Vauxhall Meriva (2014-2017) Review

The Meriva offers impressive space and practicality at a value-for-money price but be careful which engine you go for

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Convenient door openings
  • Impressive interior space
  • Excellent 1.6 diesel engine
  • Not as easy to use as a Ford B-Max
  • Some old and inefficient engines
  • Confusing specifications
Vauxhall Meriva prices from £6,408.
Finance from £138.97 / month.
Vauxhall Meriva prices from £6,408   Finance from £138.97 per month

If a compact but practical family car is high on your shopping list, you’ve come to the right place. The Meriva is smaller than a Vauxhall Astra but much more versatile. It competes with cars such as the Ford B-Max and Nissan Note.

Like the Nissan Note, the Meriva is no longer available new (it was discontinued in 2017), so your only choice is a used one. Don't let that put you off though.

There are currently 5 Vauxhall Merivas available on BuyaCar. Prices start from £6,408 for 2014 models.

The Meriva’s party trick is rear doors that are hinged at the opposite end from the front doors, so that when both are opened they give the appearance of a clam. This arrangement makes climbing in and out of the back and loading children in, much easier.

However, a Ford B-Max is more convenient still since its rear doors slide and there’s no centre pillar (the vertical pillar that separates front and rear doors). The result is a car that’s even easier to get in and out of, and which can be parked in tight spaces without fear of opening a door onto another vehicle. That said, the B-Max’s front doors still open conventionally, like the Meriva’s.

The Meriva’s unique features continue inside the car where it has rear seats that not only split and fold but slide, too. You can even fold the centre seat and push the outer pair closer together to create more shoulder room.

Most used versions have the clever FlexRail modular storage system; a collection of storage cubbies that sit on a pair of rails running for much of the length of the passenger interior, and which can be moved forwards and backwards independently of each other.

In addition to lots of storage spaces elsewhere in the vehicle, the Meriva has a large, 397-litre boot that grows to a huge 1,500 litres when the seats are folded completely flat. In comparison, the Astra has a much less impressive 370 and 1,200 litres, and the Ford B-Max, 318 and 1,386 litres.

Practical, family oriented cars like the Meriva are often pretty dull to drive, but the Vauxhall surprises once again with a blend of well-weighted steering, strong grip and good body control. It’s comfortable, too, even on bumpy roads and refined at speed thanks to well-suppressed wind and tyre noise.

Where it falls down is with its largely ageing and underpowered engines. The 1.4i petrol is slow, but the more expensive 1.4 Turbo is a little better.

The 1.7 diesel only comes with an automatic gearbox which really drags its performance and economy down.

The star of the show is the 1.6 diesel. It has all the power and low running costs you need and is a great match for the Meriva.

Again, for a family car, the Meriva’s interior is a welcome surprise, trimmed as it is with quality, soft-touch plastics that appear to fit well. The dashboard is attractive but there are too many buttons on the centre console.

But if you think they’re confusing, the multiple trim levels that at times overlap each other in terms of equipment are even more so.

Really, to save any confusion you want to focus your attention on Tech Line or SE which have most of the kit anyone at this price level could want.

Key facts

Warranty 3 years/60,000 miles
Boot size 397 litres/1500 litres
Width 1812mm
Length 4288mm
Height 1615mm
Tax Pre-2017 £30 to £230; post-2017, standard rate

Best Vauxhall Meriva for...

Best for Economy – Vauxhall Meriva 1.6 CDTI

With an official economy figure of 64.2mpg the 1.6 CDTI is easily the most frugal Meriva in the range. It’s also a Euro 6 diesel so will avoid future inner-city diesel surcharges. Examples registered before 1 April 2017 are also the cheapest to tax at, currently, £30 a year (they emit 116g/km CO2).

Best for Families – Vauxhall Meriva 1.6 CDTI Tech Line

Tech Line rear parking sensors, sat nav and Bluetooth make this version perfect for families, while the Euro 6 1.6 CDTI diesel engine is a strong performer and economical with it.

Best for Performance – Vauxhall Meriva 1.6 CDTI

The diesel engine wins again thanks not only to its quicker 0-62mph time but also its stronger in-gear acceleration, arguably the most relevant measure. It’ll also haul a family of five more easily than the others. There’s a hot-hatch version with 178bhp with called the VXR, but these rarely come up for sale.

