Opel's Meriva hatchback has received a slight refresh at the Geneva Motor Show with new styling and two tunes of a new 1.6-liter diesel engine. Its tech gets a slight upgrade as well with better smartphone integration for the infotainment system.

The Meriva still features its suicide opening doors that Opel claims makes ingress and egress from the rear easier. The refresh also gives the hatchback a grille with more chrome, slightly altered headlights, LED running lights and chrome trim along the bottom of the side windows.

The biggest changes for the Meriva are mechanical. Opel has added its new 1.6-liter CDTI diesel available with either 134 horsepower or 109 hp. The less powerful version emits 99 grams of CO2 per 100 kilometers, which allows it to take advantage of lower taxes in much of Europe. The model's five- and six-speed manuals have also been improved with a low friction material to make shifting easier.

Like many of the cars from Geneva, the Meriva is another vehicle that won't be sold here. Naturally, you can see and read all about this slightly less-desirable forbidden fruit, below.
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The Opel Meriva: Great Upgrade for Ergonomics & Flexibility Champion

Refreshed, crisper design for the star amongst the small monocabs

Full Euro 6 certified powertrain range including new generation 1.6 CDTI

First diesel monocab below 100g CO2 with only 3.8 liter/100 km

Perfect Smartphone Integration with Opel's new IntelliLink infotainment system

Undisputed flexibility and ergonomics is the Meriva's key to success

Additional safety and comfort features now included in standard package

Absolute leader in quality and customer satisfaction according to independent reports

Rüsselsheim. The new Meriva – upgraded, more efficient, more attractive and more functional than ever – has just celebrated its world premiere at the Brussels' Motor Show in mid-January (16.-26. January 2014). In addition to its unique flexibility, Opel's small monocab now also stands out with a refreshed, crisper design, and with and array of state-of-the-art technologies that further enhance its comfort and efficiency. A complete range of Euro 6-certified engines make their appearance, including a new generation 1.6 CDTI that is the quietest and most efficient in its class; one of its versions will enable fuel consumption as low as 3.8 liters per 100 kilometers. Furthermore, for the first time in a gasoline or diesel monocab, emissions will go under 100g– with just 99g/km CO2 emissions. New gearboxes enable softer and more precise shift operation, and a new generation Opel IntelliLink infotainment system with enhanced speed and functionality perfectly integrates smartphone functionality into the cockpit.

When it was launched in 2003, the first generation Opel Meriva created the segment of the small monocabs, and set the standard for flexibility made accessible to a wide public. The second generation in 2010 raised the standard in a spectacular way with innovative features that do not only further enhance flexibility but also ergonomics - such as rear-hinged FlexDoors making ingress and egress much easier, the highly variable rear seating system FlexSpace, exquisite ergonomic front seats, many clever storage solutions, and Opel's unique FlexFix fully integrated rear-end bicycle carrier system. These trailblazing features make the current Meriva the Ergonomics Champion, as has been concluded by independent health experts and, together with its elevated seating position, are key to its success.

The Meriva is also impressively setting a benchmark in quality and customer satisfaction. The new TÜV Report 2014 published December 2013 after nearly 8 million used cars of all kinds and brands were inspected reveals that the Opel Meriva is the car with the lowest defect rate. In the 'two to three-year old cars' category – basically featuring all Merivas of the second generation inspected by the TÜV -, it has beaten all models from Mazda, Toyota, Porsche, BMW and Audi, and stands out as the overall 'best in quality' of all inspected passenger cars in Germany. It has therefore been awarded the TÜV Gold Certificate. Not only TÜV professionals and experts praise the Meriva, its users also do: In the Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) Index from the J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey, the Meriva also left all competition behind and finished first in ranking, with an astounding 80.6 percent mark. This is particularly relevant, as the market research institute J.D. Power and Associates measures the satisfaction of car owners who have been driving a model for an average of two years and have the corresponding practical ownership experience.

