Vauxhall has released the first official details of its new Meriva MPV – a key rival to the popular Honda Jazz and Citroen C3 Picasso, among others.
Enhanced in almost every area, new practicality features include backwards-opening rear doors and modular storage solutions.
The new Vauxhall Meriva’s key feature is set to be its innovative ‘FlexDoors’. The first application of backwards-opening rear doors on a family car in the current era, the Meriva is following a trail most recently blazed by the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost, and the Mazda RX-8 – but with some key differences.
FlexDoors open access
The Meriva’s rear doors can be opened independently of the front doors – though this is only possible when the vehicle is at a standstill; in all other situations the rear doors are electronically locked for safety. And also, unlike those other recent applications, passengers are able to sit alongside the door opening, rather than behind it.
The benefits to FlexDoors – which debuted on the Meriva design concept in 2008 – are primarily access-related. It should be much easier to get in and out of the back of the Meriva, while with the door out of the way and a slender central B-pillar it should also be easier for parents to secure children in child car seats.
Plus with the rear doors opening to nearly 90 degrees, and the front doors almost as far, Vauxhall says the FlexDoors design creates a ‘parent-friendly’ zone, making it easy to manage and control children entering and exiting the vehicle as well. Promising stuff.
New FlexRail, improved FlexSpace
In addition to these clever portals, the new Meriva also features a new ‘FlexRail’ storage system.
Details of this aren’t fully apparent at this stage, but it is described as a new centre console design with a modular dual-rail storage system, which owners can customise to their requirements. Something similar has appeared on a number of recent Mini concepts, but this is the first confirmed production application.
In addition to this, the Meriva’s existing FlexSpace folding and sliding rear seating system has been revamped for even greater ease of use.
Greater quality, 15% more efficient
The exterior and interior design of the new Meriva are heavily influenced by the Vauxhall Insignia and new Astra. Quality is said to be higher throughout, while an increase in cubby holes and general storage makes the Meriva even more practical.
The new car also features a longer wheelbase and wider track – positive news for both passenger comfort and driving dynamics.
The engine range is set to include no-less than six turbocharged power plants and will offer between 69 and 138bhp. Fuel consumption and emissions are reduced by an average of 15% across the range – a reduction of 25g/km CO2. A super-green ecoFlex variant is also coming.
More details of the new Vauxhall Meriva will be revealed closer to the Geneva motor show in early March, when it makes its international debut. We’ll be there to capture the car on video and report our first impressions.
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