- Flexibility meets ergonomic design: Innovative systems extend Meriva leadership
- Coolness meets functionality: Rear-hinged FlexDoors improve cabin access
- Elegance meets efficiency: Refinement in design and technology
Hamburg/Rüsselsheim. Innovative, flexible and stylish: The second generation Opel Meriva that goes on sale in June is elegantly styled and packed with an array of innovative features engineered to optimize the flexible and easy use of space, making it a champion of ergonomic design.
Opel created a new market segment for small, affordable monocabs when it launched the first generation Meriva in 2003. With its versatile FlexSpace rear-seating system, high seating position and roomy cabin, it consistently led the segment during its lifecycle not only in sales – it has sold more than a million units – but also in quality. The Meriva had the lowest defect rate among 113 different models checked by Germany’s TÜV in 2007.
The second-generation Meriva does not rest on its laurels, choosing instead to make a bold statement. Designed and developed in Rüsselsheim, Germany, it translates Opel’s new design language into a dynamic and elegant, yet small monocab. Moreover it takes affordable, on-board flexibility to a new level of functionality, ergonomics and appeal.
On the exterior, it introduces FlexDoors, an innovative rear-hinged rear door system that highly facilitates cabin access, an especially important feature for a car such as the Meriva in which rear seats are often used. It is also an industry first for a volume manufacturer. And, optional FlexFix integrated rear bicycle carrier is not only easy to use; it is also gentle on the back.
Inside, the biggest changes are ground-breaking, with upscale styling, innovative versatility and class-leading emphasis on wellness. The cabin features an improved FlexSpace rear seating system, greater interior storage space enhanced by FlexRail, a revolutionary concept for adaptable center console storage, front seats that offer the widest range of adjustments in the segment, and optional expert-certified back-friendly ergonomic front seats.
Taken together the ergonomically designed features have convinced an association of independent back doctors and therapists in Germany that the Meriva’s special features focus on long-term back health. The Aktion Gesunder Rücken (AGR, Action for Healthy Backs) have given its seal of approval to the Meriva’s standard FlexDoors and FlexSpace rear seating systems, optional fully adjustable front seats and FlexFix bicycle carrier. It is the first vehicle to have so many features recommended by health experts.
FlexDoors opens a new era of cabin access
Meriva opens up a new dimension in rear seat access with its unique rear-hinged rear doors. The FlexDoors are full-sized and open independently from the front doors, thanks to the use of a safe and robust B-pillar that ensures enhanced stiffness and passive safety.
FlexDoors make it easy to enter and exit without twisting or sliding, even in tight spaces. For optimum access, FlexDoors can open up to 84 degrees – much wider than the usual 67 degrees of conventional doors – and come with sturdy grab handles on the B-pillar that are intuitively used. The Meriva’s front and rear occupants enjoy the same wide-opening access, combined with four angle openings.
FlexDoors are particularly convenient for parents who need to lean into the cabin to install a child seat or help buckle up children. When the front and rear doors are open at the same time, a safety zone is also created: The rear door no longer separates a child and its parents. This helps parents to keep an eye on their kids, for example, when getting out of the car. It’s also more natural and convenient for the driver or front passenger to open a rear door to stow a jacket, briefcase or an umbrella behind the front seat.
FlexDoors also add a touch of style. Stepping in and out of the vehicle not only feels much more natural, it looks cool and elegant.
A true innovation, the FlexDoors system has been in development since 2005, assuring top quality, functionality, ergonomics and safety. Among others, engineers developed a highly-sophisticated mechatronic-patented, automatic locking system that ensures passengers are always protected whenever the vehicle is in motion.
Setting new standards in on-board versatility
Increased flexibility is extended to all areas of the new Meriva. The innovative FlexSpace rear seating system inherited from the first Meriva generation has been further developed and refined. Fewer, more intuitive motions are now necessary to move the rear seats and change configurations. One can either glide the rear seats backwards and towards the center of the cabin to create lounge seating that provides more width and legroom for two. Or, slide the outboard seats forward to extend the luggage compartment and still accommodate three. Folding the seats down to obtain a loading compartment of up to 1500 is also easier now due to a simple strap system allowing maneuvers with one single hand. Extra straps make folding the rear seat backs possible from the cabin as well as from the luggage compartment.
The seats from the FlexSpace system allow the rear passengers to also sit higher than the occupants of the front seats in a so-called “theater-seating” that provides great visibility onto the road.
