Vauxhall’s new Meriva is set to turn the conventional concept of family-car usability on its head with a combination of clever, rear-hinged back doors which radically improve access/egress, and a raft of unique cabin features that boost interior versatility.
The new Meriva, which received its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show this year, is the first Vauxhall to feature FlexDoors, showcased in 2008’s Meriva design concept.
FlexDoors are rear-hinged back doors which swing open towards the back of the car at an angle of nearly 90 degrees, vastly improving the ease with which occupants enter and leave the cabin. Rather than having to step back, or to one side, as one would using a normal front-hinged door, the FlexDoor allows unimpeded forward access/egress to and from the cabin, enhanced further by the Meriva’s high roof line.
For parents with children, there are further benefits. Due to the larger door opening and free space around the B-pillar, parents can lift small children forwards in to rear-mounted, second-stage child seats without having to contort themselves around a door. And with both the front and rear doors open (the fronts open at a similar angle to the rear FlexDoors) a ‘parent-friendly’ zone is created with no door barrier between front and rear occupants.
Crucially, the FlexDoors cannot be opened by occupants while the Meriva is travelling at more than 2mph, after which the doors automatically lock. The sophisticated system also warns drivers if a door is not completely closed.
While the concept of two rear-hinged back doors is not new in the motor industry, the Meriva’s FlexDoor system is the first time it has been used on a family car in recent years. But unlike other rear-hinged door applications the Meriva benefits from front and rear doors that open independently, and does not require rear passengers to sit behind the door opening.
Class-leading in-cabin flexibility
Once inside the new Meriva, buyers benefit from two further groundbreaking innovations. The FlexRail adopts a completely fresh approach to the design of a car’s centre console, and provides owners with a variety of modular storage and comfort solutions that fix on to an ingenious dual-rail base, with further space liberated by use of an electronic parkbrake, standard on all models. It provides convenient and adaptable storage for a wide variety of everyday items, from handbags and magazines, to MP3 players, CDs and colouring books.
The new Meriva’s storage bin and cubby count has also increased, with features like a 1.5-litre bottle holder in each of the front doors, meaning that owners now benefit from one of the most practical cabins in class.
In addition, the current Meriva’s much-praised FlexSpace system has evolved with even greater practicality. Now more intuitive to use, the new Meriva’s FlexSpace allows easier fold-down of the rear seats, while moving the rear seats to create more boot, leg or shoulder room is simpler than ever.
The new Meriva’s seat comfort has also advanced, with the adoption of front seat technology from the Insignia and Astra. Like these cars, the Meriva offers the biggest range of seat adjustment in class, extending to 240mm in length and 65mm in height.
Enhanced visibility and safety
The new Meriva optimises the high-riding benefits of a monocab by offering even better visibility front and rear. The lowered front fascia, narrower A-pillars and larger front quarter-lights all contribute to an exceptionally clear view for front seat occupants, while rear passengers benefit from a unique ‘wave’ design in the belt line that increases the depth of the rear windows – a great boon for young children.
New for the Meriva is a full-length panoramic sunroof, which is standard on SE models. At almost two metres long, the roof comes with an electronic blind and is one of the largest of its kind offered in the compact MPV segment.
After its success in both the Insignia and Astra ranges, a version of Vauxhall’s Adaptive Forward Lighting System, which includes Dynamic Curve and Static Cornering features, will be offered as an option in the Meriva range.
New Meriva adopts design language from Insignia and new Astra
The current Meriva effectively created the small MPV sector when it was launched in 2003, but since then Vauxhall’s design language has evolved steadily, with big strides being made with the European Car of the Year-winning Insignia and more recently with the launch of the all-new Astra.
No surprise, then, that the new Meriva has adopted a more expressive and dynamic silhouette to its basic cab-forward MPV design. Like the Insignia and Astra, a ‘blade’ features down the side of the body, complementing a window line with a distinct ‘wave’ accentuating the FlexDoors, allowing panoramic views for rear passengers.
The design theme continues in the Meriva’s cabin, with cues taken from the Insignia and Astra enhancing the perceived quality of the materials.
More efficient powertrains
The new Vauxhall Meriva will be offered with engines ranging from 75-140PS, all of which comply with Euro5 emissions standards.
The petrol engine line-up comprises three versions of the 16-valve 1.4-litre unit. The range starts with the Meriva’s only normally aspirated engine, featuring hollow camshafts for reduced weight and a power output of 100PS. Completing the petrol line-up, are two turbocharged 1.4 variants, producing either 120PS or 140PS (the latter taken from the new Astra range). All engines get five-speed manual gearboxes, except the 1.4 Turbo 140PS, which has a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The diesel line-up starts with a 75PS, 1.3 CDTi unit which uses closed-loop catalyst technology to enhance fuel consumption. In addition, a 1.7CDTi unit producing 100PS will be available, equipped with a 6-speed fully automatic gearbox.
Later this year, the engine line-up will gain two additional diesel variants. The low C02-emitting ecoFLEX model will be powered by a 95PS 1.3 CDTi unit, and a second version of the 1.7 CDTi will also join the range, fitted with a six-speed gearbox and producing 130PS.
New Meriva builds on success of first generation model
The current Meriva was launched in 2003 and effectively created the small MPV sector in the UK and Europe. With its unique FlexSpace rear seating system, which allowed passengers to adjust their seats for more leg or shoulder room – as well as for more boot space – it has proved immensely popular with UK buyers, with over 112,000 being sold in the last six years.
