New engines and a new look for Vauxhall Meriva

The New Year will see a new Meriva, as Vauxhall continues to move its stylish and dynamic model range forward with a revised version of its smallest MPV.

Set to go on sale in the first quarter of 2006, New Meriva gets a freshened front end, with a reprofiled bumper and more prominent V-grille, which brings the mini-MPV into line with the latest Vauxhall family look. At the rear the Meriva gains dark rear lamp lenses and a classy chrome strip across the tailgate. New paint schemes and wheels combine with a revised cabin, featuring extra chrome detailing and fresh fabrics, to complete the stylish new look.

Two new engines will also become available, and both offer exceptional economy. The high-tech 1.3-litre CDTi diesel, as used in Corsa and Tigra, will appear in Meriva for the first time, delivering an impressive combined fuel economy figure of 57mpg allied to a lively top speed of 98mph. The award-winning 75PS unit features common-rail injection and four-valves per cylinder to ensure excellent economy and smooth responses.

The second new addition is to the petrol engine line-up, in the form of the 1.6-litre 105PS Twinport engine used in Astra and Zafira. With 5PS more than the outgoing Meriva 1.6, the newcomer is livelier yet more economical, having a top speed of 112mph and a combined economy figure of 42.2mpg – a six percent improvement over the outgoing car.

New Meriva will also be the next model to get the VXR treatment, with a 180PS turbocharged 1.6-litre engine and distinctive VXR styling. The hot model is expected to go on sale a few weeks after the standard car debuts, with the first deliveries expected in early spring.

All versions of the new Meriva will feature several technical innovations which are unique in its class, including a halogen version of Vauxhall’s innovative Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL). More affordable than the xenon lighting used in existing versions of AFL, the halogen set-up includes curve lights that adjust beam angles subject to speed and steering angles. The system offers far greater night time visibility over standard halogen lighting without the cost of a full xenon system.

Other New Meriva features include a power release tailgate and interior lighting that can be activated by remote control, leading the way to the car in the dark. Optional mobile phone installation with Bluetooth interface is also appearing on the options list for the first time.

Thanks to its FlexSpace concept, New Meriva will continue to offer the same versatility and flexibility that its predecessor has offered since 2003. Despite its compact 4.05 metres length, Meriva offers generous storage and plenty of comfortable seating, and can be quickly and easily transformed from a five-seater into a four, three or two-seater in just a matter of seconds.

New Meriva will be the first of several new products to join the Vauxhall line-up in 2006, and prices and trim levels will be confirmed nearer to its launch in the New Year.