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Vauxhall Meriva

The new Vauxhall Meriva has an improvement in fuel economy of 15 per cent

‘Flex’ is the buzzword for the new Vauxhall Meriva; in addition to the new models consuming 15% less fuel, a super-economy ecoFLEX version will be offered, as part of a range that also has FlexDoors, FlexRail and FlexSpace.

The average improvement in fuel economy of 15 per cent comes from an engine line-up that features six turbocharged units with power outputs from 75 to 140PS. This equates to emissions that are around 25g/km lower across the range.

The new Meriva adopts design language from the Insignia and new Astra, and the idea is that although this is a small family car, it offers better access and more space than it should. This is due in part to the rear passenger doors opening the wrong way: the new Meriva will be the first Vauxhall to feature FlexDoors. These are rear-hinged back doors which swing open towards the back of the car at an angle of nearly 90 degrees. A high roofline provides extra help with access.

One benefit of this is that lifting small children into child seats is much easier than with conventionally opening doors. Thankfully, the FlexDoors can only be opened by occupants while the car is stationary, an automatic lock engaging as soon as the car pulls away.

It’s the first time that the Meriva’s FlexDoor system, with front and rear doors that open independently, has been used on a family car in recent years.

Inside, the FlexRail allows storage solutions that fix on a rail on a centre console, and there are lots of storage bins for children’s stuff. And the new, easier to use FlexSpace system makes it easier to move and fold the rear seats.

With a longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks, Vauxhall promises a significant improvement in the ride and handling of the new car.

The new Meriva, which will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.