Geneva '08: Opel Meriva concept

Click the Opel Meriva concept for a high res gallery

For several years GM's European operations have been offering a tiny van-like vehicle called the Meriva. The current Meriva is a pretty conventional looking tall wagon based of the B-car Corsa platform. It's now just about time for a refresh of the Meriva and Opel is showing a concept at the Geneva Motor show that is probably very close to what the next production version will look like. The look of the concept carries all the styling elements of recent Opel concepts including the scalloped side panels and the headlamp shape. One interesting design element of this concept is the rear hinged back doors. Many concepts feature so-called suicide doors because it makes it easier for viewers to the see the interior of the car when it's rotating on a show stand. When this happens though, they usually leave out the b-pillar making it totally impractical for production. In this case the b-pillar is present and the press-release even focuses on these FlexDoors. Based on this it seems likely that the new Meriva will actually feature this door design. The other big question is will we see this car in Saturn dealerships in a couple of years?

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[Source: General Motors]

February 28, 2008

Opel's World Premiere at 78th International Motor Show in Geneva

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 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 design language can be adapted to create bold, fresh design solutions for this segment.

The Opel 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.

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