The new car is set to build on this success. With a longer wheelbase offering added practicality for buyers – especially those with young children – the Meriva has shifted out of the small MPV and into the five-seat compact MPV class, where it will compete with rivals, such as the Ford C-Max, Renault Scenic and Citroen C4 Picasso.
- Design language from recent Insignia and Astra extends to new Meriva
- Unique ‘Wave’ belt-line accentuates innovative FlexDoors
- High-quality cabin introduces ‘Wing’ motif
The new Meriva will bring both flair and functionality to the compact MPV sector. With its longer, lower roofline and distinctive ‘wave’ belt-line its design is set to blur the distinction between MPVs and hatchbacks.
While the Meriva’s design is quite unique from that of the Insignia and new Astra, key elements from Vauxhall’s design language have been reinterpreted to ensure that a strong family identity remains.
“The new Meriva successfully brings together elegant design and everyday innovations,” said Mark Adams, Vauxhall/Opel’s Vice President of Design. “It offers an expressive yet functional interior with great roominess and visibility.”
Wave, Blade & Wing give Meriva its unique appearance
In profile, the Meriva’s distinctive wave belt-line hints not only at the FlexDoors’ functionality, but also offers rear passengers – especially younger children – greater visibility, thanks to the lower edge of the rear side window being dropped by five centimeters. Also unique is the centralised location of the door handles either side of the B-post, highlighting the FlexDoor installation.
At the front, a sweeping V graphic creates a bold and distinctly Vauxhall face for the Meriva. A deep grille, housing the revised Griffin, is flanked by large, eagle-eye headlamps incorporating wing-shaped running lights, similar to those found on the new Astra.
The rear styling continues the V-graphic theme still further, enhanced by large, sculpted rear light assemblies, featuring Vauxhall’s signature wing-shaped graphic. A chrome trim panel adds further visual width to the rear of the car.
Inside the Meriva, designers have lowered the instrument panel by 80 millimetres and moved it forward by 80 millimetres to create a feeling of enhanced space. Visibility for the driver is also improved, thanks to re-aligned A-posts and quarter lights. The whole area wraps around into the doors, offering front occupants a feeling of security.
The centre stack has been made more user friendly than in the previous Meriva, by angling it forward to improve the view of the displays and allow easier use of controls. The optional satnav system is positioned high on the dash, close to the driver’s natural line of vision.
Designers have used materials with a standard of fit and finish typical of a more expensive vehicle. Finishes to items like the air vents, gear shift and centre stack controls all contribute to the feeling of enhanced quality.
- Vauxhall early advocate of FlexDoor-style systems
- Innovative rear-hinged doors ease cabin entry and exit
- Ideal for parents securing young children in to rear seat
- Ergonomic benefits for both young and older owners
While Vauxhall /Opel is the first mainstream manufacturer in recent years to adopt rear-hinged back doors that open independently from those at the front, Vauxhall’s heritage with this type of door is also significant, from both a design and production perspective.
Landmark Vauxhall’s from the pre-war years, like the iconic 1923 30/98 and 1934 Light Six saloon each had back doors hinged from the rear for ease of access and exit. Many more Vauxhall models featured this arrangement up to the late 1930s, but with the advent of widespread unitary construction (which Vauxhall pioneered in Britainwith the H-type Ten-Four model) front-hinged doors became the norm.
However, Vauxhall remained a firm advocate of the rear-hinged door concept in the post-war years, and in 1970 its Luton-based design department, headed by talented stylist, Wayne Cherry, created the groundbreaking SRV concept car.
Even by today’s standards, the SRV has futuristic design overtones, but importantly it featured back doors that not only opened upwards, but that were hinged from the rear to allow passengers easier access from the snug, low-slung back seats.
Meriva’s FlexDoors unique in class
Forty years on and Vauxhall has productionised the rear-hinged door system with the new Meriva, although the FlexDoors’ convenience and safety features have moved the game on immeasurably. However, with the exception of Rolls-Royce’s Phantom and Ghost models, the Vauxhall (and Opel in Europe) Meriva is still the only production car to have rear doors that open independently from those in the front, and along with Rolls, to have full type-approval for the system.
Key FlexDoor benefits include easier entry and exit, enhanced ergonomics and improved rear seat access, especially when fixing child seats. With both the front and rear doors open, parents and children also share the same space, without a door between them.
Getting in and out of the Meriva’s rear cabin is, quite literally, more straightforward. Rather than having to step back, or to one side, as one would using a normal front-hinged door, the FlexDoor allows unimpeded forward access/egress to and from the cabin.
Getting a handle on what the customer wants
Vauxhall’s engineers and designers have responded to the needs of parents, children and older people while developing the Meriva’s FlexDoors. Unlike a conventional front-hinged door, FlexDoors provide access adjacent to the B-post, where there is the greatest room between roof and floor. The doors and handles have also been ergonomically engineered for ease of operation.
For parents, this means they can access the rear seat area full on, standing in the space usually occupied by an open door. They can reach forward with babies and toddlers to easily fit front-facing carriers and child seats. Adult passengers can simply step forward when getting in or out of the rear seat without having to twist over a wheel-arch. Handy grab handles on the inside of the B-posts also makes exiting easier for all.
