Meriva

Meriva

First Look

The new Meriva looks more stylish than its predecessor, giving the impression of higher quality vehicle as Vauxhall looks to shed its dull functional image.

The Meriva incorporates many of the features employed on the Insignia and most recent Astra to give the new Meriva a premium look and feel including the arty door moldings and sweeping diagonal belt-line, which visually stretch the outline, it also has a rear-drive wheelbase.

The trapezoidal front grille is part of the corporate branding, although the kinked window line is new and demonstrates the amount of work that's gone into the exterior design.

The new model is a larger proposition with both track and wheelbase being longer and wider giving the new model a lower squat appearance on the road. The.

The most innovative feature is the 'FlexDoor' element the position of the door handles means the arrangement is visible even with the doors closed with the doors wide open the Meriva looks like nothing in its class.

Get Up & Go

Five engine options are now available in the Meriva when the model hits showrooms in the UK in June 2010, with a further two options (128hp 1.7-litre and 94hp EcoFlex 1.3-litre diesels) arriving at a later date.

The immediately available 74hp 1.3-litre diesel will take nearly 17 seconds to hit 62mph but it is miserly and under the 130g/km barrier. The larger 98hp 1.7-litre diesel is likely to be the more popular which is also available as an automatic transmission - an intelligent six-speed unit that offers engine braking and a sequential shifting option.

The new petrol units are the big news, with the focus on downsizing meaning the larger 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol units have been dropped replaced by turbo charged 1.4-litre petrol power plants.

Entry point comes in the form of the normally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol engine with 98hp but it's the 118hp and 138hp turbo charged units that offer the greater performance with lower emissions and improved fuel consumption over the outgoing 1.6/1.8 petrol engines.

Both engines are reasonably nippy and the 118hp unit has little trouble pulling around the not inconsiderable bulk of the Meriva. It complains a touch more than the higher powered unit but the turbo quickly kicks in from reasonably low down the rev range giving ample  power available on demand for overtaking or swift exits from side roads.

When it comes to motorway driving the 118hp version is less well capable than the higher powered 1.4-litre turbo, but it comes into its element in and around town.

For performance and pulling power the 138hp unit is naturally the pick of the bunch. It's a very flexible unit, happy to rev freely the six-speed manual transmission aids works on the motorway and, like the five-speed box, has a slick and rewarding gearbox.

The Meriva is no sports car, but then again it does not feel like a typical MPV, but there's little body roll around country lanes and the chassis is very sure-footed. The ride quality is on the firm side, but the pay off in terms of handling and road-holding is impressive.

Inside

The only real negative is the A-pillar visibility issues of the outgoing model have not been fully solved despite considerable improvements.

That aside Vauxhall have boosted the quality inside the Meriva - a sculpted high-quality assembly that has benefited again from the Insignia and Astra.

A cut away from the soft-touch dash assembly, gives more room for the driver and front passenger, with dials and switchgear all adding to the more luxurious cabin.

The buttons and knobs in the centre console are stylish, although finding the right one may be distracting thanks to the overwhelming swathe of controls positioned low down.

The equipment levels are good, too; top of the range SE model features a full length glass roof and electric rear windows as standard, while all models get an electric handbrake.

That gives more room for Vauxhall's new FlexRail system between the front seats. Two rails can accept a number of storage compartments to complement the two healthy door pockets. The units are interchangeable and can slide backwards and forwards. For lower spec models with no FlexRail cubby holes as standard bags, toys, briefcases or any other family accruements can be dropped into the gap.

The downside is that the rails extend into the rear of the cabin, limiting legroom and foot space for the central seat occupant.

The Meriva is massively practical, it's a much larger vehicle than of old and although it lacks the extra row of seats feels as though it could bother the larger Zafira for space.

Headroom is excellent with the flexible rear seating giving a number of options for legroom and shoulder space while also maximising the potential of the well proportioned boot.

Despite the all the improvements, the rear door arrangement still remain the unique selling point of the Meriva. The 'FlexDoor' arrangement makes perfect sense, with the doors opening through to 84 degrees - pausing at various increments in the process giving accessibility even though the B-pillar remains, and families will find it to be much more than gimmick or novelty.

Economy and safety

Until the EcoFlex variant arrives the entry 74hp 1.3 CDTI model is the most economical in the line-up with 129g/km CO2 emissions and combined consumption of 57.6mpg.

