As with the previous Meriva, the current model doesn’t use the platform of another car in the Vauxhall range. Rather, it’s a unique monocoque that, in common with most cars, uses some modular components and sub-assemblies beneath in the interest of economics.

Suspension at the front is by MacPherson struts, with a torsion beam at the rear, and at both ends the systems have been borrowed, with modifications, from the Zafira. Unusually, Vauxhall has changed from an all-electric steering system to a beefier electro-hydraulic set-up. UK cars even get specific tuning.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The 11.5-metre turning circle is disappointingly large for such a small car

In the business of going around corners, as with its performance, the new Meriva feels impressively grown-up but not tremendously exciting. It’s a trade-off that seems entirely sensible, given its intended use and audience.

Although there is a fair amount of body roll, once settled into a corner the Meriva finds good grip in dry conditions; it recorded 0.93g during our measured test. And so it should, given that this is a small MPV wearing the same tyres you’ll find on a rear-drive V6 Mercedes C-Class.

While it is possible to brush up against the limits of lateral grip through one corner, the Meriva is not a car to be driven with prolonged vigour – not because of any fundamental lack of ability, but because the body lean can feel ungainly. Better to drive in a more measured style, safe in the knowledge that the Meriva has grip in reserve and no nasty habits. There’s enough steering weight to work against without becoming overbearing, but little sense of connection with the front wheels.

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What we do have more concern over is the turning circle: 11.5 metres is disappointingly large for such a small car. It’s not so large that it is likely to thwart intended manoeuvres very often, but the sense of applying full lock and still not being quite sure if it’s possible to complete a turn in one hit makes the Meriva feel like a larger car. No doubt the wide tyres are to blame.

Wheels and tyres are also the likely culprits for the brittle ride at slow speeds. Generally, the Meriva is a comfortable car with a suspension set-up designed more for gentle bump absorption than for body control. However, at urban speeds it fidgets more than it should.

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