Most front-hinged doors open to no more than 68 degrees, but the Meriva’s FlexDoors open in four steps through 84 degrees, a benefit which extends to the front doors too. When both doors are open, the wardrobe door-like layout creates a natural parent-friendly zone for corralling children when they’re near to the car.
Other FlexDoor benefits include easier entry and exit in narrow parking spots and more convenient access to the rear doors for the driver or front passenger. It’s easier, for example, to open a FlexDoor to hang up a jacket or pick up an item from the rear seat.
Additional safety features for children
All Meriva’s are fitted with a complex safety system that prevents children opening the rear doors while the car is moving. At speeds over 2mph, the FlexDoors automatically lock and a green light in the door handle surround goes out, indicating that the door cannot be opened. If for any reason one of the doors has not been closed properly when the car starts to move, the driver is immediately informed by an audible and visual warning from the instrument panel. If the vehicle is in an accident, the FlexDoors unlock automatically. For added security, conventional child locks also feature.
4. FLEXIBILITY & STORAGE
- Improved FlexSpace seating system in the rear and unequalled front seat adjustment
- Intelligent storage solutions ; innovative FlexRail concept
- Welcome return of Flex-Fix bike carrier
Inside and out, the new Meriva raises the bar in the compact MPV segment with adaptable features like FlexSpace, FlexRail and Flex-Fix that are easy to use and offer families a high degree of versatility.
In the cabin, the Meriva’s uniquely versatile FlexSpace seating configuration is improved to make it even easier to use, while front occupants now enjoy an unparalleled range of seat adjustment. FlexRail along with ample storage space keeps the car clean, while the optional Flex-Fix system provides active families with a convenient way of transporting up to two bicycles.
FlexSpace rear seating system – even more intuitive to use
The Meriva’s innovative FlexSpace concept offers a range of cabin configurations for optimum versatility, without having to remove any seats. The cabin can easily be transformed between a five, four, three or two-seat layout to meet the needs of occupants and their luggage.
Both outer rear seats can be moved forwards and backwards and also slide inwards to provide more shoulder-width and legroom in a spacious four-seat layout. The rear seatbacks can be fully lowered with one simplified movement using new handles that are easier to reach. This versatility is achieved without having to remove any head restraints or seats.
With the rear seatbacks up, the Meriva’s cargo area offers a load capacity of 400 litres, which increases to 920 litres with the seatbacks folded. Using available space up to the roof, an impressive 1500 litres maximum load capacity can be deployed.
Sitting comfortably – ergonomic and practical seats
A new generation of front seats, based on those in the Insignia and new Astra, make their debut in the Meriva. Generously proportioned and supportive, with a class-leading range of adjustment, they offer a level of comfort typical of vehicles in a larger segment.
Both seats slide backwards and forwards through 240 millimetres and the driver’s seat can be raised or lowered by up to 65 millimetres, giving even taller drivers a comfortable driving position. For the children in the second row, the backs of the front seats on SE models are fitted with fold-down tables.
Ergonomic Front Sport seats, with a driver’s seat tilting function, powered lumbar adjustment, 4-way active front headrests and an extendable seat cushion are offered as an option on the Meriva range. Good seats are important for maintaining a healthy back and the driver’s seat has received a much-coveted seal of approval from Action for Healthy Backs, an independent panel of German ergonomics experts and doctors. No other car in the Meriva’s segment has earned this certification.
In a family-orientated car, easy-to-clean upholstery is essential and here the Meriva leads the segment with Top Tec treatment for its light-coloured fabric. Top Tec uses nano-technology to help resist staining from drink spillages or other substances, such as melted chocolate, ketchup, and soft drinks. Permanent staining is minimised by simply dabbing off any mess with a damp cloth.
FlexRail: a totally new concept in storage
The FlexRail system in the centre console allows storage to be organised to meet almost any need. The electronic parking brake has replaced the traditional handbrake and the gearshift has been moved forward, creating space for a clever new storage system.
FlexRail is a modular, highly adaptable three-tier storage system. Two longitudinal rails, elegantly crafted in polished aluminum, have tracks on their inner face. The top track carries a flip-top, armrest/storage module big enough to carry CDs, while the lower track carries a storage tray with a cupholder. For convenience, both units slide to any position along the tracks and the armrest module can overlap the tray. Either or both can be easily removed as required using a simple push button.
Below the FlexRail, a fixed, floor-level tray has twin cup holders and two recesses big enough for PDAs, plus Aux-in connection, USB port, and 12-volt sockets. Everything is together, within easy reach, and on the Exclusiv and SE, ambient light is provided between the rails for convenient use at night. An optional rear armrest and adaptor plate can also be specified to give even more interior flexibility
The floor tray is fitted as standard on all Merivas, while Exclusiv models get the FlexRail and additional tray, and SE models add the sliding storage box and armrest.
Clever storage where it matters
Extensive market research has helped Vauxhall’s engineers and designers to create a cabin with a raft of dedicated storage areas for commonly used items. For example, a storage box under the driver’s seat (SE only) is perfect for storing everyday items out of sight. There are dedicated spots for drink bottles, sunglasses, tissues and MP3 players. Ample pockets in the rear help children keep the car tidy, too.
The large glove box has a space-saving pocket for the owner’s manual, as well as built-in coin- and pen-holders. A neat channel above the lid is designed to carry small odds and ends. There’s also a mini glove box on the driver’s side that’s big enough to hold a wallet, a mobile phone and other items.
