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Vauxhall Meriva Estate engines, drive and performance

2003 - 2010 (change model)
Performance rating: 3 out of 53.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

The Meriva borrows its engines from the Astra and Corsa and the petrol line-up consists of a 90bhp 1.4-litre, 100bhp 1.6-litre and a 125bhp 1.8-litre engine. Some early cars came with a 1.6-litre engine with 85bhp but this is best avoided as it was replaced by the 1.4-litre soon after launch. As part of the facelift in 2006 the 1.6-litre was boosted to 105bhp (thanks to the introduction of a Twinport engine) and this peppy engine is the pick of the range, making the 1.8-litre seem pointless.

Initially the only diesel was the 1.7 CDTi with 100bhp which is quiet enough on the move, however a smaller 1.3 CDTi was introduced in 2006 and this offers stronger performance than it’s modest 75bhp output suggests. It feels eager on the road and can average an impressive 57mpg. All cars come with a five-speed manual gearbox which is a little notchy, while an automatic is available on 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol models.

Safe to drive and comfortable, the Meriva is good around town thanks to decent visibility (although the front pillars can be restrictive) and due to its small dimensions it is easy to parallel park too. The steering is overly assisted though and as a result it lacks feel, plus there’s a fair amount of body roll through bends. There’s not a huge amount of front end grip either so it’s far from an ideal car if you regularly have to tackle country lanes but the soft ride makes it an ideal car for motorway trips and it soaks up potholes and rough road surfaces well.