Vauxhall Meriva Exclusiv 1.3 CDTi ecoFlex07 | 04 | 2011Scotcars rating

    Vauxhall waves its magic wand over the Meriva and delivers a real family favourite


    Vauxhall have been doing some interesting things of late with their entire range. They used to be pretty bland and boring, but now they’ve got some great style and design – led by the very attractive Insignia, which has gone down a storm in the family saloon segment.

    Look further down the range and there are some surprises there too. Take the new Meriva for example which has been transformed from the previous model. In fact the new car is not just a replacement for what went before. That was based on the Corsa, while the latest model is bigger all round and shares some of its bits and pieces with the larger Zafira.

    The biggest change with the new car is with its doors, which may seem like a small and simple detail but can make life so much easier for parents who have to spend a lot of their time installing child seats, luggage and children into the rear.

    Vauxhall have taken the bold decision to have the rear doors hinged at the back as part of their new Flex system. Apart from the wide angle opening rear FlexDoors, there’s also FlexSpace seating and FlexRail storage which make the car immensely flexible. I was very impressed with the car, which is crammed with clever ideas which are aimed very firmly at making life easier and more pleasant for ma, pa and the weans.  

    On the road

    The test car had the 1.3 diesel engine, which had remarkable ability and performance for such a small unit. With only 95PS, the ecoFlex version uses some clever technology such as a variable geometry turbocharger and a gearbox with taller ratios to get the maximum from under the bonnet.

    What it also means is superb economy of almost 63mpg and minimal emissions which drop annual road tax to only £30. I drove it over a range of country backroads, dual carriageways and motorways and it felt confident and able in all conditions.  

    Comfort & Safety

    The most significant difference is the rear-hinged back doors which do have a huge impact on accessibility, especially when dealing with wee ones. It’s a simple solution and actually reminded me of an elderly Vauxhall my father had in the Fifties which had the very same door system. It’s interesting how a 60-year-old design can still work well more than half a century later.

    What’s also clever is the style of the rear doors which have low sweeping windows to allow smaller members of the family to see out while sitting lower in the seats. Again it’s a simple solution to a common complaint.

    The car is full of clever tricks, such as the sliding central storage console and the rear seats which not only slide back and forward but also sideways when the central seat isn’t being used; the result is extra elbow room. Another simple but effective touch is the automatic locking of the rear doors to keep the kiddies safe.  

    Should I buy one?

    Yes, if you’ve a young family, it’s stylish, sensible and safe.

    Keep up-to-date by following us on

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £18,720 / £19,095
    Engine / Power: 1248cc / 93bhp
    How fast?: 1248cc / 93bhp
    How big/heavy?: H1615mm W1812mm L4288mm / 1333kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 62.8mpg / CO2 119g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: TBC / Band C £30
    Alternatives: Renault Scenic; Citroen Picasso; Peugeot 3008

    User Comments

    Login or register to post comments.
    Send to friend
    Click here to add message:

Car Review Finder