Vauxhall has shown the first pictures of its new Meriva mini-MPV. The car will be formally launched at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March.
By far the most obvious changes compared with the rather sober and boxy current model are the use of the flowing design language first seen on the larger Insignia and Astra, and the bold adoption of rear-hinged side doors at the back. A kink in the new car's shoulder line – much more pronounced than the similar feature found on Citroën's C4 Picasso – also adds visual interest.
Vauxhall says that the rear-hinged back doors, which have an opening angle of almost 90 degrees, allow much easier access to the rear seats than conventional front-hinged side doors. If you like this feature, the Meriva is probably the car for you because the only other model on sale in the UK with full-sized rear-hinged back doors is the expensive Rolls-Royce Phantom – although the Mazda RX-8 has much smaller rear-hinged back doors and the Mini Clubman has one similar door on the car's off-side.
Full prices and technical details have not yet been released, although Vauxhall says that engines providing outputs of between 75 and 140 horsepower will be available, and that these will achieve average fuel consumption and CO2 reductions of about 15 per cent compared with the outgoing model.