Throughout the cabin, storage space has increased considerably; the Meriva features in total up to 32 accessible locations for items which are most commonly carried. Among those, the revolutionary FlexRail console system consisting of exchangeable storage units that slide on aluminum rails located between the front seats also enhance the ergonomics of the new Meriva and provide a slide-able comfort armrest. The FlexRail system was made possible because of the high mounted gear shift lever and the electric parking brake that is standard.
The new, generously proportioned Front Seats use a similar structure as those in the Astra and Insignia. They offer a class-leading range of adjustment – 240 mm forwards/backwards and 65 mm in height – making it possible for people of all sizes and shapes to find the most appropriate position. In addition, optional fully adjustable seats certified by AGR and featuring additional tilting, extra lumbar support and thigh extension and four-way adjustable head-rests are also available.
Monocab expression of new Opel design
Meriva moves forward Opel’s new, expressive design language – sculptural artistry meets German precision – with the same focus on dynamic elegance and quality already seen on the Insignia and the new Astra.
A lower, sweeping roof-line and Opel’s signature blade side-body motif combine with a wave rear window line to give the new Meriva a fresh, distinctive character. It also improves the visibility for rear passengers, particularly children.
Inside, the wraparound wing-shaped instrument panel, that has been lowered and moved forward, enhances the feeling of width and roominess, while the forward-leaning center stack also adds sculptured space. The cabin is available with six different color and trim combinations, the widest choice ever offered for a single Opel model.
At 4288 mm, the new Meriva has a 15 mm longer wheelbase, with 39 mm wider front- and 45 mm rear tracks over the first generation for improved handling and greater ride comfort. Its front and rear axles are derived from the Zafira, bringing Opel’s new small monocab closer to the standards of the compact class. Electro-hydraulic power steering replaces the previous all-electric set-up. Standard active safety features include a braking system with four discs, electronic stability control and traction control.
The new Meriva’s powertrain line-up is focused on efficient performance that underscores Opel’s strategy of down-sizing and turbo-charging to deliver real world fuel economy on a car with a comfortable and balanced ride. It ranges from 55 kW/75 hp to 103 kW/140 hp. All engines comply with the Euro 5 emissions standards.
The gasoline line-up contains three variants of the new generation 1.4-liter multi-valve engine:
- The entry 100 hp 1.4 liter is the only naturally-aspirated unit in the offer and features variable valve timing for improved breathing.
- A brand-new 1.4 Turbo 88 kW/120 hp with 175 Nm of torque makes its world debut in the Meriva, replacing the 1.6 with 105 hp, for a 10 percent reduction in CO2 and fuel consumption but a 15 percent increase in power.
- A more powerful 1.4 Turbo 103 kW/140 hp version tops the offer. It provides 200 Nm of torque and is equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Compared to the 1.8 of the previous generation Meriva, the new 1.4 Turbo engine offers a 12 percent increase in power and a 10 percent reduction in CO2 emissions.
Two diesel engines are available at launch:
- The entry level diesel 1.3 CDTI powertrain that has 55 kW/75 hp and is fitted with closed loop technology. Opel is the first to adopt this control system that improves fuel consumption on a low displacement engine. It allows the Meriva to only require 4.9 liter/100 km, for a level of CO2 emissions of 129g/km.
- A 1.7 CDTI that provides 74 kW/100 hp and 260 Nm of torque. It is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, new for the Meriva.
Three additional diesel powertrains will join the engine line-up later this year: A low CO2- emitting ecoFLEX model will be powered by a 70 kW/95 hp 1.3 CDTI engine. Two new variants of the 1.7 CDTI engine, both equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, will offer 81 kW/110 hp and 96 kW/130 hp respectively.
The new flexibility champion is also champion in ergonomics
“With the Zafira’s Flex7 and the Meriva’s FlexSpace seating systems, we invented a new fully integrated, on-board flexibility that essentially is more ergonomic than previous versatile concepts,” says Alain Visser, Vice President Sales, Marketing and Aftersales Opel/Vauxhall.
“We wanted to engineer the new Meriva as an ergonomic champion and a new flexibility master in the automotive industry. No other car offers so many innovative, clever features, cares so much for the users’ well-being and makes life so easy. While keeping the Meriva in the small monocab segment, we also made sure to give it the design, quality and attributes of cars from upper classes, and that is something we’re very proud of.”
The new Meriva will be built in Zaragoza, Spain.