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We go out to the people with the updated compact van Opel Meriva.

We go out to the people with the updated compact van Opel Meriva.

At the back, after restyling, only the lights have changed – LED technology with a darkened outline now evokes an association with a peacock feather.

Claudia Schiffer is now only forty-three. The beauty is married to a film director, she has three children: a son – ten, the eldest daughter – nine, the youngest – three. Mom’s profession is the same, but Claudia does not call herself a fantastic model now. Frau Schiffer admires the Opel Meriva compact van. She recommends it from the TV screen to the same large families as her own.

Advises not for free, of course. Since December, Claudia has a new status – European Opel brand ambassador, Opel’s advertising face in Europe. This is how, out of the blue, Schiffer and Meriva came face to face.

Moreover, Meriva has a new face..

Before the update, Meriva was praised for its fresh and recognizable appearance, the convenience of entering / exiting with swing doors, spaciousness for passengers, a successful transformation of the seats and the profile of the driver’s seat, ergonomics in general, sound insulation and the then price of 589,000 rubles. They scolded the one-volume car for the same “opposite” doors, too high seating position of the driver, for a slow “automatic” and a dead turbodiesel of 100 hp, uninformative steering wheel and the stiffness with which the suspension fulfills a large one, as well as for an incomprehensible “multimedia” with fifty buttons. Of course, the restyling did not solve all the problems, but in the fresh configuration, the advantages and disadvantages are perceived differently. It seems that the car has become more humane, and the attitude towards it is more humane.

A compact van is always a family, people, a lot of people. Old people, women and children.

In the front, the most noticeable changes have taken place. The grille increased and shone with chrome, the changed foglights were adorned with a similar metal. The headlights should now resemble an eagle’s eye. The Opelevites did not lose their scent either: the lighting technology is now LED.

Well, the bumper has changed accordingly. As the Roman Empire would say, Meriva received insignias – external signs of power, authority or dignity..

The Romans had insignia insignia, strips, ribbons, medallions, rings. Meriva has design improvements, a new multimedia system IntelliLink and a 1.6 CDTI diesel engine (136 hp, 320 N • m), meeting the Euro-6 eco-standard and previously available only to the compact van Zafira Tourer. Opelevtsy describe the result of modernization in two words: it has become more comfortable.

Due to innovations, Meriva is now compared to more expensive and large Opels, and in price after restyling it has grown by 6,000 rubles: “base” – from 631 thousand.

The press release, transformed into Insignia Meriva, describes it as eccentric: “sculptural artistry combined with German precision”. The imagination draws a juggler, frozen in a daze with the arrival of the Bundeswehr officers. In fact, the situation is not so dramatic – live Meriva looks simpler and softer than in photographs. After the modernization, the appearance has become more solid, more solid, or something.

It’s time to ask the question “who did this?” And then, in the premiere fervor, everyone’s eyes eclipsed the suicidal doors and no one asked who Niels Loeb was..

Not fair. Loeb is forty-seven, married, and has two children. Born in Australia, studied in Europe, since September 1991 he has been working at Adam Opel AG, where he went from an ordinary creative to a chief designer.

Niels has undergone concepts, show cars and almost all production Opel / Vauxhall models over the past 20 years. Vectra, Astra, Corsa, Zafira, Adam, Insignia are all the work of Loeb, the chief designer of Opel’s exteriors. In a word, Niels is one of those wonderful people who should be hugged when meeting.

The restyling has not touched the salon. But this does not mean that Stefan Arndt, Opel’s chief interior designer, did a poor job. Rather, on the contrary, the interior decoration is balanced. Arndt knows a lot about his business: he has been with the company since 1986 and has a longer track record than Loeb. For Meriva, Stefan came up with the special architecture of the Opel ErgoFlex.

It includes a FlexSpace rear seat transformation mechanism, a three-story FlexRail complex that travels between seats on rails, which, together with FlexDoors swing doors and an external FlexFix bicycle rack, made Meriva, according to Opel’s people, a champion in flexibility and ergonomics.

Subjectively speaking, the FlexRail system is a controversial thing. You want to open or push back, and suddenly you find yourself in a removed armrest. The main idea is the ability to move this very armrest back to get to the cup holder or squeeze a handbag into the gap. In reality, everyday driving of a plastic three-story building on aluminum rails seems questionable. Rather, the owner will choose the optimal configuration and settle on it.

By the way, opelevtsy shortened the guides along which FlexRail moves – they no longer get confused under the feet of the central passenger.

There are a lot of discussion points. You plunge into Meriva with the thought “let the champion bend under us”, but there is no special flexibility behind the really comfortable swing doors. The driver, 187 cm long, rests his knees on the back of the front seat in order to “sit down by himself”.

