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2011-10-06 10:55

FLEXING ITS MUSCLE: The new Meriva sees an increase in power and space over its predecessor.

Not to be outdone by its hot hatch siblings, Opel is showing its next-generation Meriva MPV at the Johannesburg International Motor Show.

Since being launched in 2003 the car has proved popular globally though since then sales in South Africa were nominal. The 2012 Meriva hopes to earn Opel a bigger market share in the affordable MPV market.

The new Meriva has innovative doors (they’re actually rather interesting) but more on that after the jump…

The new Meriva sports Opel’s new design language for all its models and is marketed toward first time families seeking an affordable MPV. Compared to its predecessor the new model appears sleeker, more elegant and has a lower roof line.


At 4288mm, the wheelbase is 15mm longer than the previous model, while the front track is increased by 39mm and rear track by 45mm for improved handling and ride comfort.

Opel’s down-sizing strategy hits the new Meriva in the form of the power train options available.

The top of the range petrol engine, a 1.4 turbo unit, produces 103kW and 200 m. Compared to the 1.8 petrol engine of the previous generation model this engine offers a 12% increase in power together with a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions.

The engine is mated to a mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

SPECIAL DOORS, NEW SEATS: Rear seats can now be positioned backwards and towards the centre of the cabin.

Opel debuts its new FlexDoors feature on the new Meriva: a rear-hinged door system that significantly improves access to the cabin.

The FlexDoors open up to 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.


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 is enhanced by its FlexRail adaptable centre console storage.

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. With the rear seats folded down drivers have access to 1500 litres of space.

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 likely to need convenient storage locations and the new model provides no less than 32 receptacles of this type.

Its FlexRail console system consists of interchangeable storage units that slide on aluminium rails located between the front seats. This feature also doubles as a sliding armrest. The application of the FlexRail system is made possible by the freeing up space through the use of a high mounted gear shift lever and an electronic parking brake.

Read more reports about the 2011 Johannesburg International Motor Show.


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