The door pockets can hold 1.5-litre drink bottles up front and 1.0-litre sizes in the rear. Above the driver’s door, there’s also a flip-down compartment for sunglasses or other small items. And a small clip on the lower A-pillar serves as a perfect ticket holder.
In the boot area, the floor can be raised to bumper height for ease of loading and under-floor stowage. A useful shopping bag hook also provides a hold-open function for the floor. Additional storage compartments are in the sidewalls and the parcel shelf can be removed and stowed behind the rear seats.
Carrying bikes is easy with Flex-Fix
The popular Flex-Fix integrated rear bicycle carrier is now available for Meriva customers. It can carry up to two bicycles and slides out from behind the rear bumper. It is fully integrated and, when not in use, is virtually invisible behind the rear bumper fascia.
Like all Vauxhall Flex features, the carrier is easy to use and requires no special tools or additional components. Flex-Fix allows Meriva customers to carry a bike at any time, without having to plan in advance or drive around with a rack fitted when it’s not required.
5. EQUIPMENT & RANGE
- Extensive occupant safety equipment
- Introduces class-leading features and technologies at affordable prices
- Widest-ever selection of interior trims
Extensive occupant protection & affordable innovation
The cabin of the Meriva is as safe as it is comfortable, with its extensive range of in-car restraint systems, together with advanced structural design. Fitted as standard are: break-away foot pedals, a collapsible steering column, front airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, a front seatbelt reminder, front passenger airbag de-activation, rear outer seat ISOFIX child seat mountings and five three-point seatbelts. Side airbags are standard on S models, with additional full-size curtain airbags standard on Exclusiv and SE models.
Whenever the airbags and pre-tensioners are deployed, a series of additional safety measures are automatically activated: the hazard warning lights come on, all doors are unlocked, the interior lights are switched on and the interior heating/ventilation fan and the fuel pump are both switched off.
Adaptive brake lights warn following drivers by pulsing five times per second when the ABS is engaged at speeds above 20mph. All three brake lights are activated. (For details of further active safety measures, see Chassis chapter).
The new Meriva introduces innovative technologies at an affordable price and provides generous equipment levels for cost conscious buyers.
New standard features, like the Electronic Parking Brake, touchpad tailgate opening and adaptive brake lights combine with a height and length adjustable driver’s seat, a tilt and height adjustable steering wheel, FlexSpace seating and electrically-powered door mirrors and front windows to make the Meriva one of the best equipped compact MPVs in its class.
Electronic Parking Brake (EPB). This easy-to-use feature replaces the conventional mechanical handbrake. Instead of pulling a lever, the driver simply presses a button located near the gearshift which electrically activates the rear brakes. The rear brakes are automatically disengaged when the vehicle moves off. The EPB also frees up space between the front seats, occupied by the unique FlexRail center console on Exclusiv and SE models. EPB is fitted as standard across the range.
FlexSpace. The clever adaptable seating concept is the key to the Meriva’s outstanding versatility. The cabin can be quickly transformed between a five, four, three or two-seater layout, without having to remove any seats. The outer rear seats, with tilt seatbacks, can slide longitudinally and laterally.
FlexRail. This unique centre console system provides adaptable, three-tier storage with exchangeable units that slide on longitudinal rails between the front seats. It offers convenient stowage for many different items.
Ergonomic Sport Seats. Available as an option, the Ergonomic Sport Seats have four-way adjustment, four-way active headrests, power lumbar adjustment, while the driver’s seat has six-way adjustment which includes a front cushion tilt. The driver’s seat has received a much-coveted seal of approval from Action for Healthy Backs, an independent panel of ergonomics experts and doctors in Germany. No other car in the Meriva’s segment has earned this certification for its seats.
Flex-Fix bicycle carrier. Also new for Meriva, the optional Flex-Fix slides in and out of the rear bumper like a drawer. It makes carrying bikes easier, since no special tools, fittings, or storage space in the garage are required. The carrier can hold two bikes and, when not in use, slides back invisibly into the Meriva’s rear bumper.
Panoramic sunroof. New for the Meriva, the full-length panoramic sunroof brings an even airier feel to the cabin. Almost two metres long, with an electrically-powered blind, it is standard equipment on SE models.
Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL). Using halogen bulbs, this optional Vauxhall driving safety system has been adapted for the Meriva. It provides Dynamic Curve Light, giving a better view of the road ahead, as the headlamp beam swivels up to 15 degrees according to the steering angle. To assist in low-speed manoeuvres, Static Cornering Light illuminates an area up to 90 degrees from the direction of travel.
Extensive interior choice
The new Meriva offers customers an unprecedented choice of seven colour and trim combinations.
Four trim levels – Expression, S, Exclusiv and SE – share a cabin crafted in textured materials with a standard of fit and finish typical of a more expensive vehicle. Exclusiv and SE trims include chrome-beveled main instrument dials and decor finishes to the air vents, gearshift and centre stack controls which contribute to the feeling of enhanced quality.
Entry-level Expression specification features the wing panel and seat upholstery in muted black, complemented by a black finish for the centre stack and air vent trims.
S specification features side airbags, 7-speaker system with upgraded audio, a large graphic info display, a USB port and a wider range of engines and exterior colours
Exclusiv offers a choice of three interior colours, together with an enhanced, woven seat fabric and chrome accents for the steering wheel and the centre stack trim. The wing elements and seat upholstery can be specified in Jet Black, Jet Black and Red or dark Cocoa in combination with light Cocoa (a beige finish for the wing, complemented by orange for the upholstery).
