Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

New Meriva Has Class; by MIKE TORPEY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

New Meriva Has Class; by MIKE TORPEY

Article excerpt

TRY this little conundrum for size - what have the Rolls-Royce Phantom, black Hackney cab and Vauxhall's new Meriva got in common? The answer has nothing to do with price, comfort or space. It's all about access, and the regal way passengers can step into or out of the vehicle.

All three have rear-hinged back doors, known in the trade as suicide doors for the simple reason that if the door isn't properly closed and the wind really howls, it could fly open.

This isn't a problem for Vauxhall though, because there's a special lock on the Meriva that ensures the doors can't fling open unless the car is at a standstill.

Smart stuff, but simple too, and one of the reasons why the latest Meriva - seven years down the line from the compact MPV's original launch - is the most family friendly car of its kind.

The new Meriva arrived during the summer with some eye-catching design and the sleek suit of clothes already seen on the Insignia and latest generation Astra.

But the talking point from day one has been the doors, which make for easier entry and exit regardless of passenger size. It's also easier securing kids in child seats, an awkward job at the best of times.

But the versatility doesn't stop there. There's also FlexRail, a three-tier storage system based on rails running between the front and back seats in space freed up by Vauxhall's decision to use an electronic parking brake rather than the traditional handbrake.

The top track carries a flip top box big enough to carry CDs while the lower one has a storage tray with cup holder. And below the FlexRail there's a fixed floor-level tray with twin cup holders.

Then there's the FlexSpace seating which allows the cabin to be transformed from a five to two-seat layout depending on how much luggage space is needed, and the outer rear seats can be moved forwards, backwards or even slide inwards. …

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