Review

Vauxhall Meriva MPV

Price  £13,160 - £22,145

Vauxhall Meriva MPV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Innovative rear doors
  • Versatility and practical interior
  • High-quality materials used throughout
Cons
  • Poor performance
  • Entry-level model is basic
  • Not comfortable for five adults

At a glance

The greenest
SE 1.6CDTi 110PS S/S ecoFLEX 5dr £21,985
The cheapest
Life 1.4i 100PS 5dr £13,160
The fastest
SE 1.6CDTi 136PS S/S ecoFLEX 5dr £22,145
Top of the range
SE 1.6CDTi 136PS S/S ecoFLEX 5dr £22,145

“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 small people-carrier based on the Vauxhall Corsa supermini. It's Vauxhall's answer to the Ford B-MAX and Nissan Note. Like the Ford, Vauxhall has given the Meriva a unique door set-up. Where the B-MAX has sliding rear doors with no B-pillar, Vauxhall has opted for rear-hinged rear doors, much like those of a Rolls-Royce. This means access to the rear is easier and there's more room to manoeuvre child seats in and out.

Inside, Vauxhall has made the Meriva as practical as possible with its FlexSpace seating system. In jargon-free terms, the rear seats can be individually folded or slid backwards and forwards so you can configure the interior for extra boot space or extra legroom.

In the front, the dashboard is well built, if a little unexciting, but everything feels solid and like it’ll stand up to family life for many years. There's also plenty of standard equipment, even on the entry-level model.

Vauxhall trim levels can be confusing to get your head around, but the Meriva line-up is fairly simple in comparison to some of the others. There are four to choose from: Life, Exclusiv, Tech Line and SE.

Life models come with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and cruise control, while Exclusiv models add LED daytime running lights and a different wheel design. The Exclusiv also has a neat safety feature that alerts you if the rear seatbelts aren’t in use.

Tech Line has larger 17-inch alloy wheels and front and rear parking sensors, while top-spec SE trim boasts Vauxhall's OnStar concierge service as standard, a panoramic sunroof and extra storage throughout the cabin.

There are three petrol engines to choose from in the Meriva. They’re all 1.4-litres in size and come in 99, 118, and 138bhp power outputs. The mid-range 118bhp 1.4-litre is our favourite, as it's refined, smooth and has a decent amount of power for overtaking. It's also the only Meriva petrol engine available with an automatic gearbox.

Diesel fans have plenty of choice, too. There are three 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engines, with 94, 108 and 134bhp respectively. The least powerful 94bhp engine is only available in Tech Line trim, though. The 108bhp 1.6-litre CDTi is smooth and powerful enough for most people, plus it's the only engine free from road tax. This engine is only available with Exclusiv and SE trim levels, and these become quite expensive for a car like the Meriva. For this reason, we’d recommend the most powerful 1.6 CDTI in Tech Line trim as it has all the equipment you could need and costs a lot nearly £4,000 less than the equivalent Exclusiv model with the same engine.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3 / 5

Fuel economy could be better, but the Vauxhall Meriva has quiet new diesel engines

Engines, drive & performance

3 / 5

The Vauxhall Meriva’s suspension copes well with all but the deepest potholes

Interior & comfort

3.4 / 5

The Vauxhall Meriva suffers from excessive wind and road noise on the motorway

Practicality & boot space

3.6 / 5

Innovative doors are handy, but there's not as much room as you'd expect inside the Vauxhall Meriva

Reliability & safety

3 / 5

The Vauxhall Meriva scored five stars for safety in Euro NCAP crash tests

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
There is lots to admire about the Vauxhall Meriva - its engine range is strong and includes an excellent 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit that's smooth, powerful and economical. The Insignia inspired interior is one of the best in class, while the car rides and drives almost as well as the Ford Focus. But its the unique door arrangement and versatile seating that are standout. The doors are hinged on opposite edges, meaning they open at almost 90 degrees, and allow you uninterrupted access to the front and rear seats at the same time.
2 / 5
Not a class-leader, by any means. But if you get a big enough discount – and only need to carry four people – the Vauxhall Meriva has some clever tricks up its sleeve.
3.5 / 5
On the move the Meriva is easy to drive, helped by light steering and excellent visibility, so it's ideal in towns and cities. The interior is impressive too, with an easy-to-use layout and good quality materials borrowed from the Astra and Insignia. 
4 / 5
If you're looking for a small MPV, the Meriva is a worth considering. The quirky Flexdoors are a user-friendly feature and it has a spacious interior with good rear passenger room. Rather oddly for a family car it feels like a driver's MPV, with a handling balance baised towards the sporting side. If you're after the last word in comfort, you may well want to look elsewhere.
What owners say 
4.0265306122449
4 /5 based on 147 reviews
50%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
12 Feb 2016
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