Rüsselsheim. The Opel Meriva has, since its first appearance in 2003, been the star and benchmark amongst the small monocabs. The second generation launched in 2010 has raised the standard with innovative features such as its rear-hinged FlexDoors, its exquisite, flexible seating, relaxed posture on front- and rear seats and many clever storage solutions. All these make the current Meriva the Ergonomics Champion, as has been concluded by independent health experts. Opel now presents the new Meriva – more sophisticated, more efficient and more functional than ever. It will celebrate its world premiere at the Brussels’ motor show in mid-January (January 16-26, 2014).
The new Opel Meriva is a consistent continuation of the previous concept enhanced with finer ingredients. It receives a new face that has the characteristics of the new Opel Insignia just revealed at the IAA, with an elegant, generously chromed front grille and sparkling design for the lights. LED technology is now available for the daytime running lights and rear lamps resulting in a crisp, high tech look. A fine chrome trim highlights the typical window wave-shaped beltline, raising the Meriva’s appeal and placing it neatly alongside the ADAM, the Cascada and the Insignia.
As well as looking the part, a class act also needs a first class engine. The new Meriva features Opel’s new generation diesel powertrain, the 1.6 CDTI that is just having its debut in the Zafira Tourer. This ultra-refined whisper-diesel, the quietest in its class, is initially available in the power variant 100 kW/136 hp and delivers 320 Newtonmeters of maximum torque. It consumes just 4.4 liters per 100 kilometers and emits 116 grams of CO2 per kilometer, 10 per cent less than its 96 kW/130 hp, 1.7 predecessor. In the course of the year 2014, other 1.6 diesel engines will follow, which will be even more economical and have even lower CO2 emissions.
In addition to the 1.6 diesel, all gasoline engines and the LPG variant in the new Meriva already comply with the future, strict Euro 6 emissions limits. The 1.4 liter gasoline engines (88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp) are now also offered in combination with a reworked low-friction six-speed automatic transmission. As for the five and six-speed manual gearboxes, these have been substantially upgraded and offer more precise shifting, with smooth operation and minimal effort.
The new Meriva also receives a new, state-of-the-art IntelliLink infotainment system with embedded, fast and user-friendly navigation and voice control. The large, high-definition, seven-inch color monitor affords great readability and easy operation. It also displays the image from the rear-view camera. Making calls and audiostreaming via Bluetooth are also possible. The Navi 950 IntelliLink comes standard with comprehensive map information covering the whole of Europe, and further updates can easily be downloaded via USB.
“A decade ago, the first Opel Meriva stood alone in the market place. Now more than 20 models compete in its segment, but it remains unchallenged as far as ergonomics and flexibility are concerned. In addition, with the new Meriva come substantial enhancements. These are upgrades in design, a new generation clean and powerful diesel engine, reworked transmissions and a new generation IntelliLink infotainment system. With the new Meriva as part of our product offensive, we simply want to remain right at the top of the vehicle class we created ten years ago,” said Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann.
Following several prizes such as the Golden Steering Wheel and the Plus X Award, the Meriva was named “the vehicle with the highest level of customer satisfaction in the compact monocab segment”, as part of the J.D. Power VOSS Study Germany 2013. In short: Meriva drivers are the most content of all respondents– the best proof that as well as the high standard of driving comfort and technology, the quality of Opel’s small monocab is spot on.
Prices of the new Meriva will be announced in November when its order books are opened, and the first cars will be delivered to customers as of the third week of January.
A DETAILED REVIEW
Fresh design with chic features and elegant chrome elements
Opel’s design philosophy – sculptural artistry meets German precision – fits perfectly with a small, highly flexible monocab. The new Meriva benefits from many improvements that give it a more refined appearance. The front fascia now features a new grille with higher chrome content, as well as chrome accents embracing the fog lamps. The grille is framed by the newly-designed front headlights with an eagle eye graphic. For the first time, LED daytime running lights are available. On the side, the new elegant chrome beltline effectively highlights the waved design that accentuates the rear window. This feature and the centrally located door handles mark out the innovative FlexDoors, rear-hinged rear doors which allow for easy entry into the vehicle.
The dynamic and elegant character of the rear gets a new touch of class thanks to LED lights with new, marked high quality graphics. The new Meriva also features newly-designed 17 and 18 inch wheels with premium look and feel. With this, the Meriva remains the only small monocab offering 18-inch wheels which give it a unique stance and presence on the road, placing it a cut above its competitors.
New Euro 6-clean diesel generation with trend-setting technology
The new Meriva boasts the new generation Opel 1.6 CDTI medium-displacement turbo-diesel engine. Developed from scratch, this engine is just making its debut in the Zafira Tourer. In the Meriva, its several variants will progressively replace the 1.3 and 1.7 CDTI power units. The new 1.6 CDTI convinces with strong performance, great fuel economy, and impressive refinement. However, it does not just cater to its passengers but also to the environment. Already today, it complies with the future emissions regulation Euro 6, that will come into force in September 2015.
