paragraps where needed.

10 September 2015

Looks more small MPV than crossover in those pictures, and if it is I will be glad of that. Some useable practicality in the affordable car class. I'm not entirely sure that MPV sales are falling because people don't want MPVs, it is just that some MPVs are being replaced by crossovers because someone in marketing decided it had to be that way. Certainly the Picasso is still a deservedly successful car for Citroen, perhaps that is because it carries itself with some style. If it looks good and is good it will sell.

11 October 2015

Doesn't look much like a crossover to me.

28 January 2016

Shrub, erly5, as the article states, Vauxhall appear to be following Renaults move with the new Espace in that it retains most of the usability of an MPV but has the style of an SUV in order to increase sales.

My question is, where would it fit in Vauxhalls' SUV line up? I'm guessing above the Mokka due to the increased interior usability...

"Will accept donation of a Carrera GT, EB110 SS or McLaren F1...oh yeah or a Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder"

28 January 2016

Shame they are getting rid of the suicide doors. A friend has one, and she loves the doors

28 January 2016

My wife used to have a Meriva b. The suicide doors were great while getting the kids in the car while parked on the drive, but in was a different story in a tight car park because they needed to be opened wider than a conventional door to get access to the back.

Other than that it was a good car let down by poor build quality.

28 January 2016

I have a Meriva and the doors are terrible. Very easy to get into the rear once your used to them but every passenger you get (and you get a lot of you have a young family) get totally confused. Also, and this is the real pain, when everyone tries to get in or out at the same time in a car park we always end up tripping over each other. You end up having to wait until the rear passengers are in before opening the front doors. Car doors as a problem were solved around the year 1895 there's no need to find another solution.

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