You can’t blame GM and its Opel and Vauxhall brands for getting ready to cross over to what many gear-heads still consider the dark side of the automotive world with their next Meriva.
And here’s why: according to industry analyst HIS, SUV sales in Europe are expected to increase from 20% of total passenger car sales in 2014 to 27% by 2020, with small crossovers having already jumped from 300,000 deliveries in 2010 to 800,000 last year – up by a staggering 300%.
On the other hand, sales of Opel’s two MPVs, the Meriva and the larger Zafira, were down 27 and 11 percent respectively in Europe last year. Therefore, it only makes sense that the company took the decision to replace both cars in 2016 with crossover-style models.
Viewed here for the first time in a production body is the next Meriva that obtains a less boxy and more crossover-like shape with a flatter hood and a sleeker roofline – very much like Peugeot’s upcoming 3008 replacement that we showed you earlier today, together with a higher riding stance.
Moreover, it seems from these shots that the current Meriva’s Flexdoors that hinge backwards independently of the front ones allowing for easier access to the rear seats are gone (albeit, this advantage becomes a disadvantage in tight spaces as passengers can’t open the front and rear ones together) and replaced by conventional doors. You should still find practical solutions inside such as the FlexSpace seating system to differentiate the Meriva from other offerings.
Speaking of Peugeot, both the next Meriva and Zafira are being co-developed with the PSA Peugeot-Group to share costs, with the French firm to make its own models on the same underpinnings using a similar mix of engines and other components.
The third-generation of the Meriva will break cover next year offering a selection of diesel and petrol engines.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops