The Vauxhall Meriva retains a few visual similarities to its predecessor, but this new model is larger and heavier. At 4.3m long, it’s close to 30cm longer than the old Meriva, and with that inevitably comes an increase in weight. Its kerb weight is now more in line with small family cars than superminis, even large, practical ones.

That increase is to be expected, given not only the size increase but also Vauxhall’s intention of taking all of its cars more upmarket when they’re replaced. The Insignia and Astra are both larger and plusher than the cars they superseded.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
The Meriva is a relatively sophisticated and appealing small MPV

In this vein, the Meriva gets styling that shares themes – such as the V-shaped grille, some of the side sculpting and the ‘winged’ lights – with its recently introduced siblings.

And it adds an unusual 'wave' in its waistline, designed to ensure that despite the wedge-like side profile, rear passengers (especially small ones) won't feel hemmed in. The last comparable car with such a feature was the Daihatsu YRV, a car which disappeared without trace.

The result is that the Meriva gives off an air of sophistication and maturity that wasn’t present on the old one, even were it not for the rear doors. When they’re closed, the position of the door handle is the only giveaway that, functionally, things are not entirely conventional here.

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