- Innovative seating
- Practical suicide doors
- Efficient engines
- More expensive than some rivals
- Notchy gearboxes
- Not great to drive
Stylish practical compact MPV
The Vauxhall Meriva is a car that’s geared towards family practicality above all else. First introduced in its latest second generation guise in 2010, the Meriva is a compact MPV that’s a rival to the Ford B-Max and the Nissan Note. One thing that’s unique to the Meriva is its innovative suicide rear doors. Not only do they look good, they’re also extremely practical, especially if you need to get kids in and out. The Meriva is also spacious, comfortable, and safe, all of which make it one of the best compact MPVs currently on the market.
An update in 2014 saw a facelifted exterior, as well the introduction of new and improved technology.
Flexible, spacious, and generously equipped
Stepping into a Meriva is a pretty similar experience to getting into any modern Vauxhall. Vauxhall has a successful blueprint for its interiors, so it’s little wonder that the Meriva is pretty much the same. The Meriva is also one of the most spacious cars in its class, and you’ll get plenty of kit as standard.
The dashboard of the Meriva is aesthetically contemporary and well built. It doesn’t feel quite as solid as a Volkswagen, but it’s certainly built to last. Plastics used for the majority of the cabin are the soft touch materials that we all crave, though you can find some cheaper plastics if you go searching for them. Controls are a little cluttered compared to some rivals, but they’re pretty easy to use. Visibility is also excellent, which make the Meriva easy to drive around busy town centres.
If there’s one area in which the Meriva excels, it’s in the space and practicality that it offers. Not only is there lots of cubby holes in the cabin, there’s also endless seating flexibility. Boot space is also impressive. The 397 litre capacity is much bigger than the Ford B-Max (318 litres), and the Nissan Note (325 litres). That means there’s more room to get a bulky buggy in the back, and for a big family shop.
Equipment levels in the Meriva are also pretty generous. The entry-level Life trim comes equipped with cruise control, electric front windows, and Bluetooth connectivity. Most buyers will want to go for the slightly more expensive Tech Line trim though, as it adds family essentials such as parking sensors, air-con, electric rear windows, heated front seats, and Vauxhall’s innovative FlexiRail centre console.
The inside of the Meriva is a pretty impressive package. It’s spacious, flexible, and is built for the rigours of family life. It’s not as classy as some German rivals, but no car offers greater practicality.
Comfortable, but not the most refined ride
Compact MPVs aren’t designed to be great drivers cars, and the Meriva doesn’t buck the trend. It’s pretty easy to drive, and it’s grippy enough through the corners to instill confidence. What lets the Meriva down is its steering. It doesn’t offer a great deal of feedback, whilst it’s also heavy around town, and fidgety on the motorway. There’s also a fair bit of body roll, which makes cornering at speed a little undulating.
Suspension and Chassis
What the Meriva lacks in driving experience, it makes up for in comfort. The chassis and suspension may seem a little firm at first, but the Meriva easily copes with rough surfaces and potholed B-roads. Unfortunately however, the Meriva isn’t the best car for long motorway journeys. That’s because there’s a fair bit of road and wind noise at speed, which can become a little irritating when you’re clocking up the miles.
Gearbox options in the Meriva come in three guises. Entry-level Merivas come with a five-speed manual transmission, that isn’t the most impressive. The gear-change feels loose, whilst the lack of sixth gear can make cars in this guise noisy at speed. Higher spec models come with a six-speed manual, that solves the latter problem, but not the former. There’s also an automatic option available with the low powered diesel engine.
A solid range of green, efficient engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Meriva, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. The entry-level 1.4 litre petrol is the worst of the bunch, as it’s the thirstiest, and the dirtiest. Go for any other engine however, and you should save yourself plenty of money.
Petrolheads don’t usually look at compact MPVs for performance, so there’s no engine in the range that caters for adrenaline junkies’ needs. The most powerful engine on offer in the Meriva is the diesel-powered 1.6 CDTi 16V EcoFlex model, which produces 136bhp, and accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds. Hardly headline figures, but for a car in this class it’s still pretty quick.
Eco-friendly buyers will be pleasantly surprised by the engines on offer in the Meriva range. The stand-out option is the 1.6 CDTi (110) which produces just 99g/km of CO2 emissions. That’s not only good enough to help save the planet, it also makes this model road tax exempt. Understandably, this will make this model a great option for money savers as well, especially when you consider the fact that it’s the most economical. With up to 74.3 mpg on offer, you can save yourself plenty of money at the service station every month.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Meriva, you’re going to get a modern, efficient engine, that has enough power to deal with day-to-day family needs. It’s worth avoiding the entry-level 1.4 litre petrol engine if you can though.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests and impressive safety kit
Like nearly every car in its class, the Vauxhall Meriva easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 89% in adult safety, 77% in child safety, and 55% in pedestrian safety, the Meriva isn’t quite as impressive as some of its more modern rivals. Nevertheless, it’s still a safe car to be in, especially when you consider that the Meriva comes as standard with traction control, electronic stability control, and the usual array of airbags.
Good value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Vauxhall Meriva represents superb value for money for family buyers. OK, it’s not the cheapest car in its class to buy, but day-to-day running costs should be low. This varies from model to model, but generally speaking CO2 levels, and fuel efficiency is impressive throughout the range. If you really want to save yourself money, take a closer look at diesel models.
Insurance groups in the Meriva again depend on which model you choose to go for. Starting in group 6 for the 1.3 CDTi Active, the Meriva range spans all the way up to group 17 if you go for the range-topping 1.6 CDTi 16V Exclusive. Whichever model you choose to go for in the Meriva range, you shouldn’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent rival.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Meriva, but only for the first year. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Vauxhall Meriva is an excellent choice for family buyers looking for a compact MPV. It’s practical, flexible, and spacious, which is ideal for day-to-day family life. There’s also some efficient engines, a well-built interior, and plenty of equipment. It’s not as fun to drive as a Ford B-Max, but the Meriva is without doubt one of the most complete cars in its class.
Buying a used Vauxhall Meriva online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Vauxhall Meriva for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Meriva. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Vauxhall Meriva online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Meriva? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Vauxhall Meriva, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Meriva, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Vauxhall to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.