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

  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic