Vauxhall's longer, wider, taller and much more stylish Meriva five-seater MPV will cost from £15,495.
The new people-carrier, based for the first time on the Astra/Zafira platform and which for the first time adopts so-called “flex doors” (dubbed coach doors by Rolls-Royce), will go on sale in the UK at mid-year.
See the Vauxhall Meriva pictures The Meriva, which has led the small MPV class since launch in 2003, with more than a million sales, halves (to around 20cm) the difference in overall length between its seven-seater brother, the Zafira, mostly because of the demands of new crash and pedestrian protection legislation.
Engineers say all small and compact MPVs will have to grow, so the difference between claasses will eventually be restored. To go with the sportier, more stylish exterior the Meriva gets a airy, modernised fascia and interior, which reduces the mass of the dashboard, picks up the improved switchgear, instrumentation and steering wheel of the recently launched Astra and Insignia models.
A set of load-bearing rails runs through the cabin, providing flexible mounting for a variety of flexible bags and consoles, or which just provides carrying space for handbags and briefcases. The Meriva is launched with five engine options, two 1.4-litre turbo petrol units from the Astra range (120bhp and 140bhp) and three diesel power levels, with power between 90 bhp and 145 bhp, based on either the familiar 1.3 litre or 1.7 litre turbodiesels.
All engines get six-speed manual gearboxes as standard. Vauxhall engineers say the Meriva’s new chassis improves the driving experience, giving it better handling and ride, and a considerably quieter and more comfortable ride.