Mar 2, 2010
• Innovation: host of special features extends flexibility leadership for small monocabs
• Coolness meets function: rear-hinged FlexDoors improve cabin access
• New look: dynamic proportions carry forward Opel’s focus on design language
Geneva/Rüsselsheim. Innovative, versatile and stylish: the second generation Opel Meriva, making its world premiere at Geneva, raises the bar for automotive versatility. It is packed with a multitude of innovative features, engineered to optimize the flexible use of space and presented in a distinctive, contemporary design.
Opel created a new market segment for small, affordable monocabs when it launched the first generation Meriva in 2003. With its revolutionary FlexSpace rear-seating concept, high seating position and roomy cabin, it has always been big on flexibility yet small in size.
Now the second generation Meriva takes affordable, on-board flexibility to a new level. It introduces FlexDoors, innovative rear-hinged rear doors that facilitate cabin access – an industry first for a volume manufacturer. Greater interior stowage space is also enhanced by FlexRail, a revolutionary concept for adaptable center console storage. All this, in addition to an easy-to-use FlexSpace seating system and the option of Opel’s unique FlexFix integrated rear bicycle carrier.
The Meriva’s dynamic proportions brings elegance to the small monocabs. Its expressive exterior and interior styling carries forward Opel’s new award-winning sculptural design language already introduced on the Insignia and Astra. A distinctive wave graphic for the rear side windows accentuates the Meriva’s FlexDoors, while also improving the view for rear passengers, particularly children.
Meriva opens up a new dimension in rear seat access with its unique rear-hinged rear doors. Unlike some current designs, the Meriva’s FlexDoors are full-sized. The use of a conventional B-pillar enables them to be opened independently, without the need for a clamshell overlap by the front doors.
FlexDoors make it easy to get in and out of the rear seat without any twisting or sliding. It’s also more convenient for parents to reach in to help buckle up children. For optimum access, FlexDoors open up to 84 degrees, much wider than conventional doors. The Meriva’s front occupants also enjoy the same wide-opening access.
When the front and rear doors are open at the same time, a natural safety zone is also created. A door no longer separates a child and its parent and parents can keep an eye on their kids, for example, when getting out of the car. It’s also more convenient for the driver or front passenger to open a FlexDoor when stowing a jacket, briefcase or an umbrella behind the front seat, for example.
Apart from better ergonomics, FlexDoors add a touch of style. Stepping in and out of the vehicle not only feels much more natural, it looks cool and elegant.
The FlexDoors concept has been successfully market-tested with Meriva customers since 2006. A patented locking system including a highly-sophisticated FlexDoors logic ensures the passengers are always protected whenever the vehicle is in motion.
Increased flexibility is extended to all areas of the new Meriva. The innovative FlexSpace rear seating system has been further developed and refined and it is now more intuitive to move or fold the seats down, making the system easy to use.
Throughout the cabin, storage space is considerably increased with convenient locations provided for items which are most commonly carried inside a car. The revolutionary FlexRail console system consists of exchangeable storage units that slide on aluminum rails located between the front seats. It provides convenient and adaptable storage for many different uses. The FlexRail system was made possible because of the high mounted gear shift lever and the electric parking brake.
The new, generously proportioned seats, similar to those of the Astra and Insignia, offer a class-leading range of adjustment – 240 mm forwards/backwards and 65 mm in height.
Meriva moves forward Opel’s new, expressive design language – sculptural artistry meets German precision – with the same focus on quality already seen on Insignia and the new Astra.
A lower, sweeping roof-line and Opel’s signature blade side-body motif combine with the wave rear window line to give the new Meriva a fresh, distinctive character.
Inside, the wraparound wing-shaped instrument panel enhances the feeling of width and roominess, while the forward-leaning center stack also adds sculptured space. The cabin is available with six different levels of color and trim, the widest choice ever offered for a single Opel model.
The new Opel Meriva will be offered with an engine line-up ranging from 55 kW to 103 kW. All engines comply with the Euro5 emissions standards.
The gasoline line-up will offer three variants of the 1.4-liter multi-valve engine. Variable valve timing, for improved breathing, is a feature of the entry 74 kW 1.4-liter, the only naturally-aspirated unit in the line-up. The choice is completed by the 1.4-liter Turbo engine introduced on the new Astra range, offered here in two output versions: 88 kW or 103 kW. The top-of-the-line 1.4 Turbo is equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The diesel line-up starts with a 55 kW, 1.3 CDTI engine fitted with closed loop technology. This control system improves fuel consumption: Opel is the first to adopt it on such a small engine. The diesel offer is completed with the 1.7 CDTI motor (74 kW) with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Later this year, the engine line-up will gain three additional diesel variants: A low CO2 emitting ecoFLEX variant will be powered by the 70 kW (95 hp) 1.3 CDTI engine. Two variants of the 1.7 CDTI engine will also be available, developing 81 kW (110 hp) and 96 kW (130 hp) respectively; both are equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission.
The new Meriva benefits from a longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks, which contribute to improved handling and greater ride comfort.
“With the Zafira Flex 7 and the Meriva’s FlexSpace seating concepts, we invented a new fully integrated, on-board flexibility,” says Alain Visser, Vice President Sales, Marketing and Aftersales Opel/Vauxhall. “For the new Meriva, we wanted to engineer the new versatility champion in the automotive industry. I don’t see any other car offering so many features that make life easier.”
Designed and developed at Opel’s engineering center in Rüsselsheim, Germany, the new Meriva will be built in Zaragoza, Spain. It is scheduled to go on sale this summer.
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