Friday 2 October 2009

2010 Vauxhall/Opel Meriva shows suicide doors

Spy photographers where in two different places in Germany to get you the best spy pictures yet of the new Vauxhall/Opel Meriva. The photos show the newcomers innovative rear-hinged rear doors and overall design. Previous cars had false rear door handles, extensive disguising around the 3/4 window, front & rear lights and bodywork and 5-spoke alloy wheels.

The new compact MPV is an all-new design, and these pictures, taken in Germany, show the car takes styling cues from both the Insignia and new Astra, whilst staying to true to concept, introduced in 2008 at the Geneva motorshow.

These pictures clearly show the wide-opening rear-hinged doors, without the flunky door handles previewed on earlier mules & prototypes. The car's flexibility is also reported to have been improved by a redesigned monorail system for the rear seats that allows them to be folded away entirely or slide back and forth independently for better leg room or luggage room.

Russelsheim designers have also worked hard to eliminate the Meriva’s often-criticised blind spot at the base of the windscreen pillar and have included stepped rear-side windows to allow children a better view. The new Meriva has a longer wheelbase and wider track than its predecessor, as well as a longer front overhang for better crash protection. The newcomer should measure around 4.1 metres long.

Engines will be taken from the new Astra. Two 1.4s & 1.6s will be available including the new 138bhp turbo petrol with 147lb ft of torque for the former. The latter will get a new turbocharged engine. Three diesel engines will be available – a 1.3, a 1.7 and a 2.0 litre, all featuring common-rail fuel injection. EcoFlex models will join the line-up after launch. Due to slow sales, there will be no sporty VXR/OPC variant.

Before the Vauxhall/Opel Meriva is expected to be launched at the Geneva motorshow in March 2010, engineers will take pre-production prototypes to Scandinavia for final cold-weather testing, Austria for engine testing and the UK for some chassis tuning, before going on sale in during Summer 2010.

Meriva Concept:

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