"The new Meriva is better-than-ever", says Peter Christian Küspert, Vice President Sales & Aftersales of Opel. "The Opel Meriva has set the standard in the segment – if not in the industry – for ergonomics, affordable flexibility and quality. Now it offers an even more comfortable overall driving experience thanks to state-of-the-art technologies - a new range of Euro 6 certified engines including a last generation 1.6 CDTI that is the most silent in its class; new transmissions that offer smoother and crisper shifting; and a new generation Opel IntelliLink infotainment system that integrates smartphone functionalities into the vehicles. And as we have also made sure to offer the new Meriva at even better prices than before, it is more attractive than ever for customers who want to combine superior comfort, superior functionality, and superior value for money".

Fresh, upgraded design with crisp details and sparkling chrome accents

Opel's design philosophy – sculptural artistry meets German precision – fits perfectly with its small, highly flexible monocab. The new Meriva benefits from many improvements that enhance the precise looks of key features and give it a more refined appearance. A new grille with higher chrome content, as well as chrome accents embracing the fog lamps now defines the front fascia. The newly designed sparkling front headlights with an eagle eye graphic frame the grille. LED technology is now available for the daytime running lights, resulting in a crisp, high-tech look. On the side, the new elegant chrome beltline effectively highlights the waved design that accentuates the rear window and offers additional visibility to small children sitting in the rear seats. This feature and the centrally located door handles are part-and-parcel of the innovative FlexDoors, rear-hinged rear doors that allow for easy entry into the vehicle. The dynamic and elegant character of the rear gets a new touch of class thanks to energy-saving LED lights with new, accentuated high quality graphics.

The new Meriva also features newly designed 17- and 18-inch wheels with premium look. With this, the Meriva remains the only small monocab offering 18-inch wheels that give it a unique stance and presence on the road, placing it a cut above its competitors. Twelve colors are available including a new, very noble emerald green with pearl effect and a new, fresh lime yellow , and one can chose between four different interior ambiances.

New Euro 6-certified powertrain offer with state-of-the-art, efficient 1.6 CDTI

The new Meriva comes with a new range of gasoline, LPG and diesel powertrains that already comply with the future emissions regulation Euro 6 which will come into force in September 2015.

The highlight is the new generation 1.6 CDTI diesel engine that had its debut in the Zafira Tourer. It convinces with low consumption and environmental friendliness, as well as with outstanding running smoothness and exceptionally low noise and vibrations. This whisper-diesel is simply the most silent in its class. A highly sophisticated all-aluminum power unit with Common-Rail direct injection, it will replace both the 1.3 CDTI and 1.7 CDTI that used to power the Meriva.

The first version of the 1.6 CDTI available in the new Meriva develops 100kW/136hp and consumes just 4.4l/100km while emitting 116g/km CO2. This is a 10 vs the previous 1.7 CDTI) at 2,000 rpm.

Further versions of the engine will be launched in the close future, including two executions with 81 kW/110 hp output. One of them will particularly stand out, with a fuel consumption of a mere 3.8 liters per 100km and CO2 emissions of just 99 grams per kilometer, making the Meriva the first gasoline or diesel monocab under 100g.

Transmissions in the new Meriva have also been improved thanks to Opel's 50 million euro investment into the optimization of its five- and six-speed gearboxes. Numerous changes to their components and the gear-change mechanisms, as well as to their integration into the vehicle have ensured a substantial enhancement in the smoothness and precision of gear shifting. The new low-friction manual units offer a new level of gear-change comfort in combination with all gasoline, LPG and diesel engines. In addition, a six-speed low friction transmission is now available with both 88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp versions of the 1.4 Turbo gasoline engine. This combination of automatic transmission and gasoline power will fulfill expectations amongst Meriva customers.

New generation IntelliLink infotainment system

The new Meriva boasts a new generation IntelliLink infotainment system enabling seamless smartphone integration into the vehicle. The large, high-definition, seven-inch color monitor offers a new interface with IntelliLink graphics that make the system easier to read and operation faster and more fluid. The system features Bluetooth hand-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, and additional connectivity via USB.

