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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Good scores for space and versatility

Against Some models don’t have enough kit, and forward visibility is poor

Verdict Pricey in comparison to some, but it's still a very good all-rounder

Go for… 1.4-litre Club

Avoid… The pricey VXR

Vauxhall Meriva MPV
  • 1. There are known problems with the power steering system
  • 2. Make sure that the cambelts have been replaced when they should have been
  • 3. The luggage space is huge, thanks to the impressive and clever seating system
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Vauxhall Meriva MPV full review with expert trade views

Few superminis can offer as much space and versatility as the Meriva. Its MPV-like design means there’s plenty of room inside, while the clever FlexSpace seating system allows you to move all three rear seats independently of each other. They even fold flat into the floor to provide a maximum load capacity of 1410 litres. This level of practicality is tough to beat, even outside the supermini market.

Surprisingly, despite the Meriva’s tall stance, it handles well, with little lean in corners, and the supple suspension also provides a comfortable ride. Refinement is good, too, although you're aware of some wind noise in the cabin at speed.

To complete the picture, the Meriva feels very sturdily built, even if the materials used aren’t particularly appealing. On the downside, the lower-spec models miss out on too much equipment and forward visibility is extremely poor because of thick windscreen pillars.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

1.6 Life most popular on the used market and best value. 1.3D not worth the extra outlay

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There’s a good range of engines, and even the smallest are fine for the job, with enough power and flexibility to make purposeful progress, at the same time as incurring only low running costs. The entry-level 1.4 petrol is perfectly adequate, and the 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines are even more punchy.

Of the two diesels, the 1.3 CDTi is a bit slow, but the 1.7 CDTi offers lots more grunt, especially in the mid-range. However, prices for these diesel models are steep, so most people will be better off going for one of the petrols instead.

From the various trims, we’d recommend Club (called Enjoy on early models) because it gives you all the kit you need, such as air-con, electric front windows, remote central locking and a CD player, without costing you the earth.

Lower-spec models miss out on some essential equipment, such as air-con, and the higher-spec Design model costs too much.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Plenty of retail interest for all models 1.6 Design good value

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Compare the Meriva’s price with those of other superminis and you’ll see that the Vauxhall is noticeably more expensive. Weigh this against the car you get for your cash, however, and it takes some of the sting out.

The space and practicality you’ll get for your money is well worth the extra, and when you compare it to similar cars like the Renault Modus and Nissan Note, it’s a far more level playing field.

Pick the right engine and you’ll enjoy low running costs. Our favourite 1.4 will return an average of 44.1mpg and you’ll pay a group 4 insurance premium. The 1.7 diesel will costs more to insure (it’s in group 6), but you’ll get 53.3mpg.

The rest of the engines, even the sporty VXR, will all return at least 35mpg although this model has group 12 insurance.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

1.6 Life most popular on the used market and best value. 1.3D not worth the extra outlay

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Recent reliability surveys have placed Vauxhall consistently in the middle of the table. However, Vauxhall’s newer cars, of which the Meriva is one, have shown a marked improvement over the older models.

Indeed, most Merivas have proved to be impressively reliable. All you really need to watch is the power steering system, as some have been known to cause problems in the past; and, check the service history to see if any work has been carried out on the system.

Also, check whether the engine of the car you’re considering has a cambelt. If it does, make sure that it was changed at 40,000 miles, because leaving this job can have serious effects. If you’re considering a car that’s done less than 40,000 miles, make sure the job isn’t forgotten when you get it serviced.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Plenty of retail interest for all models 1.6 Design good value

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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