Its innovative FlexSpace concept means the exciting Meriva can be transformed within seconds from a five-seater, to a spacious four-seater, a two-seater or even a single-seater — all without removing the seats!
In that way Meriva is following the lead of its Zafira seven-seater bigger brother which continues to win praise and awards for its unique multi-faceted seating system.
Meriva passengers will have as much space as they need in the clever design —they can customise their seating to suit their own needs in a way that has never before been possible in an Astra-sized car.
With all five seats in use Meriva has a boot capacity of around 490 litres, exceeding anything that the typical compact car can offer.
In four-seat mode, the two rear passengers enjoy as much room as in a midsize car, and there is plenty of room for luggage.
A few simple movements convert it into a two-seater with a 68 inch load length and more than 1300 litres cargo volume. The front passenger seat also folds if necessary.
The Meriva owes its high level of versatility to Vauxhall’s engineers who relied on a traditional strength of the Vauxhall brand: the ambition to develop intelligent, unconventional body concepts. It is just 2.2 inches shorter than Zafira and almost as wide.
Power is provided by lively diesel and petrol engines ranging from 1.6 to 1.8 litres in size.
"The new Meriva demonstrates the Vauxhall brand’s creative strength and clearly emphasises the path we have chosen for our new product portfolio. In future the share of innovative car concepts in our model programme will reach around 40 per cent," says Vauxhall managing director Kevin Wale.
FlexSpace System: Maximum Versatility
Like the Zafira, Meriva avoids the nuisance of having to remove seats when it needs to be changed for a big shopping expedition or a holiday trip.
Through the FlexSpace design concept Vauxhall engineers have divided the rear seat system into three fully separate units; two wide individual seats and one narrower centre seat.
At the core of FlexSpace is the clever design of the centre seat, whose backrest is 6 inches narrower than the cushion, and, when folded down, is at the same level as the cushion of the two outer seats.
This allows the outside seats to move inwards on horizontal rails. Then they can be pushed backwards because they can now slide past the rear wheel arches.
And there is even more flexibility. To enlarge the load area, each outer rear seat pushes forward separately by more than five inches. With the backrests moved to a steeper angle than the normal position the load capacity exceeds 530 litres.
Finally, if the front passenger’s seat back is also folded forward, Meriva can swallow items as large as a surfboard.
The Meriva concept was developed by Vauxhall's International Technical Development Centre (ITDC) in Russelsheim and GM do Brasil's Design and Engineering Centre in Sao Paulo.
Production at the General Motors Zaragoza plant in Spain is scheduled to begin in January 2003 with European sales due to begin in the spring.
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