From £11,625
The price seems ambitious, but the torque of Vauxhall’s 1.7-litre Meriva is welcome

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

What is it?

Overpriced. That’ll be your first thought about this flagship diesel Meriva. Because £20k seems an awful lot for even the poshest version of a junior five-seat MPV.

But this new Meriva isn’t so ‘junior’ after all. Vauxhall’s moved the goalposts.

At 4.3-metres long, the new Meriva’s within 20cm of a Citroen C4 Picasso. And with a roomy cabin, clever rear seats that slide in two dimensions, and coach-style rear-hinged rear doors, this car seems every bit as accommodating as a five-seater from the ‘C-MPV’ Scenic/C-Max segment.

See the first drive pictures of the Vauxhall Meriva 1.7 CDTi SE

What’s it like?

The Meriva SE’s well-finished and well-equipped. Our test car came with cabin materials that almost everywhere seemed the match of those you’d find in an Insignia, and better quality than those of a Citroen Picasso.

Clever storage features like a sliding, interchangable centre console module really count in the Meriva’s favour, as do comfortable part-leather seats, a great driving position and a huge panoramic sunroof.

Powering this car is the latest version of GM’s Isuzu-derived 1.7-litre turbodiesel, first used, many moons and modifications ago, in the mkIII Astra. You expect it to feel strained, but it’s been very thoroughly intergrated here, and only gets vocal beyond 4000rpm.

Its gift to the Meriva is something the weedier 1.3-litre turbodiesel engine struggles to provide: easily accessed torque. There’s more than 221lb ft on offer at 2000rpm.

You can frequently deploy all of that thanks to the slick six-speed manual gearbox; there’s enough of it that you rarely need to work the engine beyond 3500rpm; and because of it, you’re almost never caught in the wrong gear.

This car steers accurately and consistently, handles keenly, and rolls much less than a C3 Picasso, for example.

It even rides better than other Merivas; the added weight of its iron-block engine, and of the extra standard equipment (apparently that glass roof weighs a bit), has a calming influence on the car’s otherwise slightly fidgety ride.

Should I buy one?

It’s not an easy case to make. Twenty large buys you a lot of car, almost wherever you go shopping. Still, it’s only what Renault charges for a top-spec, five-seat diesel Scenic.

And if you do like the idea of getting into the back of your Vauxhall the same way Simon Cowell gets into his Roller, you’ll love this Meriva.

It’s attractive, cleverly designed, roomy and refined, and would make as practical a second car as most families are likely to need.

Vauxhall reckons the cheaper, more frugal 1.3-litre EcoFlex will be the bigger-selling diesel option in the Meriva range, but in our book, the 1.7 deserves the greater success. It’s still overpriced, for sure – but believe it or not, this car gets closer to justifying its inflated pricetag than any other model in the range.

Vauxhall Meriva 1.7 CDTi 130 SE

Price: £20,150 Top speed: 121mph 0-62mph: 9.9sec Economy: 54.3mpg CO2: 138g/km Kerbweight: 1547kg Engine: 4 cyls, 1686cc, turbodiesel Power: 128bhp at 4000rpm Torque: 221lb ft at 2000rpm Gearbox: 6-spd manual

 

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Comments
13

11 October 2010

Panoramic glass roof, clever rear seats, interchangable centre console. All sound good, the article praises them, but where are the pictures? Pardon me for being picky, but it would be good if pictures went with the article, rather than having to search elsewhere for them.

11 October 2010

[quote Autocar]At 4.3-metres long, the new Meriva’s within 20cm of a Citroen C4 Picasso. [/quote] 20cm [ 8 inches]shorter than a Citroen Picasso C4 5 seater makes this car a competitor of the Citroen C3 Picasso but as it costs £21k compared to the £16k required to buy the Citroen I doubt it will sell in anything like the numbers the Citroen does.

11 October 2010

Maybe it will be better value once the brokers get their hands on it. I found it available via one broker with about 9% discount - but then compare that with the 24% you can get discounted from a C3 Picasso making that £16k Citroen £12k intead. £12k for the C3 even in Exclusive trim vs £19k for the Meriva is a huge amount to bridge. Is it THAT good?

11 October 2010

At over £20k this is a lot of lolly for a junior five-seat MPV, especially as it is within the range of larger MPV's. I also think that pretending that the suicide rear doors make you believe you are Simon Cowell in a Phantom is straw clutching in the extreme.

11 October 2010

Perhaps Simon Cowell likes to pretend that he is emerging from the back of a Meriva....

11 October 2010

[quote Maxycat]makes this car a competitor of the Citroen C3 Picasso but as it costs £21k compared to the £16k required to buy the Citroen I doubt it will sell in anything like the numbers the Citroen does.[/quote]

I would expect to get at least 4K off this car paying cash with a haggle, The base model Merivas are being advertised from as little as £11500 by Vauxhall dealers

I know you could probably get a chunk off the Citroen too, but the Meriva is a good well built car so probably worth the extra

11 October 2010

[quote andrepaul999] I know you could probably get a chunk off the Citroen too, but the Meriva is a good well built car so probably worth the extra [/quote]

with a warranty that could last a lifetime! a couple of years down the road bits of trim will fall of the citroen or anything else french

11 October 2010

[quote VX220EDDIE]

[quote andrepaul999] I know you could probably get a chunk off the Citroen too, but the Meriva is a good well built car so probably worth the extra [/quote]

with a warranty that could last a lifetime! a couple of years down the road bits of trim will fall of the citroen or anything else french

[/quote]

Rubbish. I've had a total of 6 Vauxhalls (all company cars, I'm not daft) and while they weren't exactly unreliable none of them were that well built with squeeks and rattles, electrical problems and ever worsening gearchanges being the norm. That's before I start with my wifes Meriva and its dangerous steering.

What makes it worse is that Vauxhall dealers are in my experience completely useless (that's as polite as I can put it, I could list the lies, poor workmanship and damage to vehicles on two occasions but don't want to bore everybody). The Citroen I had was fault free, something none of the Vauxhalls I had could come close to.

As for the Meriva, who are they kidding with that price. I had a look at one while I was at the dealers getting my wifes current sh1t can, sorry Meriva repaired and while the interior is obviously better and no doubt it driver much better, the rear of the vehicle (the bit Vauxhalls marketing machine says is improved) is worse. The rear opening doors are a gimmick (try getting 4 people out at the same time in a tight car park) and the roof line which is much lower than the old Meriva makes getting in and out, or lifting in a baby seat harder. It is also much bigger, one of the best bits of the old Meriva was the amount of space available in such as small vehicle. It is no longer small.

A triumph of marketing over reality.

11 October 2010

[quote andrepaul999] I know you could probably get a chunk off the Citroen too, but the Meriva is a good well built car so probably worth the extra [/quote] Autocar's own test gives the Citroen 4 stars against the Meriva's 3.5. It also praised the fit and finish of the Citroen.

11 October 2010

[quote Maxycat]Autocar's own test gives the Citroen 4 stars against the Meriva's 3.5. It also praised the fit and finish of the Citroen[/quote]

0.5 of a star.mmmm i can only comment on historics which suggests citroens really dont last a very long time, i hope im proved wrong... but i doubt it!

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