Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Vauxhall Meriva 1.6i Life

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Vauxhall Meriva 1.6i Life

Article excerpt

Car makers, you've probably noticed, are doing their level-best to liberate cars from conventional thinking.

It's the compact people-carrier, or midi-MPV as makers prefer to call it, that has sparked this new approach, and the bonnet-cabin-boot formula is fast metamorphosing into a single, flowing shape.

Even the early compact MPVs are now losing their highly individual look. Look at the latest Renault Scenic, for example, the car that created the five-seater midi-MPV class six years ago. Gone are those nicely rounded lines, in their place a beefier, bulkier body that, admittedly, has bags more flexibility.

But these five-seaters are flying off the shelves, and the secret of their popularity is simple: folk want a big car, but they don't want a BIG car.

Mum wants an easy-to-handle, easy-to-live-with run-around that is no trouble to park, requires no unnecessary bending and stretching to settle in the little ones, will swallow the shopping, and that definitely won't eat into the housekeeping.

Dad, on the other hand, might want something that's as smart as the work suit, yet will take the mates, plus sports kit or golf clubs, to the Sunday morning sporting outing. Yet he's got a mortgage, a young family, and doesn't want to pay the earth for it.

So it's a sign of the times, and highly understandable, then, that of all the motoring exotica that turns up on the doorstep for testing, it's the five-seater MPVs that attract the most interest.

One car in particular this year has sparked a neighbourly stampede: the Vauxhall Meriva.

The smaller Meriva certainly makes the most of the cabin space, and is by far the most family-friendly compact MPV on the market.

To emphasise just how much you get for your money, Vauxhall sent along the 1.6 Life, which costs pounds 10,995. The starter Meriva uses the eight-valve, 86bhp 1.6 unit, but the same 1598cc pack can be specified, at pounds 500 extra, with 16 valves, 98bhp, and a livelier performance. …

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