I’ve always loved the rear doors in the Opel Meriva. It’s perhaps an unusual statement but these doors open backwards, like a traditional London cab.
Not only is it a quirky design feature, there is practicality behind it as well – opening doors that way makes it easier to load baby seats and also makes it easier for elderly people to get in and out.
Ford has a similar idea with its B-Max, which has sliding rear doors and no centre pillars.
The facelifted Meriva is a smart looking MPV, with a bright, spacious cabin and room for four adults.
Our top of the range SE test car had a lovely panoramic glass roof, which is standard on this trim. It doesn’t open though.
Legroom back and front is great and the rear seats slide individually.
The boot is large as well, and the test car had a net to prevent items being thrown around. Rear seats fold but they do not not lie flat. There’s a ski hatch through from boot also.
I liked the seating position in this car – it’s nice and high up with a commanding view of all around you.
Opel has had a good think about storage in this car, with lots of cubbies, both hidden and in plain sight.
The test car had a tiered storage box in between the front seats, which doubles as an armrest.
It slides for access and offers three levels of storage, with cup holders and various sized compartments.
While the storage area was great, I found it quite fiddly to move the various tiers.
There are also storage boxes under the front seats and the door bins were also tiered, with a quirky design. The glove compartment isn’t the biggest, however.
Our car was fitted with the optional IntelliLink with Navi 950 infotainment system (€1,425). This offers an excellent Sat Nav as well as phone pairing, voice controls and music streaming.
The audio quality is very good but I found the unit itself a bit button-tastic – there are far too many for ‘at a glance’ use and there’s no touchscreen.
The gear stick is also very close to it – not good for button-fiddling front seat passengers and gear-changing drivers.
It was also a pain (and time consuming) entering addresses into the SatNav because you have to scroll through the letters.
I found it easy to pair my phone and to stream music though.
Our test car was a 1.6-litre 136ps six-speed diesel with electric parking brake.
I’m generally not a fan of the electric parking brake, but it worked fine and the light stayed on long enough for you to be able to double check that you’d set it on leaving the car.
Our route in this car took us through the city, on the motorway and on winding country roads.
It’s a very good car to drive. It feels very solid on the road and there’s a nice bit of poke in it.
It’s also fast at the lights and faster than you’d expect on a 0 to 120kph sprint on the motorway – cabin soundproofing could be better though.
I also found the clutch to be very springy so quite tiring on your leg while driving in rush hour city traffic.
Our test car also came with the Flexifix bike carrier (€863). This handy and accessible carrier at the rear of the car pops out when you want to use it and folds back into the rear bumper when not in use. It can carry two bikes.
Overall, I liked the Opel Meriva. It’s pleasant to drive and I loved the quirky design features. It’s a well thought out family car.
The Opel Meriva is available now in a range of engines. Prices start from €18,995. Prices for the SE trim start from €21,995, with options bringing the test car to €26,299.
Engine: 1.6litre CDTi 136ps diesel
Acceleration: 0-100kph in 9.9seconds
Maximum Speed: 197kph
CO2 emissions: 116g/km
Combined fuel economy: 4.4l/100km
Annual road tax: €200