Top-of-the-line SE specification adds rich, embossed seat upholstery trimmed with black Morrocana and contrasting stitching. Two color combinations are offered: anthracite for the wing and black for the seat upholstery, or Cocoa with blue/grey for both.
Infotainment line-up includes option of both satnav with flash memory and Bluetooth
The new Meriva offers a choice of infotainment systems, including flash memory provision and embedded Bluetooth phone connectivity. The line-up comprises:
CD 300 (standard on Expression): Radio/CD player with 4-speaker sound system, Aux-in, Triple Info Display (TID).
CD 400 (standard on all models, apart from Expression): Up-level radio/CD system includes a graphic info display and seven speakers. The radio features a double-tuner function. When reception is poor, a second tuner searches for a stronger signal and, when found, the radio switches to it with virtually no interruption to reception. Aux-in and USB connections are also standard.
CD 500 Navi (optional): This adds up-level speakers, a 7-inch colour monitor, continuous map-zooming with smooth scrolling, as well as USB and aux-in connections. The internal flash memory (1 GB) allows maps for individual countries to be downloaded from the CD. For added convenience, the destination input offers a search by post code.
Hands-free phone (optional): An embedded mobile phone portal is new for Meriva. When the system recognizes a Bluetooth mobile phone equipped with a SAP (SIM Access Profile), the information stored on the SIM card of the mobile phone is automatically saved in the integrated Phone Module, enabling the driver to make calls or send SMS messages via the module. The mobile phone stays on stand-by in the user’s pocket or handbag, saving its battery.
For other mobile phones, the in-car connection is provided wirelessly for Bluetooth-enabled phones. The phone can be operated via the steering wheel controls, buttons on the centre stack or by voice command. All information is shown on the main display screen.
|Body-coloured door handles and bumpers||S||S||S||S|
|Daytime running lights||S||S||S||S|
|Remote door locking with immobiliser||S||S||S||S|
|Powered, heated, manual-folding door mirrors||S||S||S||S|
|Adaptive Forward Lighting (Halogen)||O||O|
|Front fog lamps||O||S|
|Park Assist, front and rear||O||O||O|
|15-inch steel wheels||S||S|
|16-inch steel wheels||S|
|16-inch alloys wheels||S|
|Flex-Fix bike carrier||O||O|
|Panoramic sunroof with electric-powered blind||O|
|Telescopic & tilt adjustable steering wheel||S||S||S||S|
|Height-adjustable driver’s seat||S||S||S||S|
|Electrically-powered front windows||S||S||S||S|
|Electrically-powered rear windows||S|
|Electronic Park Brake||S||S||S||S|
|Steering wheel controls||P||S||S|
|Front centre console floor tray||S||S||S||S|
|FlexRail console with tray/cupholder||S||S|
|FlexRail console, tray/cupholder, armrest storage||O||S|
|Puddle lights in B-pillar base||S||S||S||S|
|12-volt outlet, centre stack||S||S||S||S|
|12-volt outlet, rear of centre console||S||S|
|12-volt outlet, boot||O||O|
|Reading lights, front and rear||S||S|
|Ambient light in centre stack illuminating console||S||S|
|Ambient cabin lighting||S|
|FlexSpace seating configuration||S||S||S||S|
|Graphic information display||S||S||S|
|Air conditioning with particulate filter||O||S||S|
|Electronic Climate Control (ECC), dual zone||O||O|
|Radio CD300, adds TID, 4 speakers & Aux-in||S|
|Radio CD400, adds GID, 7 speakers, USB, Aux-in||S||S||S|
|CD500 Nav, adds flash memory, CID, USB, UHP||O||O|
|Univ. Hands-free Phone, Bluetooth, voice control||O||O||O|
|Board computer, check control, speed warning||S|
|TopTec stain resistant fabric (light Cocoa only)||S|
|Ergonomic front seats||O||O|
|Embedded hands free phone with Bluetooth & voice control||O||O|
- S = Standard O = Option P = Part of Bluetooth hands free kit
- Choice of five launch engines, from 75PS to 140PS, all Euro 5 compliant
- Two further diesel engines to join range soon after launch
- A range of efficient 1.4-litre petrol engines
- New 1.7 CDTI diesel has six-speed automatic transmission, first for Meriva
The new Meriva’s powertrain line-up is focused on efficient performance that underscores Vauxhall’s strategy of down-sizing and turbo-charging to deliver real world fuel economy and dynamic performance. Offering a power bandwidth from 75PS to 140PS, six out of the seven engines which will complete the range are now turbocharged. All Meriva engines meet tough Euro 5 regulations.
The petrol line-up has been thoroughly re-worked around a new generation of 1.4-litre engines that replace the existing 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8-litre units, reducing fuel consumption, yet increasing power. The 1.4 naturally-aspirated engine now comes with double cam-phasing to deliver 100PS and combined cycle fuel consumption of just 46.3mpg. It is joined by two turbocharged versions: a new 120PS unit, producing 46.3mpg and a 140PS unit, producing 42.2mpg.
Diesel power starts with a 75PS 1.3 CDTi engine which features closed loop catalyst control. The result is combined fuel consumption of 57.6mpg and emissions of just 129g/km. A 100PS 1.7 CDTi is available with a six-speed automatic transmission, a first in the Meriva range.
