The engine range of the new Meriva reflects the current trend for downsizing. Vauxhall offers three 1.4-litre petrol engines, two of which are turbocharged, plus one diesel: 1.6-litres (134bhp).
The new Meriva is larger and heavier than the model it replaces, and for the majority of applications, the 138bhp and 148lb ft turbocharged 1.4-litre engine prove more than sufficient. At MIRA, we recorded 0-60mph in 9.4sec (against an official 10.3sec from 0 to 62mph), which is fractionally faster than an Astra equipped with the same engine.
This forced-induction engine is more linear than it is punchy, and it delivers a smooth, measured response. It is at its best in the mid-range, where it is quiet and responsive.
The same engine is available with 118bhp and 147lb ft which serves up a 11.5sec 0-62mph time and a naturally aspirated 1.4-litre which develops 99bhp and 96lb ft for a more leisurely 13.9sec 0-62.
If longer runs are going to be a common occurrence, the diesel will be more relaxed. The 1.6-litre unit replaces the 1.7 Isuzu-sourced unit, which only gets gruff above 4000rpm and is relatively weedy. The diesel breaks the 10sec barrier to 62mph. It does so by 0.1sec.