With a platform sized to underpin a supermini hatchback, the Opel Meriva is a small MPV that is surprisingly versatile, backed up by good refinement and a supple drive.
The Opel Meriva comes with a choice of one petrol and two diesel engines. These consist of a 1.4i with 105bhp mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The two diesel options consist of a 1.6 CDTi with 110 or 136bhp mated to a 6-speed manual and a second option with the older 1.7 CDTi with 110bhp that comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 1.4 petrol is an impressive unit with good grunt and decent economy but if you are opting for a diesel, the 1.6 is a better, more refined and economical engine.
The Meriva has quite an elevated driving position despite its compact size. It surprisingly good to drive too as it offers good grip in the corners, its steering is well weighted and its supple setup helps it to absorb road imperfections with ease. On the motorway, it is even better providing a very comfortable and composed ride. The 1.6 CDTi is by far the best matched engine to the Meriva providing a smooth and punchy performance to match the cars surprisingly agile feel.
Like most modern Opel’s, the Meriva feels very well put together. There is a reassuring level of build quality backed up by the use of soft touch, durable quality materials throughout its interior. Its supple ride combined with the latest 1.6 CDTi engine provides a good balance of refinement and comfort too. Its suicide style rear doors make getting in and out of the back seats very easy indeed. Perhaps not as effective a solution as the Ford B-Max sliding door, but a very effective design.
It’s not an easy thing to make an MPV feel a bit special, let alone a small one, but Opel have succeeded here. The Meriva takes its styling cues from the coupe-esque Insignia flagship giving it sweeping back headlights and a chrome grille. Stepping inside, Opel's reassuring build quality and clever design help to give it an upmarket look and feel. With a choice of three trim levels, S, SC and SE, you get a decent level of specification while SE features the Navi 900 IntelliLink touch screen pack.
The Meriva also scored full marks with a full five star result in the Euro NCAP crash test making it one of the safest cars in its class. As standard you get four airbags, ISO-FIX, electronic stability control, adaptive brake lights which flash if you have to brake hard in a situation and hill start assist.
The Opel Meriva is a small MPV with lots of space. You can fit four adults in comfort, or three children across the back would be more than happy. There is good size door pockets and the centre arm rest cleverly slides up and down the middle rail for your comfort. This also contains some secret storage pockets too. There is a very decent 400 litre boot as standard and the rear bench can be slid back or forward to make room in the rear for passenger legs or make the boot space larger. The rear bench can also be folded flat to create 1500 litres of space.