Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Opel Meriva MPV with Suicide Rear Doors Spied

The development of the next-generation Opel Meriva is moving ahead as planned with the German automaker removing more and more camouflage off the prototype models. In these latest scoop photos, the prototype Meriva has lost the confusing chequered black and white taping revealing many details on its design. Even though Opel has attempted to mislead us with a pair of fake rear-door handles, the new Meriva will retain the 2008 Geneva Show car's rear-hinged suicide doors called FlexDoors.

While the front doors are conventionally designed with front hinges, the Meriva's rear doors swing open towards the back of the car to a 90-degree angle. Another feature of the FlexDoors is that the front and rear doors can open independently of each other. GM's people support that the patented FlexDoors will make the Meriva more comfortable, versatile and safer than the current model.

The new Meriva will borrow several design cues from the Insignia including the front-end styling and the delta-wing blade on its flanks. While it won't be as exciting as the concept study, Opel's second-generation mini-MPV looks like it will be far more stylish than today's Meriva.

Same goes for the interior that is stylistically inspired from - you guessed it- the Insignia. Even though the car's design was a high-priority, GM did not forget about the Meriva's functional and practical side. Among other features, the 2010 Meriva will be equipped with Opel's variable FlexSpace rear seating system that allows the transformation of the vehicle from a five-seater to a four, three, two or even single seat vehicle without the need to remove seats.

The 2010 Meriva will adopt the latest version of GM's Gama platform sharing many of its underpinning with the new Corsa. It is expected that the new Meriva will grow in size offering improved space for passengers and their luggage.

While we don't have the full Monty on the powertrain options, it is anticipated that apart from the usual gasoline and diesel engines found in the Corsa, the new Meriva will also be available with GM's brand-new 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol unit with outputs ranging from 120 hp to 140 HP.

Unlike its chief rivals that include the Honda Jazz and Citroen C3 Picasso, the Meriva's range will also feature a high-performance OPC version powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline unit with an output of around 180-horsepower.

Sales of the new Meriva will begin in Europe in 2010. As for any chances seeing the Meriva in the U.S., for the time being, your guess is as good as ours.

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