Vauxhall Meriva concept pictures leaked onto the internet ahead of Geneva debut
27 February 2008

Pictures of Vauxhall’s upcoming Meriva concept have found their way onto the internet a week before it is due to make its public debut at the Geneva motor.These offer the first clear look at the new five seater’s contemporary one-box design and rear-hinged suicide doors – both of which will make it into production with only detailed changes later this year according to Vauxhall officials. Looking like a scaled down version of Vauxhall’s critically acclaimed Flextreme concept, the new second-generation Meriva will be the first modern day Vauxhall to receive suicide doors at the rear.Dubbed 'Flexdoors', they are fitted on both sides of the car and, on the concept car, open to a 90-degree angle to the body to provide a generous aperture for entry to the rear seat. Unlike the arrangement used by Mini on the Clubman, the retention of a sturdy B-pillar on each side allows the rear doors to be opened even when the front doors are closed. Vauxhall is careful to point out that this can only be done when the car is stationary, in line with EU regulations, to avoid the possibility of a rear seat occupants opening the door in the face of a pedestrian or cyclist. Another distinguishing feature of the new Meriva is its unusual glasshouse design, which incorporates a distinctive downward kink just aft of the B-pillar to provide the rear with a large side window. In other aspects, the new mini-MPV adheres closely to the design lineage carefully evolved by Vauxhall over the past 18 months, with shapely head- and tail lamps, taut surface forms, heavy crease lines and ultra short overhangs dominating the look of the exterior.As available on the larger Zafira, the new Meriva also looks to be in line to receive Vauxhall’s optional “panoramic” roof with its distinctive central bulge and four individual glass elements.The concept for next week’s Geneva motor show reveals the shape of the new Meriva’s dashboard and various trims, although expect less fancy materials when the wraps come off the production car in September.

Greg Kable

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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