Vauxhall’s innovative new Meriva mini-MPV will go on sale in the UK in June with only minor changes over the design concept seen at 2008’s Geneva motor show.
The concept’s rear-hinged ‘suicide’ FlexDoors have been included on the production Meriva to boost rear access and make the car as family-friendly as possible. They open at an angle of nearly 90 degrees and can only be opened when the car is stationary as an automatic lock engages when the car pulls away.
The styling practically mirrors that of the concept and also draws influence from the new Astra and Insignia models. The ‘blade’ design feature from these cars also features on the Meriva, while a kink in the waistline has been incorporated to allow children sitting in the back to see better out of the rear windows.
Inside, the FlexSpace system from the outgoing car has evolved to allow even greater interior flexibility, with rear seats that are able to be folded away entirely, or mounted further back for better leg room. A new sliding interior storage solution, called FlexRail, incorporates a rail above the centre console along which storage bins can slide, for use by front and rear passengers.
The new Meriva, which will be launched at the Geneva motor show in March, is based on a hybrid platform, with parts of the Corsa, Astra and Zafira all featuring. Its tracks are wider than the outgoing car's and its wheelbase is longer, to improve the car's ride and handling and boost crash protection.
The six-strong turbocharged engine range will use Astra units, with power outputs ranging from 74bhp to 138bhp. Fuel consumption is reduced by an average of 15 per cent compared with the current range, while a low-CO2 Ecoflex version will also be offered. Prices are expected to start at around £14,000.