For an MPV, the Vauxhall Meriva is very compact and nice to drive. It's got all the practicality you need for a car of this type too. In short, it's ideal for families. They're superb value for money too and have some useful quirks such as rear-hinged rear doors.
The Meriva has been around since 2003 and the latest generation was in production from 2010-2017. A facelift was applied in 2013, bringing the looks right up-to-date. The result is a car that's smart-looking and stands out in a crowded segment.
The Meriva certainly isn't just another dull-looking MPV. The bold, swept-back headlights and smart chrome grille create a front that's nice to look at, and the compact shape prevents the Meriva from looking bulky. The 2013 facelift added some nice touches such as chrome accents framing the fog lamps and newly-designed headlamps. LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights are also available as options. And then, of course, you've got those rear doors that will make your Meriva stand out in the car park when you're putting the kids in the back.
The Meriva's interior is far from just functional. Good-quality materials give the cabin an upmarket feel, while the build quality feels very solid. In terms of features, you can get yourself a well-equipped Meriva for a very affordable price - pre-facelift Active models come with Bluetooth, air con and cruise control. The facelifted models are better equipped though, with entry-level models coming with iPod/MP3 Connectivity, a CD player and the option of air con. There are a plethora of trim levels, with the most popular being the SE, which adds cruise control, USB connectivity, and part leather seats.
MPVs aren't typically great to drive, but the Meriva will surprise you. As well as delivering the comfortable ride required of a family car, the Meriva's compact size means it's easy to manoeuvre, so parking won't be a chore. It's composed on both twisting roads and the motorway too, so this is definitely a car for family day trips and holidays. Refinement is good and the suspension deals with poor road surfaces well, so all in all this car drives exactly how a good family car should.
We have to start with those rear-hinged doors. They're an innovative feature that make access to the rear of the car considerably easier, and are incredibly useful when it comes to putting child seats in the back and getting the kids sat down with minimal fuss. Furthermore, despite the Meriva's compact size, it doesn't sacrifice interior space. The front is roomy and the back highly versatile, with FlexSpace seating enabling you to slide the rear bench back and forward, and the foldable middle seat allowing you to switch the Meriva from a five-seater to a more spacious four-seater. The boot is a generous size (and has the bonus of an underfloor compartment) and can be expanded into a huge loading space by folding down the rear seats.