IntelliLink in the new Meriva has a standard CD player and DAB+ – Digital Audio Broadcast – is offered as an option that raises the bar in terms of range of radio stations reached, reliable reception and sound quality. Navigation is an inherent part of the system, through both the Navi 650 and the Navi 950 IntelliLink. It is extremely precise and fast in calculating itineraries and zooming in and out, and destinations can be entered easily via voice recognition using rapid 'one shot entry' (request navigation and just speak out the address in a single phrase) as is possible in the Insignia's system.

Comprehensive map data is available of the western and eastern European region and map updates can be downloaded via USB. In addition to regular voice control over its own functionality, the IntelliLink system in the new Meriva also supports and integrates smartphones' own voice control – like Siri for the Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, e.g.) for instance. This allows drivers to keep their concentration on the road while getting short messages read, such as answers to several kinds of questions or requests.

All infotainment systems in the new Meriva - CD 400 and CD 600 radio as well as Navi 650 and Navi 950 navigation - also benefit from improved acoustics.

Meriva's comprehensive flexibility and ergonomic concept is key to its success

Despite new arrivals in the segment, the Opel Meriva remains unrivalled in its first-class-offering of prime flexibility and ergonomic comfort. Indeed, customers expressly choose it for these attributes and a high seating position. Meriva's customer base including young families, young mothers and retired grandparents have all stated that easy-to-use flexibility and superior comfort for the money are a prime consideration for them.

The Meriva is the first and only automobile in the world that has been certified for its overall ergonomic concept. In 2010, independent health experts from the AGR (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.), the 'Campaign for healthy backs' awarded the Meriva with their sought-after-quality seal for guaranteeing superior ergonomics and back protection. The certification is based on the Meriva's four core and exclusive innovations: The highly flexible FlexSpace rear seating concept; the FlexDoors system that widely opens all doors at 84° and which, with its rear-hinged rear doors and solid handles on the B-pillars, makes ingress and egress much easier and comfortable; the ergonomic front seats with their multiple adjustment possibilities; and the unique FlexFix integrated bicycle carrier that always remains in the car and can be simply deployed anytime like a drawer. All these continue to make the Meriva the leader in flexibility and ergonomics.

Further safety and comfort features – a lot of car for your money

All-round passenger safety in the Opel Meriva is ensured through a series of synchronized active and passive safety systems. In term of active safety, the Advanced Halogen AFL (Advanced Active Forward Lighting) is a bending light activated when the vehicle is in motion and it automatically adjusts to the speed of the vehicle. As a static light, it assists the driver when reversing in order to park.

Several assistance systems further enhance the safety of the vehicle and reduce pressure on the driver. These are included in an optional additional package available with the Meriva. In this package are also the automatic dimmed headlights, the rain sensor that automatically switches on the windscreen wipers and operates them according to the quantity of precipitation and the speed of the vehicle, and the automatically dimmed interior mirror that prevents glare from successive vehicles.

Standard passive safety systems include three airbag systems (six airbags), in the front, the rear and both sides and a Pedal Release System (PRS) which ensures brake and clutch are released from their fixed position and reduce the danger of injuries in the legroom area. The front safety belts have dual seat belt pretensioners that maximize passenger protection in ensuring they are in the safest position in the case of a crash.

As far as further comfort features are concerned, the Opel Meriva is as clever as it is generous. On the one hand, it frees up space between the front seats for the innovative – and partly redesigned - FlexRail storage system consisting of three layers of highly variable storage with trays and boxes located just under the hands of the front passengers. On the other hand, the electric parking brake –unique in this class and available as standard- also offers great comfort functionalities. Automatically released once the car in is motion, it ensures a stress-free approach to hill-starts. The hill-start assistant prevents the car from rolling back on a hill for around two seconds, and the parking brake does not need to be used.

For junior passengers sitting in the rear, the new Meriva is equipped with ISOFIX brackets and TOP TETHER anchor points on the two outer seats that enhance both safety and installation comfort. TOP TETHER connects the top of the child seat to an anchor point mounted in the vehicle seat back.

