My thoughts about the new Vauxhall Meriva were dominated by its eye-catching, rear-hinged, rear doors - until I tried one out last week. Here’s what I learned:

Lesson one: don’t take home a car with rear-hinged rear doors and announce to the wife that you are going to strap the kids in to test how practical ‘suicide doors’ are. Just like Vauxhall, she’ll prefer it if you refer to them as FlexDoors.

Vauxhall Meriva first drive review

Lesson two: You’ll suddenly remember how much you love your kids. No matter how much faith you have in Vauxhall’s technicians, the FlexDoor’s automatically lock with such a thump as you pull away that it’s hard not to be reminded that there’s a lot of innovative engineering between them and oblivion. FlexDoors are 100 per cent safe, of course, but parenthood is great for bringing on illogical paranoia.

Lesson three: FlexDoors are more practical than standard doors, but only a little bit. The Meriva’s wide openings made putting child seats in that bit easier, but if I’m honest I expected more from this much-vaunted innovation.

If you want an easy time slotting young kids in and out of a car, you’d be better advised to spend your money on some premium swivelling car seats than a Meriva.