Monday 8 March 2010

Vauxhall Meriva pricing announced (UK)

Vauxhall's longer, wider, taller and more stylish Meriva compact MPV will cost from £15,495, over £1,500 more than the current model, £3,050 more than a basic Citroen C3 Picasso, £4,000 more than a Kia Venga and upto a staggering £4,895 more than an entry-level Nissan Note – but the new car is larger and more practical than its predecessor, as well having a more powerful entry-level engine.

The new people-carrier, based on the Astra/Zafira platform and which for the first time adopts so-called “flex doors”, will go on sale during Summer in the UK. Order books are now opened.

The Meriva, which has led the small MPV segment since 2003 – with more than 1m sales, is around 20cm shorter than the Zafira, mostly because of the demands of new crash and pedestrian protection legislation. Engineers say all compact MPVs will have to grow, so the difference between classes will sooner or later be restored.

To go with the sportier, more stylish exterior, the Meriva gets a airy, modernised fascia and interior, which reduces the mass of the dashboard, picks up the improved switchgear, instrumentation and steering wheel of the recently launched Astra and Insignia models. Flexrail (a set of load-bearing rails running through the cabin), provides flexible mounting for a variety of bags and consoles, or which just provides carrying space for handbags and briefcases.

The Meriva is launched with five engine options, two 1.4 litre turbo petrol units from the Astra range (120bhp and 140bhp) and three 1.3 & 1.7 litre turbo-diesel powerplants, producing between 90bhp and 145bhp.

Vauxhall engineers say the Meriva’s new chassis improves the driving experience, giving it better handling and ride, and a considerably quieter and more comfortable ride.

Entry-level S models include a CD player, front electric windows, x4 airbags (twin front & side), electric door mirrors w/ heat, height adjustable drivers seat and steel wheels. However, buyers will need to spend an extra £500 if they want air-conditioning added to the most basic trim. The cheapest diesel model starts at £16,875.

Mid-spec Exclusiv models – starting at £16,650, have air-conditioning, cruise control, curtain airbags and the Flexrail system as standard.

Range-topping SE models start at £17,430 and get a panoramic glass roof w/ electronic sunshade, tinted rear windows and folding tables on the front seat backs. The most expensive Meriva; SE 1.7 CDTi with an auto gearbox will set you back £21,255. All engines get 6 speed manual gearboxes as standard.

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