What is it?
Since its launch in 2010 the second-generation Vauxhall Meriva has been one of few bright spots for General Motors’ struggling European operations. Some 400,000 have been sold, mainly to families whose priorities centre on practicality and low running costs.
Now, in an effort to boost its competitiveness in a tough market segment, the cleverly configured Meriva has become one of the first model’s to receive Vauxhall’s new 1.6 four-cylinder common rail CDTI diesel engine, following on from its appearance in the Zafira late last year.
The new oil burner replaces Vauxhall’s old 1.7-litre CDTI unit and comes as standard with a revised six-speed manual gearbox or optional six-speed automatic. With 134bhp and 234lb ft of torque, it kicks out 5bhp and 15lb ft more than its predecessor, and in combination with the manual gearbox it is claimed to deliver an 10.9mpg improvement in combined cycle consumption at 64.2mpg.
Resultingly, the Meriva’s CO2 emission output has dropped from a previous 139g/km to 116g/km, saving potential customers £95 in annual road tax.
The 69bhp 1.3 CDTI and 108bhp 1.7 CDTI diesel engines continue for the time being. But they retain EU5 compliance, indicating they will be replaced by a more economical 108bhp version of the new engine, with a claimed 74mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, planned for later this year.
As with the new diesel engine, the Meriva’s 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has been upgraded to meet EU6 emission compliance. It continues to be offered in three states of tune: 73bhp, 87bhp and 102bhp.
Unless you’re a fan of Vauxhall’s compact MPV, the mid-life styling changes are likely to go unnoticed, such is their subtlety. The Meriva’s lightly restyled front end receives a new bumper with a slightly lower grille that resembles that on the recently revamped Insignia. The head and taillights retain the same shape as before but receive new internal graphics mirroring those on the Zafira.
Optional LED daytime running lamps are also offered, otherwise, there is little from a visual standpoint to mark the facelifted model apart from its predecessor.
Interior styling changes are equally understated. There’s a revised infotainment system, which while retaining fiddly operation through a series of buttons, now receives a 7in colour monitor and, as part of an upgraded optional IntelliLink system, boasts enhanced smartphone integration, including voice control and voice output.
An optional rear view camera is also included and the optional FlexRail system has been modified so that it no longer impedes rear seat legroom.