Those seeking the additional performance needn't be disheartened, however; the downsizing approach has reaped rewards with none of the engines dropping below 40mpg on the combined cycle and even the more powerful petrol units trumping the 1.7-litre CDTI in the CO2 emissions stakes.

The 118hp 1.4-litre petrol appears to make the most sense with additional performance but economy and emissions virtually identical to the entry level petrol.

ESC is standard across the range. Anti-rollover protection is also standard and systems such as tyre pressure monitoring are optional.

Vauxhall have developed the FlexDoor system to a very high standard and although the rear doors can be opened independently of the front ones, they are automatically locked down above 2mph. Red or green lights in the rear door handles indicate whether the rear of the car are locked or not.

The chunky B-pillar in place makes a big difference to rigidity and side impact protection, too.

Vauxhall have a winner in the Meriva, it has been vastly improved in nearly all the areas where it matter, the 'FlexDoor' arrangement adds to the practicality. The Meriva has raised the game. Five stars

Tech Spec  
Engines - Petrol 1.4, 1.4 turbo (118hp), 1.4 turbo (138hp)
Engines - Diesel 1.3 CDTI turbo, 1.7 CDTI turbo
Power (hp) 74-138
Torque (lb ft) 96-192
0-62mph (secs) 10.3-16.9
Top speed (mph) 99-122
Economy (mpg) 42.2-57.6
CO2/Tax (g/km/%) 129-168/17-25

First Look

The new Meriva looks more stylish than its predecessor, giving the impression of higher quality vehicle as Vauxhall looks to shed its dull functional image.

The Meriva incorporates many of the features employed on the Insignia and most recent Astra to give the new Meriva a premium look and feel including the arty door moldings and sweeping diagonal belt-line, which visually stretch the outline, it also has a rear-drive wheelbase.

The trapezoidal front grille is part of the corporate branding, although the kinked window line is new and demonstrates the amount of work that's gone into the exterior design.

The new model is a larger proposition with both track and wheelbase being longer and wider giving the new model a lower squat appearance on the road. The.

The most innovative feature is the 'FlexDoor' element the position of the door handles means the arrangement is visible even with the doors closed with the doors wide open the Meriva looks like nothing in its class.

Get Up & Go

Five engine options are now available in the Meriva when the model hits showrooms in the UK in June 2010, with a further two options (128hp 1.7-litre and 94hp EcoFlex 1.3-litre diesels) arriving at a later date.

The immediately available 74hp 1.3-litre diesel will take nearly 17 seconds to hit 62mph but it is miserly and under the 130g/km barrier. The larger 98hp 1.7-litre diesel is likely to be the more popular which is also available as an automatic transmission - an intelligent six-speed unit that offers engine braking and a sequential shifting option.

The new petrol units are the big news, with the focus on downsizing meaning the larger 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol units have been dropped replaced by turbo charged 1.4-litre petrol power plants.

Entry point comes in the form of the normally aspirated 1.4-litre petrol engine with 98hp but it's the 118hp and 138hp turbo charged units that offer the greater performance with lower emissions and improved fuel consumption over the outgoing 1.6/1.8 petrol engines.

Both engines are reasonably nippy and the 118hp unit has little trouble pulling around the not inconsiderable bulk of the Meriva. It complains a touch more than the higher powered unit but the turbo quickly kicks in from reasonably low down the rev range giving ample  power available on demand for overtaking or swift exits from side roads.

When it comes to motorway driving the 118hp version is less well capable than the higher powered 1.4-litre turbo, but it comes into its element in and around town.

For performance and pulling power the 138hp unit is naturally the pick of the bunch. It's a very flexible unit, happy to rev freely the six-speed manual transmission aids works on the motorway and, like the five-speed box, has a slick and rewarding gearbox.

The Meriva is no sports car, but then again it does not feel like a typical MPV, but there's little body roll around country lanes and the chassis is very sure-footed. The ride quality is on the firm side, but the pay off in terms of handling and road-holding is impressive.

Inside

The only real negative is the A-pillar visibility issues of the outgoing model have not been fully solved despite considerable improvements.

That aside Vauxhall have boosted the quality inside the Meriva - a sculpted high-quality assembly that has benefited again from the Insignia and Astra.

A cut away from the soft-touch dash assembly, gives more room for the driver and front passenger, with dials and switchgear all adding to the more luxurious cabin.

The buttons and knobs in the centre console are stylish, although finding the right one may be distracting thanks to the overwhelming swathe of controls positioned low down.


by for www.malextra.com
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