Just when the competition thought they were getting close, Vauxhall has upped the ante with the new Meriva.
The Vauxhall Meriva test car was priced at £18,920, which is towards the top of the range, priced between £12,995 and £21,255.
The base model, Expression, offers a rake- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, height-adjustment for the driver's seat, and electric parking brake, powered front windows along with powered and heated door mirrors, a CD/radio with MP3 compatibility, and 15-inch wheels. Safety features come in the form of twin, front airbags, ISOFIX anchors, ABS and ESP.
The S adds side airbags, a slightly better audio system, a USB connection with iPod control and an information display. The Exclusiv trim brings in the FlexRail system, full-size curtain airbags, active safety headrests at the front, air conditioning, cruise control, secondary audio controls on the steering wheel and pockets in the back of the front seats, amongst other things.
The Vauxhall Meriva SE, as tested, offers a panoramic glass roof with powered sunblind, front foglights, privacy glass at the rear of the car, leather-clad steering wheel and gearknob, a folding front armrest, trays on the backs of the front seats, storage trays under the front seats and a multi-functional trip computer.
It has to be said that the Vauxhall Meriva is not overly endowed for the money, especially when it comes to airbags but then it is the clever versatility that you pay for. Besides, there are a lot of optional extras available, such as satellite navigation and the FlexFix bicycle carrier that pops out of the rear bumper and never fails to impress.
There are seven engines from which to choose, with a range of power outputs from 75PS to 140PS. Furthermore, six of the seven are turbocharged and they are all EuroV compliant.
Of the petrol engines there is a new 1.4 unit that replaces the old 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8. In its naturally aspirated form this 1.4 engine produces 100PS and has a combined fuel economy of 46.3mpg. The 120PS turbo-charged version offers the same combined fuel consumption, while the 140PS unit is slightly less economical at 42.4mpg for the same cycle.
This latter was the power unit in the test car and, along with the 140PS at 4,900rpm, there was available torque of 200Nm between 1,850- and 4,900rpm. This is a broad band and it showed in the delightful driving characteristics and surprisingly smooth ride. Not only is the torque band as flexible as the interior but its attitude on the road follows suit.
The test car had a top speed of 122mph and some track testing showed that it had no problem in getting there, after a 0-62mph sprint time of 10.3 seconds. This was' one-up' and when fully loaded, the Meriva clearly won't be quite as quick of the mark.
The diesel options come in the form of a 75PS 1.3CDTi unit with a combined economy of 57.6mpg; and the 1.7CDTi, which, for the first time in a Meriva, is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with an Active-Select function for sequential changes. All of the others come with a 5-speed manual 'box, except for the 140PS, 1.4, which has a 6-speed manual transmission.
Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that there are only five engines listed and not seven. This is because there are two more on the way; an ecoFLEX 95PS 1.3CDTi and a 130PS, 1.7CDTi with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Just when the competition thought they were getting close, Vauxhall has upped the ante with the new Meriva. The fresh new styling and FlexDoors make it stand out and the improvements to the FlexSpace system, the quality of finish and materials has put it a step ahead, again.19 July 2010
Vauxhall Meriva Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Vauxhall Meriva SE 1.4 16v|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||10.3 seconds|
|Top Speed||122 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||52.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 Years / 60000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 19/07/10)||£18,920|