General Motors' UK arm, Vauxhall and consequently Opel, has just pulled the covers off the all-new Meriva. The new mini-MPV is the first Opel to feature GM's FlexDoor technology, showcased on the 2008 Meriva concept model.
FlexDoors is a concept whereby the rear-hinged back doors swing open towards the back of the car at an angle of nearly 90 degree. Even though the Meriva still uses a central B-pillar, the company said that the Flexdoors vastly improve the ease with which occupants enter and leave the cabin. Unlike other suicide-door applications such as on the Mazda RX-8, Rolls Royce Phantom and Ghost, the Meriva's front and rear doors can open independently.
The Meriva's exterior styling has remained relatively close to the concept model, keeping many features like the unique glasshouse design that incorporates a downward kink at the back doors just behind the B-pillar. It also shares many styling cues with both the Insignia and Astra. I find the styling quite contemporary and it should give occupants an airy feeling. No interior photos were released at the moment.
The mini-MPV's interior versatility will be boosted by the improved FlexSpace system that allows easier fold-down of the three individual rear seats that can also be mounted back independently to create more boot, leg or shoulder room. Power will come from a lineup of six turbocharged diesel and gasoline units with outputs ranging from 75 to 140PS.
Although I do not have the dimensions of the new Meriva, I guess it should be around the size of the Honda Freed. This new baby from Opel will be formally introduced at the Geneva Motorshow come March.