Mild exterior changes hide the real significance for fleets of the Meriva’s mid-life facelift for fleets – Vauxhall’s new 1.6 CDTi engine.
The manufacturer describes the new unit as ‘whisper quiet’, and while this may may not quite live up to this bold claim, the engine is remarkably quiet. it is also far more efficient than the 1.7 CDTi engine it replaces, with the 136hp 1.6 CDTi producing 116g/km of CO2 and official combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg, compared to the 139g/km and 53mpg of its 130hp predecessor.
The lower emissions place it in a substantially lower benefit-in-kind tax band, with the new model at 19%. Vauxhall says a lower-powered version with 110hp, with expected fuel economy of 74mpg and 99g/km emissions, will be available in the near future.
The manfacturer puts the new engine’s refinement down to its highly-efficient combustion process and use of acoustic covers. standing outside the car, at tickover it is much quieter than a typical diesel engine and produces a much softer, less gruff, noise. The refined experience continues on the road, with the engine staying remarkably quiet, even at 4,000rpm.
It produces plenty of power throughout the rev range, and this is delivered smoothly by the new manual gearbox – the other major advancement featured in the facelift. the low-friction gearbox is light and precise to use, and makes driving the Meriva a pleasant experience; visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, while the revised suspension provides a comfortable ride.
Cabin quality is also good, with the instruments and controls laid out in a clear and easy-to-use manner. as mentioned before, the exterior changes are minimal and the model gains a new grille and newly-designed headlamps.
On upper equipment levels there’s an increased amount of chrome trim. The revised Meriva retains the backwards-opening rear doors which improves access to the rear seats. Its Flexspace system offers a range of cabin configurations. it can easily be transformed between a five, four, three or two-seat layout without having to remove any seats.
With the rear seats up, the Meriva’s cargo area offers a load capacity of 397 litres, which increases to 916 litres with the seats folded. standard equipment on tech line trim level includes satellite navigation with seven-inch colour screen, Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a Cd/MP3 player and a heated steering wheel.