Two additional diesel variants will join the engine line-up later this year: a low CO2 emitting ecoFLEX variant powered by a 95PS 1.3 CDTi engine, and a 1.7 CDTi equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission and developing 130PS.
More efficient 1.4-litre petrol variants replace larger engines
|Petrol Line up||1.4||1.4 Turbo||1.4 Turbo|
(PS at RPM)
at 4800 – 6000
at 4900 – 6000
(Nm at rpm)
|130 at 4000||175 at 1750 – 4800||200 at 1850 – 4900|
0 – 62mph (sec.)
The petrol range comprises three versions of an advanced 1.4-litre engine, one naturally-aspirated and two turbocharged and all Euro 5 compliant, replacing the traditional larger capacity engines for efficiency as part of Vauxhall’s downsizing strategy.
The four cylinder engine is transversely-mounted and has an aluminum cylinder head carrying dual overhead camshafts that operate four valves per cylinder. The camshafts are chain-driven for maintenance-free operation and low running costs. The cylinder block is cast iron for strength and reduced noise resonance, with a hollow frame design for minimised weight. A die-cast, structural aluminum oil pan adds further stiffness and noise reduction.
Newly developed camshaft phasers with continuously variable valve timing are used on both inlet and exhaust sides. The many benefits include a broader spread of torque, higher maximum power and improved fuel consumption. The camshafts have hydraulically operated vane-type phasers which vary the angle of each camshaft relative to the crankshaft by up to 60 degrees on the inlet side and 45 degrees on the exhaust side.
Cam phasing allows the engine control module to adjust the cam timing depending on engine load and speed. In part load condition, minimum fuel consumption is achieved by extensively de-throttling of the engine while optimising internal exhaust gas recirculation.
The coolant temperature is regulated by a map-controlled thermostat. Under part load the coolant temperature is raised up to 105°C which reduces engine friction and improves efficiency. The flow-controlled oil pump supplies only the oil volume the engine requires, which also reduces fuel consumption.
Further refinements include the use of hollow crankshaft and camshafts, which reduces weight, and a torsional vibration damper to improve running refinement. The combustion system on the naturally aspirated engine features port deactivation under part load for improved exhaust gas recirculation, giving lower emissions and improved fuel consumption.
The entry-level 1.4-litre, naturally-aspirated Twinport engine develops 100PS at 6,000 rpm, a specific power output of 71.4PS per litre. Its key strength is fuel economy, and it achieves 46.3mpg on the combined cycle. Displacement is increased by 34cc to 1398cc.
This version replaces the previous generation 1.4-litre engine, giving 11 per cent more power and four per cent more torque, together with improvements in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The 1.4-litre Turbo version is available in two states of tune. In line with Vauxhall’s downsizing strategy, it replaces the current 1.6 and 1.8-litre naturally aspirated engines for an improvement in fuel efficiency and power.
The most economical 1.4 Turbo produces 120PS and 175Nm of torque between 1,750 and 4,800 rpm, together with 0-62mph acceleration in 11.5 seconds, yet offers fuel consumption of just 46.3mpg.
Strong performance with flexibility is the focus of the 140PS version, the most powerful engine in the new Meriva line-up. An impressive 200Nm of torque is generated between 1,850rpm to 4,900rpm, helping it achieve 0-62mph in just 10.3 seconds. Combined fuel consumption is still an excellent 42.2mpg
The 1.4’s water-cooled turbocharger, spinning at up to 240,000 rpm, is integrated into the exhaust manifold, close to the engine for a fast throttle response. Air-to-air intercooling increases the intake charge density.
The adoption of reinforced pistons and forged con-rods allows the use of a relatively high 9.5:1 compression ratio despite higher stresses and loads. Under-skirt piston oil cooling jets and exhaust valves filled with sodium are further measures to ensure durability under higher internal temperatures.
Two diesel engines at launch; two to follow this summer
|Diesel line up||1.3 CDTi||1.7 CDTi|
|Maximum output (PS at rpm)||75 at 4000||100 at 4000|
|Maximum torque (Nm at rpm)||180 at 1750 – 2500||260 at 1700 – 2550|
|Acceleration (0 – 62mph)||16.9||13.9|
|Fuel consumption combined mpg||57.6||44.1|
|CO2 emissions (g/km)||129||168|
At launch, the CDTi turbo diesel line-up includes the entry level version of the 1.3-litre engine (75PS) and one 1.7-litre variant (100PS). Later this year, the diesel choice will be broadened further by an ecoFLEX variant of the 1.3 CDTi (95PS) engine with even lower fuel consumption and emissions, and a more powerful variant of the 1.7 CDTi engine developing 130PS. All engines comply with Euro 5 regulations.
Both launch diesel engines are fitted with: 16-valves and dual overhead camshafts; a weight-saving aluminum cylinder head; threaded intake ports for exceptional swirl and burn characteristics; a maintenance-free exhaust particulate filter. The main technical features include:
- Common-rail, multiple fuel injection. Operating at high pressures up to 1,800 bar, this sophisticated fuel delivery system ensures extremely fine atomisation in the combustion chamber and enables up to eight injection pulses per cycle to extract as much energy as possible from a given amount of fuel. This results in exceptionally low fuel consumption and exhaust-emissions, as well as reduced engine noise. Multiple injections also help iron out the strong vibrations associated with compression ignition. For example, a pre-injection during the warm-up period reduces cold-start knock to a barely perceptible level.
