Vauxhall Meriva SE 1.6CDTi 136ps ecoFLEX Start/Stop
First impressions are key in the motor industry and the new Meriva is a vast improvement from the outgoing model. From every angle the vehicle looks more appealing and user friendly. At first glance the rear hinged doors, or “flexdoors” if you work for Vauxhall appear to be simply a design feature. In reality they do provide easier access to the rear of the car as well as adding a level of individuality to the Meriva.
Once inside it soon becomes clear that the designers have managed to make the car appear smaller than it actually is, you can comfortably fit four adults and the panoramic roof further adds to this feeling of space. The boot is on the small side, this is to be expected from a vehicle of this size that said, there is still plenty of room for the weekly shopping trip, luggage for the passengers or in my case a child’s pushchair.
The SE comes well equipped as standard with all the usual features such as Bluetooth, cruise control, parking sensor etc. Then there is the driving position, as with most MPV style cars the ride height is slightly elevated, again this adds to the feeling of space and size, once you have got the seat to your desired position it is very comfortable and gives the driver (and passengers) a very good of their surroundings.
The demonstrator vehicle we had for a week featured the new 1.6TDCI 136ps engine with just 116g/km CO2 emissions and start/stop technology. I first drove this engine in the bigger Zafira; I remember driving it and being pleasantly surprised by the power and performance then. Put it in the smaller, lighter Meriva and you have a well balanced blend of fuel economy and performance, however the chassis of the Meriva is not like that of VW Golf R, so tearing around B roads will leave you feeling slightly nervous.
All in all the Meriva is a comfortable and well equipped vehicle which fits in the Vauxhall range nicely, for those who want a slightly larger vehicle and elevated ride height this ticks enough boxes to be a contender.