The Meriva compact MPV’s stand-out feature is a novel rearwards-opening rear passenger door set-up. It is reasonably effective, but it doesn’t create as wide an opening as the sliding side doors used on the Ford B-MAX.
The Meriva also offers a reasonably grown-up driving experience. Composed handling and decent refinement give the little Vauxhall a bigger car feel, while the supple ride does a good job of soaking up bumps. But the engine range is disappointing, with dated petrol units and some noisy diesels.
The Vauxhall Meriva has been around a while now, and that’s reflected in its ageing engine line-up. The entry-level 99bhp 1.4-litre petrol struggles with the Meriva’s bulk and offers a 0-62mph figure of 14.0 seconds. The 118bhp turbo is only a little better – it’s quiet at cruising speeds, but with only 175Nm of torque it needs to be worked hard to make the most of the performance. Vauxhall claims 0-62mph in a leisurely 11.3 seconds.The 138bhp petrol version is better, but never feels as muscular as its power figure suggests.
Inside, the Meriva benefits from an upmarket look and feel. Decent quality plastics are used throughout, while the fit and finish is excellent. Yet while the dashboard is slickly designed, the centre console is cluttered with a confusing array of buttons.
There’s plenty of space up front in the Meriva, while the high set driver’s offers a commanding view of the road ahead. There’s also plenty of seat and wheel adjustment – although S and Exclusive models suffer from a cheap-feeling plastic steering wheel – and the seats themselves are comfortable and supportive on long journeys.
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