Flexibility comes first for GM concept
5 March 2008

GM insiders say that Vauxhall’s new Meriva is very close to the real production car. It will appear in two years’ time, replacing a highly successful Corsa-based initial model. The big news is a system of rear ‘suicide’ doors hinged at the trailing edge - branded, inevitably, FlexDoor – that provide better access than ever to the rear compartment for people or large loads. This Meriva is a around 40mm longer than the existing model, as the most recent Corsa was against its predecessor, and its unusual rear-door arrangement features a centre pillar, so the front and rear doors can be opened independently, as with a normal saloon. It also boasts automatic child locking. The emphasis is nearly all on design and convenience, but GM’s engineers did let slip that the model is to be be powered by an all-new 1.4-litre petrol turbo unit. But the big seller is bound to be the1.3-litre turbodiesel, which is likely to have been updated by launch time.Inside, the flexibility theme continues wherever you look. The use of an electric handbrake frees space for a rail above the centre console along which storage bins can slide, for use by front and rear passengers. The rear seats slide backwards to form two throne-like seats with limo legroom. They can also be folded or even removed if there’s a need to carry big loads. Even the breezy exterior styling is adapted to the convenience of rear passengers: the lower frame of the side windows contains a ‘wave’ which improves rear visibility. This is a model designed mostly for those in the back.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Meriva

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

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