Heightened comfort is further ensured through a pre-installed Park Assist for ease of parking with detection in both the rear and front or front only. In the new Meriva, a rear-view camera is now available. It displays any parking hazards on the 7-inch monitor of the IntelliLink infotainment system. When slipping into tight parking lots, the camera ensures that a child by the car can be seen that is too small to be visible through the rear window.

To increase the feeling of space, a large panorama sunroof stretches over the first and second row. For particularly sunny days, there is an electrically operated sunshade. And for enhancing comfort during cold winter days, the Meriva can be equipped with heated front seats and also with a heated steering wheel.

Finally, peace of mind is an integral part of Meriva's comfort experience, which is why Opel adds to its top quality product an efficient aftersales retail network well beyond the date of purchase with low scheduled maintenance costs to minimize cost of ownership to the customer.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Months Ago
      My father bought a 2012 Meriva in top-spec trim with the 1.7 turbodiesel when he retired. Lovely car to drive, and the integral bike rack in the rear bumper (optional in most Vauxhall/Opel models) is very clever indeed.
      • 9 Months Ago
      And we get the Aveo disguised as a Sonic and the Spark that should just be disguised. Thanks GM. How about investing more in making smaller Opels saleable in the US and less on the truck and CUV triplets, the Volt coupe disguised as a Cadillac, and the Corvette.
        • 9 Months Ago
        There is enough design changes in the ELR to make it a different vehicle from the Volt.
          The Friendly Grizzly
          • 9 Months Ago
          bootsn just wants to sound ironic and profound. He probably has an audience of at least three in the student union snack bar.
        • 9 Months Ago
        The Aveo/Sonic ride on the same platform that this car uses. It was developed jointly with GM Korea and Opel.
          • 9 Months Ago
          Absolute rubbish. The second-gen Meriva uses the SCCS platform jointly shared between GM and Fiat. The Meriva itself is a wholly Opel developed product.
          • 9 Months Ago
          Whoops, quick research shows it's the older platform, not the new one the Sonic/Aveo, Mokka, etc use. Either way, it doesn't matter the Sonic etc are great cars
      • 9 Months Ago
      At what point did Opel stop making their own cars and GM took over? Just curious. They are german, right?
        • 9 Months Ago
        That is the problem. Opel designed their own cars for too long. Have never been competitive. Heavier, more complex to build, and more expensive than the competition. Not to mention the build quality... Some of GMNA's worst selling platforms lately were Opel platforms. GM would be much stronger today if Fritz had sold Opel off.
      Justin Campanale
      • 9 Months Ago
      They should put this engine in the U.S. spec Colorado, along with the 2.2 diesel with 170 hp/280 lb ft.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        No, you do not want that 1.7L diesel engine in a new product launch. It is a 30 year old design (Circle L family). It is noisy, rough, and has slow throttle response. The 2.0L FamB diesel is a whole different story. It was developed by FPT for Opel during GM's partial ownership of FIAT. It is a world class engine. Competitive or better than the VW 2.0L.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        The 1.7 may trace its roots to the late 1980's, but the last incarnation used in the Meriva was a direct injection unit and substantially refined following GM's purchase of the engine from Isuzu. Granted, while not quite as punchy as the common-rail 1.9 litre JTD or refined as the even newer Family B 2 litre, the trusty 1.7 certainly isn't rough, noisy, or slow by any stretch of the imagination.
      The Friendly Grizzly
      • 9 Months Ago
      I hope the new diesel has a bit more bottom-end torque. The one I rented last year was a great car once it got moving, but it stalled VERY easily when starting from a full stop. And save your snide remarks; I've been driving stick, skillfully, since before many of your parents were a glimmer in anyone's eye.
      • 9 Months Ago
      It would be nice if Autoblog could post Miles Per Gallon instead of litres so that we could see what type of mileage these European cars are getting.
        • 9 Months Ago
        Agreed, but keep in mind that the Euro cycle fuel economy figures can differ from US EPA figures by 20-30% or even more--always higher.
      • 9 Months Ago
      I wonder if that new engine could make it's way here in the Encore???
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