The latest version of Vauxhall / Opel's people-carrier, the 2011 Meriva five-seater MPV which was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show is priced from GBP 15,495 (15,900 euros in Germany for the entry-level 1.4-liter gasoline engine which delivers 74 kW/100 hp) and will go on sale in the UK at the middle of the year. The carmaker has made the vehicle longer, wider, taller and with more style.
For the first time, the MPV is based on the Astra/Zafira platform, which has adopted the "flex doors" (similar to the Rolls-Royce's coach doors).
The Meriva has been leading the small MPV class since launch in 2003, with more than a million sales It actually halves (to around 20cm) the difference in overall length between its seven-seater brother, the Zafira, mostly due to the demands of new crash and pedestrian protection legislation.
According to engineers, all small and compact MPVs will eventually grow. This only means that the difference between classes will be restored.
The Meriva has a sportier, more stylish appearance and to go with the look, it also gets an airy, modernized fascia and interior. The mass of the dashboard is reduced and it gets the revised switchgear, instrumentation and steering wheel of the latest Astra and Insignia models.
A set of load-bearing rails goes right through the cabin, providing flexible mounting for a variety of flexible bags and consoles. It also provides carrying space for handbags and briefcases.
The Meriva is offered with five engine options -- two 1.4-liter turbo petrol units from the Astra range (120bhp and 140bhp) and three diesel power levels. The power of these engines range from 90 bhp to 145 bhp, based on either the familiar 1.3 liter or 1.7 liter turbodiesels.