Spy photos show longer, wider Meriva
6 April 2009

These spy photographs are of an early prototype based on the next generation Vauxhall Meriva – and could show that an SUV variant is under evaluation.

The pictured car has a wider track, slightly longer wheelbase and a raised ride height.

This suggests that there may be a ‘soft-road’ spin off to appeal to buyers who want more purposeful looks than the mini-MPV traditionally offers, but retaining its interior flexibility.

It would also tie-in with the market trend of car buyers downsizing into smaller cars. By offering several variants of a small MPV, Vauxhall and Opel hopes to plug every gap in the market and appeal to every type of car buyer.

One of the future trends for the car industry is to offer a wider range of models in the supermini segment than has previously been the case.

Mazda is expected to offer small SUVs and MPVs based on the Mazda 2 supermini in the near future, for instance, while Nissan is working along similar lines, building the Qazana soft-roader despite already selling the similarly-sized Note.

The new Meriva itself is scheduled to go on sale in 2010, with a concept car having already been shown at last year’s Geneva motor show.

Until now, attention has been focused on the car’s rear ‘suicide’ doors, which are hinged at the trailing edge. They are intended to provide better access to the rear compartment, especially for children trying to access the rear seats in confined car park situations.

This new Meriva is 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.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK