May 20, 2014
Rüsselsheim. The new Meriva – upgraded, more efficient, more attractive and more comfortable than ever – cuts a fine figure both inside and out, making it a big hit with customers of all ages. In April the multi-functional Opel van was again number one in its segment (MPV B-Segment) in Germany, leaving all its main competitors behind. An important criterion for success is that the further developed version of the flexibility champion is as back-friendly as its predecessor. This is a key factor for a vehicle that is especially designed for active “Best Agers” who are over 50 and still young at heart and young families with children. The German Campaign for Healthier Backs (“Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.”) awarded its prestigious AGR quality seal to the Meriva, making it the first and only production vehicle in the world with such a seal of approval for an entire ergonomic concept.
They are active, mobile and know what they want. Part of the demographic shift is the continuous growth of the so-called Best-Agers group. Some of them realize their professional dream as they get older and pursue a second career as a self-employed businessperson. Others invest more and more of their income in leisure activities such as holidays and travel. Therefore individual members of this group are increasingly interested in personal mobility. Out of the around 54 million passenger car driver’s license holders in Germany, around ten million are estimated to be older than 65 years of age, according to government statistics and the German Traffic Safety Council.
In the first seven months of 2013, the average age of new car buyers was 52.4 years old, while in 1995 this average was 46.1 years. Every third customer was older than 60, according to researchers at the CAR Automotive Research Center at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Scientists predict an increase in the average car buyer age to 55 in 2020.
The age of the purchasers has nothing to do with the usual clichés associated with old age pensioners and their habits on the road. Indeed marketing analyses and forecasting in the auto industry established that the “sixty-plus generation” was increasingly looking for a car that simply creates an emotional buzz and delivers the highest possible level of comfort, cabin-layout clarity, safety, design and ergonomics. These are all qualities offered by the Opel Meriva, which is now even more comfortable thanks to the new whisper-diesel and the clever IntelliLink infotainment system.
The most salient component of the Meriva’s celebrated ergonomics concept is the revolutionary patented FlexDoors system. While the usual opening angle of doors is 68 degrees, Meriva’s 84-degree opening doors in front and rear allow easy access for all passengers. In order to facilitate entry and egress regardless of whether the car is parked in a tight or wide parking space, they have four different opening steps until they are almost perpendicular to the car. Another advantage of the exclusive FlexDoors is that they make it easy to enter and exit without twisting or sliding, even in tight spaces, and are therefore easy on the back. Sturdy grab handles right and left on the B-pillar that are intuitively used make it easier to move inside. The higher seating position of driver and co-driver enables better all-round visibility.
The FlexSpace system which is standard in the Meriva makes it possible to transform the interior quickly and smoothly from a five into a two-seater. The seats do not need to be cumbersomely dismounted. The standard Meriva front seats offer a class-leading range of adjustment – 240 mm forwards/backwards and 65 mm in height, making it possible for people of all shapes and sizes to find the most comfortable and appropriate seating position. In addition, optional fully adjustable ergonomic seats certified by AGR and featuring additional tilting, extra lumbar support, thigh extension and four-way adjustable head-rests are also available. For more comfort on cold days, the new Meriva offers multi-stage seat heating and is the only car in its class with a heated steering wheel. So the driver does not need to wear gloves, which in turn increases safety.
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 which displays any parking hazards on the 7-inch monitor of the IntelliLink infotainment system. This gives the Meriva driver excellent visibility to the rear without having to twist and turn his/her back.
The optional halogen curve and cornering light with LED daytime running lights that adapt to the road and make turning at crossings safer ensures both optimum visibility for the driver as well as of the car for other traffic users.
For increased load requirements, a maximum storage volume of 1,500 liters with a flat loading area is available. In addition, the Meriva features another clever transport solution: the back-friendly FlexFix bicycle carrier recommended by the AGR. Opel’s innovative FlexFix rear bike carrier system can carry two bikes with a maximum load of 40 kg. FlexFix is always on board the Meriva, integrated in the rear bumper, where it easily slides in and out like a drawer.
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 hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, and additional connectivity via USB. Fast and precise navigation is embedded in the optional systems Navi 650 and Navi 950 IntelliLink. Destinations can be entered easily via voice command using rapid ‘one shot entry’ (request navigation and just speak out the address in a single phrase) while keeping both hands on the steering wheel.
The new Meriva comes with a new range of gasoline, LPG and diesel powertrains. The highlight is the new generation 1.6 CDTI diesel engine that impresses with its low consumption and environmental friendliness as well as outstanding running smoothness and exceptionally low noise generation. With CO2 emissions of just 99 grams per kilometer, the Meriva will undercut the 100 g mark in the future and offer the best combination of comfort and efficiency.
The new low-friction manual transmission 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 that further increases comfort is now available with both 88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp versions of the 1.4 Turbo gasoline engine as well as with the 81 kW/110 hp Turbo diesel unit.
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