I may be mercifully free of children, but that hasn't stopped them having a creeping influence on my territory. Stealthily, the 'opinions' of children are increasingly influencing car design. And the new Meriva is a high watermark for this trend.
One of the reasons the Renault Scenic was such a smash hit when it was launched over a decade ago, was that back bench, hyper-territorial children each got their own seat. And the occupants of the third row of seats in a new Discovery get their ownlidded cubbyhole and stereo controls. Both are understandable inclusions to try and keep the peace when the whole family is onboard.
But when Nissan was designing the UK-built Note MPV it carried out some of its 'customer' research in the primary schools of Milton Keynes. And what did the celebrity-addled little dears want? Tinted rear windows, just like they have on the telly.
But it's the new Meriva that really takes the turkey twizzler.
I've a horrible feeling that the rear-hinged rear doors are a direct nod to the child, which finds it easier to enter via the rear footwell, rather than trying to scramble straight up onto the rear seat. And the distinctive dip in the window line? That's so the cherubs can see out when snugly ISO-fixed into the rear seat.
Back in the 1970s I used to sit, unbelted and un-entertained, in the echoing rear space of an Austin 1800. And in the summer, you could hardly stand the searing heat from the vinyl upholstery on your exposed legs. But you can see where the carmakers are coming from.
I know one exceptionally successful character who went into a Nissan dealership to look at an X-Trail for his wife. His daughter took one look at it and said 'Daddy, that¹s disgusting. He ended up stumping up another £10K for a Murano.