New Meriva: first pics

January 5, 2010 | By | In New Cars

It'll not reach showrooms until June but you can catch sight of Vauxhall's new small MPV here. Click below for a full preview

Hinges. Putting them at the back edge of a car door, not the front, has its advantages, as car designers discovered when they first used the idea over 100 years ago. Vauxhall’s latest version of the Meriva has them, as you’ll see from these, the first official pictures Vauxhall has released of the car, six months ahead of its UK on-sale date.

Rear-hinged doors make life easier for passengers when entering and exiting and Vauxhall’s are particularly handy because, space allowing, they swing as wide as 90 degrees. But they fell from favour first time round because of safety issues. Where a front-hinged door will be pushed shut by the air slipstream should it come unlatched accidentally at speed, a rear-hinger could be pulled open.

Vauxhall has overcome this by fitting a device that automatically locks the doors once the car is on the move. It will not be the only car to feature rear openers because Mazda’s RX8 and the Rolls-Royce Phantom already have them. But unlike those two cars, the Meriva’s rear doors can be opened independently of the fronts. The set-up will, Vauxhall claims, make it particularly easy for parents to lift small children in and out of child seats if fitted in the rear.

Elsewhere, the new Meriva employs the same ‘blade’ design touches as its new Insignia family car and the just-launched version of the Astra small hatchback. These feature along its flanks and also into the cabin, where the plastics used, Vauxhall promises will be a step above those in the current Meriva.

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