06 Oct 2011
Innovative, flexible and stylish - words that sum up the second generation Opel Meriva. Elegantly styled and packed with an array of innovative features, this new compact MPV from Opel is engineered to optimise the flexibility and ease of use of its interior space.
Opel created a new market segment for small affordable monocab MPVs with the launch of the first generation Meriva back in 2003. This ground breaking vehicle introduced Opel’s versatile FlexSpace rear-seating system, high seating position and spacious cabin as benchmarks in the class.
The Meriva led the segment in sales, more than a million of the first generation model were sold, and also in quality. In 2007 it was assessed with the lowest defect rate amongst 113 different models examined by the German TÜV quality standards organisation.
The latest generation Meriva builds on these achievements, making a bold statement with its interpretation of Opel’s distinctive design language as a dynamic and elegant small MPV. This latest Meriva takes flexibility and functionality, together with stylish appeal, to new levels in its class.
Following on its predecessor’s reputation for innovation the new Meriva features Opel’s new FlexDoors feature, a rear-hinged door system that significantly improves access to the cabin, especially the rear seats, which are so regularly used in a vehicle of this type.
On the inside the Meriva offers a set of ground breaking innovations for further improved versatility with a focus on occupant comfort and safety. An improved version of the original FlexSpace rear seat layout is applied in this latest generation model while the front seats offer the widest range of adjustment in the segment. Interior storage space in enhanced by FlexRail, a revolutionary concept in adaptable centre console storage.
Such is the focus on passenger comfort and wellness in the Meriva that an independent panel of German back doctors and therapists has endorsed the range of special features as being conducive to long-term back health.
FlexDoors System ushers in a new era of cabin access
The FlexDoors system introduced by Opel on the Meriva offers a new dimension in ease of access for rear seat passengers. Based on a rear hinge design, the Meriva’s FlexDoors open as wide as 84 degrees, much wider than the average 67 degree angle found on most conventional door layouts. The wide opening angle allows ease of entry without the need to adopt an uncomfortable twisting pose or slide onto the seats. Front and rear passengers enjoy the same ease of access with grab handles intuitively placed on the ‘B’ pillar to provide support if required.
The FlexDoors system is particularly convenient for parents of young children that need to be secured in child seats (a prime consideration for this type of vehicle) as access is far less restricted than with conventional door layouts. The FlexDoor layout also provides an element of style to the Meriva. Not only do they look cool, but getting into and out of the vehicle is a much more natural movement.
A truly functional innovation, rather than a styling gimmick, the FlexDoors system was developed over a five year period to ensure that it met the exacting standards set for its implementation by the Meriva engineering team. During the development process Opel engineers researched a number of new technologies, one of these a sophisticated mechatronic patented automatic locking system that ensures that passengers are always secure when the vehicle is in motion.
Meriva offers new standards of on-board versatility
The innovative FlexSpace rear seat layout that captured the market’s attention when it appeared in the first generation Meriva has been further developed and refined for this second generation model. In its latest guise fewer and more intuitive actions are required to change the FlexSpace seating configurations than on the earlier model.
Rear seats can now be positioned backwards and towards the centre of the cabin to create a lounge type seating configuration with more width and legroom for two passengers, or the outboard seats can be set forward to extend the luggage area while still providing seating for three passengers. Rear seats can be folded down to provide a cavernous 1500 litres of luggage volume with a simple strap system allowing this to be achieved with a one-handed operation.
The FlexSpace seating is configured in what Opel calls “theatre style seating” that places the rear seats higher on their mounting points for a feeling of spaciousness and improved visibility for rear seat occupants.
The type of buyer attracted to the Meriva is always likely to be hungry for convenient storage locations within the vehicle. The Meriva provides no less than 32 receptacles of this type.
Amongst these is the revolutionary FlexRail console system that consists of interchangeable storage units that slide on aluminium rails located between the front seats. This feature also doubles as a comfortable sliding armrest. The application of the FlexRail system is made possible by the freeing up of space through the use of a high mounted gear shift lever and an electronic parking brake.
The front seats are of generous proportions for a vehicle of this size and offer the largest adjustment range in the class – 240mm forwards/backwards movement and 65mm of height adjustment – making it possible for drivers of widely varying size and shape to find a comfortable driving position.
An expression of Opel’s new design language
Opel’s expressive design language – sculptural artistry meets German precision – is applied to the new Meriva with the focus on dynamic elegance seen on other new models, like the Astra, from Opel.
Sleeker, with a lower roof line than its predecessor, the Meriva has a fresh, distinctive character. Improved window treatments compliment the styling package whilst adding function as well with improved visibility for rear seat passengers, especially children.
The interior styling sees the now familiar wraparound wing-shaped instrument panel mounted lower and farther forward to enhance the feeling of width and spaciousness for front seat occupants.
The second generation Meriva is characterised by a longer wider stance and overall packaging efficiency. At 4288mm the wheelbase is 15mm longer than the previous model, while front track is increased by 39mm and rear track by 45mm for improved handling, stability and ride comfort.
Both the front and rear axles are derived from the larger Zafira imparting standards closer to the compact class Opel to the smaller Meriva. Electro-hydraulic power steering is standard. Disc brakes are fitted on all wheels with ABS, electronic stability control and traction control fitted as standard.
The power train options offered on the new Meriva are focused on a balance of performance and efficiency that supports Opel’s strategy of down-sizing and turbo-charging engines to deliver real world gains in fuel efficiency and lower emissions. All engines are Euro 5 emissions compliant.
The top of the range petrol engine, a 1,4 litre turbo-charged unit mated to a six-speed manual transmission, produces 103 kW with maximum torque of 200 Nm. Compared to the 1,8 litre petrol engine of the previous generation model this engine offers a 12% increase in power together with a 10% reduction in CO2emissions.
The new Meriva was created to be the class champion of ergonomics and flexibility. It offers a range of innovative and clever features that provide for passenger comfort, safety and wellbeing that is not found on other vehicles. While the Meriva remains a competitor in the small MPV segment it features the design and quality attributes of vehicles from larger classes that set it apart from its competitors.
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