Liverpool, United Kingdom (PressExposure) January 15, 2010 -- The Meriva is based on the same platform as the Corsa supermini, but features increased interior space and new features to improve accessibility and practicality. Rear-hinged back doors 'radically' improve access, says Vauxhall, while a number of cabin features boost interior versatility. The new Meriva, due to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year, is the first Vauxhall to feature FlexDoors, showcased in 2008's Meriva design concept. FlexDoors are rear-hinged back doors which swing open towards the back of the car at an angle of nearly 90 degrees, improving the ease with which occupants enter and leave the cabin.
Rather than having to step back, or to one side, as one would using a normal front-hinged door, the FlexDoor allows unimpeded forward access and egress to and from the cabin, enhanced further by the Meriva's high roof line. Vauxhall also says that the lack of B-pillars mean that parents can lift small children forwards in to rear-mounted, second-stage child seats without having to contort themselves around a door. With both the front and rear doors open, a "parent-friendly" zone is created with no door barrier between front and rear occupants, says the manufacturer.
FlexDoors can only be opened by occupants while the car is stationary, an automatic lock engaging as soon as the car pulls away. The Meriva's front and rear doors that open independently, and do not require rear passengers to sit behind the door opening. Inside a FlexRail system provides modular storage and comfort solutions that fix on to an dual-rail base. The new Meriva's storage bin and cubby count has also increased. The current Meriva's FlexSpace system has evolved to allow easier fold-down or movement of the rear seats.
Front seat technology has been carried over from the Insignia and Astra, with Vauxhall's current design language also in evidence. A more dynamic line to the Meriva is evident to the Meriva's monocab design, while the side-panel "blade" is also present and correct. Vauxhall also says that the perceived quality of the materials is improved, as used in the hatch and saloon.
Vauxhall features a longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks, meaning improved road-holding. Six turbocharged units with power ranging from 74bhp:138bhp reduce average fuel consumption and CO2 by 15 per cent, says Vauxhall, which equates to 25g/km across the range. An ecoFLEX model will also be available in the future, says Vauxhall.
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