The rear ones, meanwhile, are in no hurry to show elasticity. To drown the center section of the seats, and then crosswise bring the other two together? Intuitively incomprehensible, the first attempt fails. In terms of passenger and cargo capacity, our van is already very compact. A child sitting on a booster in the middle of the back sofa is not to be envied.

Obviously, before the family trip, Claudia has to negotiate with her two older children..

It is customary to criticize the driver’s seat for an excessively high seating position. I think it’s still a matter of mood. Sitting in Meriva on a warm sunny morning with a song under your breath, you can simply not notice the landing height and instantly get used to it, as a given.

But the opelevites tried very hard. “We initially wanted all the technical details to be small and as far away from the driver and passengers as possible,” explains Stefan Arndt. – For example, in the case of the front panel, we took all the stuffing, airbags, glove compartment, and so on – and pushed it all 80 mm forward and down. As a result, being in a car, you really feel that you are sitting on a high point, and not hiding behind a rock, as in some competitors’ cars. “.

In the German classification, the first-generation single-volume car is Meriva A. The current one is Meriva B. For the first test drive of the Beshka in the summer of 2011, Opelevtsy put up a modification with a derated diesel engine, for which they paid. The updated Meriva was presented with two other engines: it was possible to choose either an option with a 140-horsepower (200 N • m) gasoline “turbo four” and a six-speed “automatic”, or a new 1.6 CDTI turbodiesel with “mechanics”. Someone is probably more interested in a fresh heavy fuel unit, which was nicknamed whisper-diesel for the quiet operation. But we have already met the “diesel whisper” on Zafira, besides, it is pointless to wait for it in Russia in the foreseeable future. We and its predecessors 1.3 and 1.7 are not offered.

So there was nowhere to go from the most powerful Meriva.

If the “Euro-sixth” diesel is a whisper, then its petrol counterpart is a howler. Any pressing of the accelerator is denoted by engine noise. The harder and harder you press, the louder.

Good soundproofing of Meriva is not able

to calm down the zealous engine completely. However, the “four” sounds acceptable. Yes, listen to yourself in the video “Behind the scenes”, which awaits you with real sound (fortunately, the iPhone records it believably).

“Horses” are also acceptable, but it’s easy to believe that under the hood there are not 140, but 120 or fewer. There is enough traction for overtaking, and the “automatic” does not make you wait too long. Only now Meriva is crawling uphill with an effort. And it was empty, with only one driver and air in the trunk. Oh, and it will be hard for her to climb when the weight from the loaded (1486 kilos) reaches the full two tons …

Even the most powerful Meriva does not like ultra-low speeds, in traffic jams she trembles and grumbles. Her elasticity still needs to be borrowed.

In every second review, Meriva is scolded for the wrong rear suspension, they say, the beam does not cope with shock on large irregularities. Perhaps driving on “eighteenth” wheels is painful. As for the dimension of 17 inches, in such a Michelin life is normal: the shocks in the rear are very noticeable, but the sharpness of the blows is carefully rounded off.

At the same time, there are almost no rolls, as well as feedback on the steering wheel. Consumption in the combined cycle, but mainly on the highway and without trying to save money – 9.6 l / 100 km. Passport “city”.

Another traditional accusation against Meriva is vague infotainment systems. Say, in a dense forest of 50 buttons, the devil will break his leg, so you need to deal with navigation and the onboard computer before the trip, “on the shore”. Now Opel experts have offered a way out. All three systems (CD 600, Navi 650 and Navi 950) are now equipped with IntelliLink, which connects the car and the iPhone. Integration means not only the ability to listen to music from the phone while recharging the device, but also viewing photos on a seven-inch display, as well as voice control of the navigator and communication with the Siri electronic assistant.

I pressed the button on the steering wheel, said “navigation” – and the map is in front of you. Theoretically, it is possible to score the address with words, and listen to text messages.

A vigorous duet of a 140-horsepower gasoline engine and a six-speed “automatic”, perhaps, can be considered optimal for Meriva. It is a pity, in Russia the most powerful unit relies only on a five-band “mechanics”. Well, hmm, Opelev’s managers know better.

They recognized the past 2013 as successful both in the European and German markets, although the growth is calculated in tenths and hundredths of a percent..

In the Old World, the share of Opel (and its “sister” Vauxhall) increased from 5.59 to 5.61%, in Germany – from 6.9 to 7.0%. And the Meriva seems to take the first place in the segment, while the Corsa, Astra and Insignia are the second in their niches. As for the Russian market, the Opel brand finished last year with us without a bit of growth or decline, at zero points. Meriva among compact van is content with bronze: silver for Zafira, gold for Chevrolet Orlando.

Leading compact vans also left GM, they have ordinary doors and ordinary ergonomics. But they are larger and more powerful, albeit more expensive. Will Frau Schiffer’s fantastic recommendation be heard in Russia??

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