- Improved exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). The electronically-controlled EGR system has an additional cooling function. Electro-pneumatically operated bypass valve, controlled by the engine management system, ensure that the exhaust gas reaches a temperature suitable for combustion on its way back into the cylinder. This contributes to increased power, as well as reduced emissions.
Acclaimed for its compact size, the 1.3-litre CDTi now features closed loop combustion control. The closed loop system uses pressure sensors in each glow plug to continuously measure combustion quality inside the cylinder. The engine management system then makes minute adjustments to optimise performance and fuel consumption throughout the engine’s life cycle.
The 75PS version generates torque of 180Nm from 1,750rpm to give a level of responsive performance that belies its small capacity. Outstanding fuel economy of just 57.6mpg, with CO2 emissions of only 129 g/km, complete the package.
The 1.7-litre CDTi engine includes a variable geometry turbocharger, oil jet-cooled pistons and a fuel injection pressure raised to 1,800 bar. The 100PS version has a six-speed automatic transmission for the first time in the Meriva range – a perfect feature for city drivers. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 44.1mpg.
Transmissions include new 6-speed automatic
New to the Meriva range is an adaptive, six-speed automatic transmission for the 100PS 1.7 CDTi engine, featuring an ActiveSelect function, which allows sequential gear selection via the gear selector. The on-axis design of this new transmission enables more compact packaging for enhanced crumple zone performance, increased interior space and a lower bonnet line than possible with a conventional off-axis design.
A six-speed manual gearbox, offering a wide spread of ratios and a tall, fuel-saving top gear, is fitted to the 140PS 1.4 Turbo.
From launch, all other engines are fitted with five-speed manual units. These gearboxes are ideal due to their efficiency and mass balance, both of which help generate lower fuel consumption. All manual gearboxes in the Meriva range include triple cone synchronization on first and second gears for easy engagement.
- Improved driving dynamics thanks to wider track and new suspension layout
- UK-tuned steering to cater for more demanding British tastes
- Enhanced active safety features including more sophisticated ESC functions
Vauxhall engineers have changed every nut and bolt in the new Meriva’s suspension and steering to ensure its dynamic performance and refinement matches its visual appeal.
And to ensure that the Meriva meets the unique demands of many British drivers, dynamics engineers from Vauxhall Engineering Centre, based at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, have developed a bespoke UKsteering programme for the Meriva. As a result, the car’s electro-hydraulic power steering system has been tuned to suit our unique road surfaces, with important revisions made to levels of feedback and weighting in the system.
Complementing this is a new, wider platform, with front and rear tracks increased by 39mm and 45mm respectively, in addition to a 14mm extension of the wheelbase. The increased footprint contributes to more stable handling and inherently better road-holding capability. The front and rear axle are derived from the Zafira, which is well established as one of the best handling vehicles in the compact MPV sector.
A core body structure, 7.6 per cent torsionally stiffer than that of the predecessor model, also provided a solid foundation for improving the Meriva’s suspension system, as well as helping to reduce noise and vibration inside the cabin.
Improved dynamics from new suspension
From the start of the new Meriva’s development, improving handling and ride quality were key targets. At the front, the McPherson struts features have enlarged top mountings which separate the paths of the spring and damper loadings to improve the steering response and ride comfort. The springs are also designed to resist side loadings, which reduce friction in the movement of the damper.
The lower control arms are attached to a hydro-formed, hollow section sub-frame which is bolted to the body via rubber mountings to further isolate the cabin from road vibrations giving the Meriva a quieter cabin. The control arms are fitted with hydraulic bushes which help to further reduce vibration in the steering.
At the rear, a space-saving torsion beam axle is retained, while the thickness of the beam is increased by 0.6mm to meet the needs of a new geometry.
New electro-hydraulic power steering system for improved precision and feel
An Electro-Hydraulic Power Steering (EHPS) system replaces the previous all-electric set-up in response to the Meriva’s increased size, larger tyre footprint and the targeted improvements in ride and handling. It is tuned for greater driving feel with less unwanted vibration and kickback.
Vauxhall engineers have specified a new, more compact steering column which offers the driver reach and height adjustment. The range of settings – 40mm for reach and 50mm in height – is exceptionally wide and matches the great adjustability of the driver’s seat, contributing to the improved ergonomics of the car. The collapsible length of the column is also increased and a new top mounting allows greater leg space and more room for protective knee padding.
New engine mounts improve running refinement
Engine vibrations in the cabin – and also fuel consumption – are reduced by the introduction of Neutral Torque Axis (NTA) engine mountings, first seen in the Corsa. These separate the loads from the weight of the engine and its torque movement under power.
The transversely-installed engine is suspended at both ends from two top mounts, while two lower mountings, front and back, control its torque movement. In this way, static and dynamic loads can be controlled independently, allowing engineers to fine-tune the mountings to the characteristics of each engine/transmission combination. In each case, the idle speed has also been lowered slightly, improving fuel economy without causing any uncomfortable resonances inside the cabin.
Upgraded brakes and stability control give greater active safety
The Meriva’s braking performance has been boosted, thanks to the new car’s larger discs, front and rear. Two brake sizes are available, according to engine power:
- Models with the 1.3 CDTi, the naturally-aspirated 1.4 and the 1.4 Turbo (120PS) engines are fitted with 280mm ventilated discs at the front (+20 mm compared with the previous petrol-engined Merivas) and 264mm solid discs (+24 mm) at the rear.
