Click above for more high-res images of the Opel Meriva Concept

The current Opel Meriva on sale to Europeans is a rather ho-hum affair, which is why there's actual anticipation for the Meriva Concept that will debut next week at the Geneva Motor Show. Images of the Meriva Concept have already leaked out, but Opel has made the concept's existence official by releasing the good, high-res stuff and an accompanying press release. This four-door hatch concept that's guaranteed a spot on the production line is cloaked in Opel's new design language, which means clean lines and a simple face with the brand's new grille.

There are two elements of the Meriva Concept that we find interesting enough to mention again (the rest you can read in the press release after the jump), which include its rear FlexDoors and the kink in its window line. Rear suicide doors are a common feature on concept cars because they allows designers to eliminate the B-pillar, giving photographers a better view of the interior from behind the velvet ropes. The Meriva Concept, however, retains its B-pillars, suggesting the rear suicide doors have a definite shot at making it to the final production car. We also like the downward kink in the rear window line because it's more than just an aesthetic flick of the designer's pen. Belt lines on cars have been rising for decades, and all too often this means outward visibility is compromised for rear seat passengers. By adding this small kink, Opel has given a little bit of the greenhouse back to rear seat riders. We'll finally meet this car in person next week at the Geneva Motor Show, but we don't expect it to make the return trip badged as a Saturn like so many other Opel models.

Related GalleryOpel Meriva Concept

[Source: Opel]


PRESS RELEASE

MERIVA CONCEPT: DYNAMIC DESIGN AND INNOVATIVE FLEXDOORS SYSTEM

  • FlexDoors make monocabs more versatile, comfortable and safer
  • Design: New level of dynamics and improved practicality
Rüsselsheim. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva Concept, due to be unveiled next week at the 78th International Motor Show in Geneva (March 6 – 16, 2008), illustrates how the new Opel/Vauxhall design language can be adapted to create bold, fresh design solutions for this segment.

The Meriva Concept takes flexibility to new heights with its innovative FlexDoors system, which consists of rear-hinged rear doors that swing open toward the back of the car. As the B-pillars have been purposely retained for passive security reasons, the Meriva Concept's front and rear doors can also be opened independently of each other. Other rear-hinged rear doors already on the market can only be opened after the front door has been opened. This innovation makes access to the car interior much easier and also offers a range of safety benefits over conventional car doors. In the Meriva Concept, this innovation is combined with the highly variable FlexSpace rear seating system familiar from the production Meriva.

The FlexDoors system also enhances comfort and functionality, as the highest point of the roof – just behind the B-pillars – is exactly where the passengers enter and exit the vehicle.

This architecture enabled designers to create a very dynamic and unique silhouette, with the arched roof line sloping down to the C-pillars.

Especially eye-catching is the dynamic "wave" in the window line just behind the B-pillars, which provides an excellent all-round view for rear passengers, particularly for children. The body also boasts the distinctive "blade" bodyside form, which was a design element of the GTC Coupé and Flextreme. Another feature is the U-shaped windshield, which stretches up and back over the rear passengers' heads – echoing the Astra GTC's panorama windshield. The slim A-pillars and windshield pulled far down ensure plenty of light and a spacious interior atmosphere. Both elements contribute to the outstanding all-round visibility for the occupants.