The modern consumer looks for choice when purchasing goods, you only have to walk into a coffee shop to see a menu listing endless combinations of coffee. It seems Opel were in a coffee shop when they designed their latest much-improved Meriva. For what’s effectively a mid-size family car, they have no less than three petrol engine models and four diesel derivatives for customers to choose from. You can have the 1.4 petrol with 100hp, the addition of a turbo and the offer of 120hp or 140hp, again aided by a turbo. The diesel platforms run two 1.3 CDTi’s with a 75hp and 95hp model, while the 1.7 CDTi’s offer a 100hp and a 130hp motor.
My test car was the 120hp 1.4i VVT Turbo model. Don’t be fooled by the addition of Turbo to its name, for the most part of driving the turbo is quietly working away in the background, there’s no sudden rush of power when the turbo comes on song. The engine is at its best working in the mid-range, where it happily runs quietly and responds well.
Across the three grades of specifications, there’s a host of options available to personalise your Opel Meriva. My top spec SE model starts at €23,695 with some choice extras on my car this price rises to €29,149. If you can stretch to this, you’ll have as complete a car as you’ll ever need. The standard specification is fine, with the usual comforts such as air conditioning and cruise control thrown in. Of particular significance to me was the panoramic glass roof which runs the whole length of the roof and provides a healthy amount of natural light into the car. It also has an electrically operated sunshade, should the sun be shining on your loved ones in the back. Rear seat passengers are well catered for with plenty of space on offer, the centre part of the rear seat folds down to allow the two seats to slide backwards and inwards gaining leg and elbow room.
The Meriva’s most talked about feature is its FlexDoors®, these rearward-opening doors make for easy access to the rear seats. They’re ideal for parents lifting small children in and out of child seats. The Meriva is much more than a car with fancy doors, its petrol engine offers adequate performance for the purpose intended and returns a respectful fuel consumption of 6.1l/100km. All five occupants are seated comfort and surround by a refined interior constructed from excellent quality materials. Furthermore although it’s no mpv, its regular size makes for simple parking and yet it has a decent boot for storage.[table “6” not found /]