Opel’s versatile new Meriva now has the frugal diesel engine it deserves, along with some subtle styling tweaks that enhance this compact MPV. The external changes include newly designed front and rear lights, along with a new front grille similar to the new Insignia’s. The rear-hinged FlexDoors remain, enabling ease of access to the rear seats. The rear seats can slide forwards to increase luggage space and backwards, increasing rear passenger legroom. With the rear seats folded the Meriva’s luggage capacity is increased from 400 litres to 1,500 litres. The standard FlexFloor enables you to easily adjust the boot floor level to increase load height and therefore make loading and unloading items less strenuous. The Meriva is a clever family-orientated vehicle that’s full of storage solutions throughout. The FlexRail (from SC trim) houses a multitude of storage compartments between the front seats.
This new Meriva is priced from €18,995 for the 100hp 1.4-litre petrol variant. Our test car and preferred model is equipped with Opel’s new 1.6-litre CDTi turbo diesel engine (priced from €21,495). It’s perfectly suited to the Meriva for city commutes and motorway drives. On the move this new diesel engine is quiet and offers ample performance, with 136hp and 320Nm of torque produced. The six-speed manual transmission works in unison with the engine, the gear lever is mounted high and close to the steering wheel which takes the strain out of multiple gear changes around town. It’s an efficient power plant too, offering up to 4.4L/100km (64.2 mpg) on a combined run.
Customers can choose from three trim levels for their new Meriva, S, SC and SE. The entry-level S variant comes equipped with such items as daytime running lights, FlexSpace adjustable rear seats, FlexFloor, USB connectivity, heated door mirrors, electronic stability programme-plus and ABS. The volume seller will undoubtedly be the SC model, it benefits from the addition of air conditioning, cruise control, FlexRail centre console system, multi-function steering wheel, ambient lighting and a remote alarm on 1.6 CDTi models.
Our test car was finished in the high-end SE specification, it featured a panoramic glass roof, 17” alloy wheels, front fog lights, multi-function trip computer, leather covered steering wheel and gear knob, under seat storage trays and front and rear door sill step plates. Two optional but worthwhile extras on our Meriva were Opel’s IntelliLink multimedia system and the Flexfix bicycle carrier. The IntelliLink multimedia system features a colour screen that displays all the relevant information for your navigation, entertainment and telephone functions. It’s an intelligent piece of kit that will read out your text messages as you drive, something definitely worth having to keep your hands and eyes off your mobile phone whilst driving. The Flexfix bicycle carrier is an ingenious piece of equipment for those of us that need to carry their bicycle. When not in use, it’s integrated inside the rear bumper, to release it you simply pull a lever on the boot floor and fold out the carrier that can hold two bicycles.
This newly updated Opel Meriva offers sufficient space with a healthy dose of practicality to meet all family requirements. The new 1.6-litre CDTi turbo diesel engine is the icing on the cake for the Meriva, it’s now capable of putting a stern challenge into any of its competitors. If you haven’t driven one yet, now’s the time to take a test drive, we think you’ll enjoy it.
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