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Meet the Meriva, the latest Vauxhall MPV. This Corsa-based mini-MPV, first revealed as the Concept M at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, will be officially unveiled in production form at the Paris Motor Show this autumn and will go on Sale early next year.

The Meriva seats five in two rows, like a traditional hatchback, but promises more versatile capacity than the Corsa - with foldaway rear seats, it can convert to "an exceptionally spacious four-seater in which all passengers enjoy as much leg and shoulder room as in a midsize saloon". The secret of this space is the car's lengthened wheelbase - at 2630mm (103.5 inches) it's almost as long as the Zafira's (2694mm, or 106 inches), although its overall length is 27.5 cm (10.8 inches) shorter than the Zafira. Engines initially on offer will include 1.6-litre (75 bhp) to 1.8-litre (125 bhp) units, but expect a full line-up of petrol and diesel engines within the year.

The Meriva will also be sold as a Chevrolet, and these models will be built in Brazil, but Opel and Vauxhall Merivas for Europe will be made in Zaragoza, Spain. It's ready to take on the Ford Fusion, and Vauxhall thinks that it will fill the gap between the Agila and the Zafira.

More on Meriva

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Vauxhall has released more details of its Meriva mini-MPV, the Corsa-based little sister to the Zafira. The company claims "MPV versatility in a compact car", and says that it can be transformed from a five-seater to a four-seater, two-seater or even a single-seater without removing any seats - they can all fold flat to create more cargo space. The rear seats are divided into three separate units, two wide outer seats and a smaller centre seat, with the outer seats sliding on horizontal rails; Vauxhall claims class-leading load capacity. It is just 2.2 inches shorter than the Zafira, and almost as wide, so its interior space is generous - it offers up to 1300 litres cargo volume with the seats folded, a 68-inch load length and a boot-alone capacity of 490 litres. It can even "swallow items as large as a surfboard", suggests Vauxhall, always keen to emphasise its trendy 'lifestyle' credentials.

The Meriva was developed by Opel's International Technical Development Centre in Russelsheim, Germany, and GM Brazil's Design and Engineering Centre in Sao Paulo, and it will be produced at GM's Zaragoza plant in Spain, making it a truly international effort. For the UK, it will be offered with a variety of petrol and diesel engines "ranging from 1.6 to 1.8 litres in size", probably derived from those used in the Corsa, Astra and other Opel models. The Meriva will go on Sale in Europe next spring.

Last edited by Webby; 26th Oct 2006 9:08pm.

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