Opel’s new Meriva is not simply a successor model. The original Meriva was a low-key project with unknown potential, almost a try-out in the European small minivan segment, and earmarked to serve the Brazilian market as well. It was co-developed with Opel in Germany and GM do Brasil, based on a hybrid platform architecture which made use of Corsa and Astra subsystems.

But the Meriva worked. It became segment leader in Europe, mostly by virtue of its flexible rear seating, and notwithstanding its less-than-inspiring design. So the design brief for the new Meriva was almost obvious: create a car with even more flexible functionality, and add more flavour to its design. This is in short what the new car is all about.

The Meriva sits on the larger Zafira platform which allowed both packaging engineers and designers a longer wheelbase (264 cm, = plus 1 cm), more interior width, as well as better forward visibility and eventually also larger wheels. Overall length grew by a full 17 cm to 422 cm, and width increased from 171.5 to 176 cm.

The A-pillar is repositioned and set at a different angle. It is also of a reduced section and allows more forward-positioned front door-hinges for better window lowering geometry. This has all contributed to a better forward and sideways visibility, not least because the instrument cluster has been lowered by no less than 80 mm.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 181

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