Geneva Motor Show: Vauxhall Meriva
This is a direct replacement for the first generation model. In common with its predecessor, it is not derived from one single hatchback, as it contains parts from the Corsa, Astra and even Zafira.
It is a little larger now, but the most obvious change is to the rear doors. They are now rear hinged, just like a Rolls Royce Phantom, although for different reasons. Vauxhall says that the 90 degree opening angle makes it easier for children to get inside (or babies to be put inside). A further family-friendly touch is that the rear doors have a kink in the window line to make it easier for small ones to see out.
We have not driven it yet but, given the progress made by the recent Insignia and Astra, it would be very disappointing if the new Meriva was not a lot better than the outgoing model. It will use the latest generation of engines from the Astra and Corsa, resulting in an average fuel consumption improvement of 15%.
The interior is certainly a lot smarter and features a sliding storage bin between the front seats to help with family-related paraphernalia. The rear seats slide as well as fold, in order to maximise flexibility.
The only thing which might make people blink are the prices. Even the cheapest model costs £15,495 which is quite a lot of money when the (slightly smaller) C3 Picasso starts at £12,445.
It will be appearing at your local Vauxhall dealership very soon , with prices starting at £15,495.