Initially, Opel will offer the new Meriva with the 100kW/136hp version of this new generation engine. The all-aluminum power unit with Common-Rail direct injection and Variable Turbine Geometry Turbocharger offers 320 Newtonmeters of maximum torque at 2,000 rpm. It also impresses with its values in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions thanks to the lowest frictions of its engine class between1,500 and 2,500 rpm. Consumption and emissions are expected to be of only 4.4 liters per 100 kilometer and 116 grams per kilometer respectively. This is a 10% improvement compared to the previous 96 kW/130 hp 1.7 CDTI (which required 4.9 liter and produced 129 grams). Additional versions of the new generation 1.6 CDTI with even lower fuel consumption and CO2 levels will be introduced in the first half of 2014.
Furthermore, the new generation 1.6 CDTI is top of its class in terms of refinement, thanks to efficient combustion with multiple injection, optimized design of its components and the use of acoustic covers. Whatever the engine speed and load, it stuns with its silence.
Euro 6-confirm gasoline engines and new low-friction transmissions
The new Meriva is also available with a choice of three 1.4 liter gasoline engines. The naturally-aspirated entry-level version produces 74 kW/100 hp. The two turbo-charged variants offer 88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp, and can both be equipped with a newly-evolved, low-friction six-speed automatic transmission with an ActiveSelect function allowing sequential gear selection via the shift lever. This combination of gasoline engine + automatic transmission is a step up from the Meriva’s initial offering and is expected to attract 15 to 20% of all customers. As for the 1.6 CDTI, all gasoline engines in the new Meriva are already compliant with the strict Euro 6 emissions regulation.
The LPG version of the new Meriva is also already Euro 6 compliant. The 88 kW/120 hp, 1.4 Liter Turbo LPG not only reduces CO2 emissions to around 121 grams per kilometer, but also cuts fuel costs by almost half. And LPG is not short of refueling opportunities: It is available at almost 30.000 stations across Europe.
Independent of engine considerations, all new Meriva variants also offer a new level of gear-change comfort, thanks to Opel’s 50 million Euro investment into the optimization of the current five- and six-speed transmissions. Numerous changes to the gearbox components and gear-change mechanisms as well as to their integration into the vehicle have ensured a substantial enhancement. This is especially noticeable with the new Meriva’s manual transmissions: shifting now requires minimal effort and is quicker, softer and more precise.
State-of-the-art IntelliLink infotainment system with embedded navigation
The new Meriva also receives a new generation, state-of-the-art IntelliLink infotainment system enabling seamless smartphone integration into the vehicle. The large, high-definition, seven-inch color monitor offers a new interface with IntelliLink graphics that enhance readability and make operation easy. The system features Bluetooth hand-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, and additional connectivity via USB.
IntelliLink in the new Meriva has a standard CD player and DAB – Digital Audio Broadcast – is offered as an option that raises the bar in terms of radio reception and sound quality. Navigation is embedded into the system, in the Navi 650 and the Navi 950 IntelliLink. It is extremely fast and precise, and destinations can be entered easily via voice recognition using rapid ‘one shot entry’ (request navigation and just speak out the address in a single phrase) as is possible in the Insignia. Map updates can be downloaded via USB. The top of the line Navi 950 IntelliLink contains maps of the whole of Europe. It also reads out messages. In addition to regular voice control over its own functionality, the IntelliLink system in the new Meriva also supports and integrates smartphones’ own voice control – like SIRI for the iPhone for instance.
Meriva’s interior remains unbeatably ergonomic, practical and flexible
The Meriva is the first and only automobile in the world to be able to boast an award for its comprehensive ergonomic concept. In 2010, independent health experts from the AGR (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.), the ‘Campaign for healthy backs’ awarded the Meriva with the sought-after AGR- quality seal for guaranteeing ergonomics and back protection. Their certification was based on the Meriva’s core and exclusive innovations: The FlexSpace seating concept, the FlexDoors system as well as its ergonomic front seats and its unique Flex-Fix integrated bicycle carrier. These continue to make the Meriva the leader in flexibility and ergonomics.
The new Meriva benefits from a re-designed multifunctional FlexRail central console with improved functionality and increased rear passenger legroom in the central seat, thanks to shorter rails. FlexRail offers the fitting storage space necessary for travel utensils with flexible features such as armrests, drink-holders and storage compartments.
An important component of the excellent Meriva-ergonomics concept is the revolutionary patented FlexDoors system with rear-hinged rear doors. Lighter and more aesthetic, they are less intrusive on rear passenger space than sliding doors. They open out at an 84 degree angle (the ‘normal’ angle is 68 degrees) and offer in contrast to conventionally-opening doors extraordinarily comfortable access to the rear of the car: Facilitating, for example, the easy installation of child safety seats on both sides of the rear seat.
The AGR back health experts also praised the Meriva’s ancillary equipment which make it comfort champion of its class. The FlexSpace-Rear-Seating system allows one to convert the interior cabin quickly and simply into a five-, four-, three- and two-seater and offer a unique Lounge Seating function with outstanding shoulder space and legroom to two rear passengers. The FlexFix-System further enhances onboard mobility with a bicycle carrier neatly integrated into the tail-end of the Meriva behind the rear bumper. When not needed, the carrier glides back into the rear of the car – in typical, easy Opel-style.
In addition, a rear view camera now helps the driver slot into parking spaces by projecting the image onto the 7-inch color monitor in the cockpit. And to complete the Meriva’s all-round ‘feel-good’ sensation, a heated steering wheel function and a large sunroof for star-spotting are also on offer.