What’s new on the Opel/Vauxhall stand at Geneva?
Opel (Vauxhall wasn’t represented) chose to showcase the Meriva concept for the first time in Geneva. It features the FlexDoor system – a combination of conventional front doors and rear-hinged rear ‘suicide’ doors.
Unlike the similarly apertured Mazda RX-8 – where the two doors interlock to close, eliminating the B-pillar –the B-pillar remains. But that’s not to dismiss it – the Meriva’s doors are actually an ingeniously simple solution for families and the elderly. Conventional rear doors separate front and rear passenger compartments when they’re open, making it hard to load children into the back. They’re also difficult for the elderly. The Meriva solves the kid problem, while a handle on the B-pillar allows the less mobile to lower themselves backwards into the car.
There are neat touches elsewhere too: a panoramic roof split by a central steel beam, a variable height boot floor and tailgate and rear door glass designed to maximise visibility.
Thinking the Meriva was a bit dull, then realising it was a brilliantly simple solution to a common packaging shortfall.
What were they thinking?
Flextreme concept was also on show with a pair of Segways loaded in the back. Have we learnt nothing from the Sinclair C5?
In a nutshell
Meriva concept gets S-Max appeal and clever packaging solutions. Arrives 2010.