- Variants with the 140PS 1.4 Turbo petrol engine and the 1.7 CDTi engine come with 308 mm ventilated front discs (+28 mm) and 264mm solid rear discs (unchanged compared with previous Meriva).
To liberate more interior space, all Merivas are fitted with an Electric Parking Brake (EPB) as standard. The actuator is at the base of the gearshift leaver and is particularly easy to operate with just one finger, even when the vehicle is fully loaded on a steep gradient. When driving away, there is no need to even manually release the EPB.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is standard across the range and tuned to function progressively, avoiding abrupt, early interventions. When ESC does intervene, it brakes the appropriate combination of wheels, and if necessary modulates the electronic throttle too, helping the driver to regain control.
Traction Control (TC) is included within the ESC system and, as a result, a traditional winter mode button for the automatic transmission is no longer required to launch the car smoothly in slippery conditions.
Other active safety functions controlled by the ESC software include:
Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD),which ensures optimum braking force is applied at both axles simultaneously for maximum stability under heavy braking.
Electronic Drag torque Control (EDC), which prevents the vehicle from becoming unstable due to the braking effect of the engine if the driver suddenly lifts off the accelerator or engages a gear that is too low. If the onset of slip is detected in the driven wheels, engine torque will be increased until the wheels are rotating at an appropriate rate.
Straight Line Stability (SLS) and Corner Stability Control (CSC) are activated if the car is braking while cornering or travelling straight ahead under split friction road conditions. Brake pressure is individually varied between all four wheels in order to keep the car stable.
Brake Assist System (BAS) helps the driver in emergency braking situations by ensuring greater deceleration than possible through the regular brake booster. Even unskilled drivers can achieve shorter braking distances.
Optional ESC functions are:
Hill Start Assist (HSA). This option minimises any downhill movement of the car when taking off on a slope if the Electric Park Brake (EPB) has not been engaged. Typically, HSA briefly maintains pressure at the rear brakes when the driver steps from the brake to the accelerator pedal.
Deflation Detection System (DDS) – option offered in conjunction with HSA. This function warns the driver of any loss of pressure in the tyres. The ESC wheel speed sensors detect any change in the radius of the tyre due to deflation as the rotational speed signal will be altered. The driver is then alerted by a warning display.
Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist (HBFA) automatically raises braking pressure to compensate for fade under repeated heavy braking applications.
Active Rollover Protection (ARP) prevents the possibility of the vehicle overturning when cornering at high speeds. The ESC controller applies the brakes as required to maintain stability – a useful feature, particularly when carrying a heavy roof load.
8. NEW VAUXHALL MERIVA TECHNICAL DATA
|Petrol engines||1.4||1.4 Turbo
|Emissions standard compliance||Euro 5||Euro 5||Euro 5|
|Number of cylinders / valves per cylinder||4/4||4/4||4/4|
|Bore x stroke||mm||73.4 x 82.6||72.5 x 82.6||72.5 x 82.6|
|at rpm||6000||4800 – 6000||4900 – 6000|
|at rpm||4000||1750 – 4800||1850 – 4900|
|Compression ratio||10.5 : 1||9.5 : 1||9.5 : 1|
|Trailer load in kg|
|Braked at 10% gradient||850||1150||1300|
|Braked at 12% gradient||750||1050||1200|
|Emissions standard compliance||Euro 5||Euro 5|
|Number of cylinders /valves per cylinder||4/4||4/4|
|Bore x stroke||mm||69.6 x 82.0||79.0 x 86.0|
|at rpm||1750 – 2500||1700 – 2550|
|Compression ratio||16.8 : 1||18.0 : 1|
|Trailer load in kg|
|Braked at 10% gradient||1100||-|
|Braked at 12% gradient||1000||1200|
|Driving performance, fuel consumption and emissions|
|Performance||Fuel Consumption (mpg)2||CO2|
|Maximum speed. mph||Acceleration
0 – 62mph in seconds
|1.4 Turbo (120PS)||117||11.5||35.3||56.5||46.3||143|
|1.4 Turbo (140PS)||122||10.3||32.1||52.3||42.2||156|
|1.3 CDTI (75PS)||99||16.9||47.9||65.7||57.6||129|
|1.7 CDTI (100PS)||106||13.9||32.8||55.4||44.1||168|
2 Data according to 1999/100/EC
|Car dimensions in mm|
|Width mirrors retracted / extended||1812/1992|
|Turning clearance in m|
|Kerb to kerb||11.06|
|Luggage compartment dimensions in mm|
|Floor length to rear seat backs||815|
|Floor length with rear seat backs folded down||1642|
|Width at wheelarches||1038|
|Height of sill||669|
|Height boot-lid opening||791|
|Width at waistline||1038 – 1086|
|Luggage compartment capacity (l) according to ECIE|
|Luggage compartment to top of rear seat backs||400|
|With rear seat backs folded forward, up to top of front seat backs||920|
|With rear seat backs folded forward, up to roof||1500|
|Weight and axle load in kg|
|Kerb weight incl. driver (according to 70/156/EC)||from 1360|
|Gross vehicle weight||1890|
|Maximum axle load, front / rear||985/950|
|Maximum roof load||60|
|Fuel tank capacity (in liters)||54|