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Opel Meriva packs a punch!

Yes, its attraction are unusual doors.

Meriva’s conventional doors are second to none! The second-generation incarnation of this compact MPV features a nifty rear-hinged door system that significantly improves access to the rear seats. It’s a novel yet endearingly simple feature despite the fact that Opel says it was painstakingly developed over a five-year period.

These “suicide doors” has drawn vast interest from unusual suspects the BLUE UNIFORM members, whom after relishing on it, swore they’d take this up with big bosses: Ria Phiyega and Nathi Mthethwa.

Aha, tsotsi be on alert, Meriva is on your tail!

Its cool, sporty, and sport a family face. And it goes on the road…It ain’t finicky either!

It is available in two trim levels in mzansi: the Enjoy and the Cosmo and both make use of the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine also found in the Astra GTC base model.

The front-wheel-drive Meriva is able to hit the 100km/h mark in a 10.3 seconds. The six-speed manual gearbox is pleasant enough too, with the sixth cog making highway cruising particularly relaxing (and quiet).

With the petrol hike today, good news for first time Meriva owners is that, it’s economical in that department.

It is longer and wider than its predecessor  handles admirably for a compact MPV, yet still manages to pull off a really comfortable ride. The electro-hydraulic power steering system doesn’t draw attention to itself, which means it’s doing its job rather well. In all, it’s a simple, comfortable vehicle to drive.

Back to the unusual doors, my gran was astonished as she tried to open the back door as usual. However, she got used to it eventually as we crissed-crossed the Province of NW.

Plenty of kit comes standard, including non-LED daytime running lights, fog-lights, powered and heated door mirrors, power windows, electric parking brake, air-con, seven-speaker sound system (MP3/Aux/USB/Bluetooth), cruise control, and parking sensors.

For about R20k extra, the Cosmo model adds partial leather trim, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a sunroof, auto headlights, auto wipers, climate control, larger (17- vs 16-inch) alloys, and chrome highlights on the door handles.

Other than the trick doors it, also offers new makes version of the original “FlexSpace” rear seat layout system, incorporating what Opel calls “theatre-style seating”.

The rear seats can be moved into multiple configurations, including one that creates a lounge-type seating layout with more width and legroom for two passengers, or one that boosts boot space with the outboard seats sliding forward (and still providing rear seating for three passengers).

For the record, the luggage compartment can hold 400 litres.

Call it family focused but Meriva for me is for any young person with style, class and swagger!

A five-year or 120 000km warranty and five-year or 90 000km service plan (15 000km intervals) is included.
Meriva’s unveiling in the market would be tested intensely, provided its competitors do not follow the same route of “suicide doors”.

Opel Meriva Enjoy – R234 000
Opel Merive Cosmo – R254 000

Verdict:

1-10 (Petrol) 7

1-10 (Performance) 6

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