Vauxhall Meriva MPV
Price £13,410 - £22,395
- Innovative rear doors
- Versatility and practical interior
- High-quality materials used throughout
- Poor performance
- Entry-level model is basic
- Not comfortable for five adults
At a glance
“The Vauxhall Meriva is a compact MPV with innovative door design to boost practicality. It’s roomy and high-quality, too.”
The Vauxhall Meriva is a compact people-carrier that shares mechanical components with the Vauxhall Corsa hatchback, tilting against rivals like the Ford B-MAX and Nissan Note. In common with the B-MAX, the Meriva's side doors are hinged at the rear, like those of a Rolls-Royce. The benefit of this is easier access to the back of the car, as well as making it easier to maneuver child seats in and out.
Practicality has been given a high priority inside the Meriva, with Vauxhall's FlexSpace rear seats able to individually fold or slide to enable more boot space or extra legroom to meet the varying demands of daily use.
The dashboard is well built, feeling solid to touch and giving the impression of being easily able to cope with family life. Even the entry-level Life model has plenty of standard equipment, with Club, Tech Line and SE models offering additional functional and styling features if you need them.
The Life has air-conditioning to help prevent occupants becoming hot and bothered, cruise control to make long motorway journeys more relaxing, and alloy wheels to add a touch of style outside. Club omits the alloy wheels, but offers greater interior versatility, as well as a Protection Pack including additional airbags and a system to alert you if the rear seatbelts aren’t in use – reassuring features for parents.
The sporty-looking Tech Line has bigger, 17-inch alloy wheels as well as front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The most luxurious SE trim also includes Vauxhall's OnStar concierge service and is fitted with a panoramic sunroof. It also benefits from storage compartments throughout the interior.
Three petrol engines can be chosen, all 1.4 litres in capacity and offering 99, 118 and 138bhp respectively. Our favourite is the mid-range 118bhp engine. It's quiet, smooth and has plenty of power for safe overtaking, while being economical for a petrol at 47.9mpg – although CO2 emissions of 139 grams per kilometer put it in the £120-a-year road-tax bracket. It also offers the choice of an automatic gearbox at extra cost, making it the only Meriva engine with this option. The least expensive Life model is only available with the 99bhp petrol engine, though.
Vauxhall has recently simplified the Meriva diesel line-up. There's now only one 1.6-litre CDTi engine with 134bhp, available on all models from Club upwards. It promises 64.2mpg fuel economy, while its 116g/km CO2 rating means you’ll be paying £20 a year in road tax, making this a sensible choice if you cover over 12,000 miles a year. Lower-mileage drivers may be swayed towards the petrol cars thanks to their lower purchase costs.
Whichever Meriva you choose is bound to make an agreeable family workhorse. Our only reservation is the car's performance in our annual Driver Power customer satisfaction survey: in 2016 it finished a lowly 145th out of 150 cars tested, with owners citing reliability as a common concern.
Fuel economy could be better, but the Vauxhall Meriva has quiet new diesel engines
The Vauxhall Meriva’s suspension copes well with all but the deepest potholes
The Vauxhall Meriva suffers from excessive wind and road noise on the motorway
Innovative doors are handy, but there's not as much room as you'd expect inside the Vauxhall Meriva
The Vauxhall Meriva scored five stars for safety in Euro NCAP crash tests