One to Avoid – Vauxhall Meriva 1.4i Life A/C

As the name implies, the Life is the most functional, everyday version of the Meriva which, fitted with the lacklustre 1.4i petrol engine, robs the model of whatever sparkle it had to begin with.


  • 2014 Facelifted Meriva launched. As this is written, only Merivas registered since 2014 are available on BuyaCar. Recall issued for front passenger seat airbag.
  • 2015 Life and Club become the new low and mid-range trims, replacing S and Expression. High-spec Tech Line joins the range. Recall issued for seatbelt malfunction and engine stalling.
  • 2016 Recall issued for front passenger seat airbag and seatbelt malfunction.
  • 2017 (June) Meriva production ceases.

Understanding Vauxhall Meriva names

Trim Exclusiv

No, it’s not a misspelling – Vauxhall really does spell exclusive without the final ‘e’. As the name implies, it’s an upper trim level.

Engine 1.4i T 16v 120PS

The first figure is the capacity of the engine, the ‘T’ stands for turbocharged, which generates more power, and ‘16V’ is the number of valves the engine has (they let fuel and air in, and exhaust gases out; the more there are, the more efficient the engine is). The PS figure is the engine power, equivalent to the more familiar horsepower (hp) rating. The bigger the number, the more powerful the engine.

Gearbox Automatic

Depending on the engine, the Meriva is available with either a six-speed automatic or five, or six-speed, manual gearbox. The automatic is convenient but inefficient, while the six-speed manual offers better cruising refinement and economy than the five-speed.

Vauxhall Meriva Engines

1.4i 100PS, 1.4 T 120PS (man & auto), 1.6 CDTI 136PS, 1.7 CDTI 110PS auto

The big news for this facelifted generation of Meriva was the arrival of the 1.6 CDTI diesel engine, or Whisper diesel as Vauxhall calls it. Not only is it smooth, quiet and powerful but as a Euro 6 diesel it’s exempt from any planned inner-city diesel surcharges (at least until the bar is raised later down the line).

In addition, it’s economical and, as long as the car was registered before 1 April 2017, cheap to tax.

It’s joined by another diesel, a 1.7 CDTI. This is only available with an automatic gearbox and is slow and not especially economical.

However, it is more economical than the automatic version of the 1.4 T petrol engine, and cheaper to tax, too. The 1.4 T engine is best bought in manual form, when it easily eclipses the basic 1.4i petrol. This most basic engine is slow, slightly less economical than the more powerful 1.4 T and just as expensive to tax.




Fuel economy



Top speed





0-62mph: 14.0s


1.4 T


47.9mpg (man) - 39.8mpg (auto)


0-62mph: 11.3 - 11.9s

117 - 115mph

1.6 CDTI




0-62mph: 9.9s


1.7 CDTI


46.3mpg (auto)


0-62mph: 12.8s


Vauxhall Meriva Trims

Life A/C, Club A/C, Exclusiv, SE, Tech Line A/C

The good news is that regardless of trim level, Merivas all have the clever FlexDoor arrangement that facilities entry and exit, and split-fold rear seats that also slide. Not only that but in their rearmost position, the centre seat can be folded down allowing the outer seats to be pushed closer together.

The 397-litre boot has a two-position floor for taller loads plus plenty of storage pockets. Most versions supplement these with a storage box under the driver’s seat and a clever FlexRail modular storage system. All models have capacious door pockets and, between the front seats, a fixed storage tray featuring two cupholders, an aux-in connection, a USB port and a 12V socket.

Trim levels range from basic Life to SE. Most basic versions were ordered with the optional air conditioning. Life looks pretty functional and is quite scarce. Mid-range Exclusiv was more popular new and has alloy wheels. SE adds visual niceties including foglights and a sunroof, but Tech Line is the most rounded thanks to its rear parking sensors and sat nav.


Vauxhall Meriva Reliability and warranty

Despite their usefulness to families, a lot of Merivas were bought by retired couples who took care of them. These are well worth seeking out since hard-used examples have their fair share of squeaks and rattles.

On diesel models, the diesel particulate filter that traps pollutants can fail or at least require cleaning.

The Meriva didn't figure in the 2018 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey but sister cars the Corsa and Astra did. However, they didn’t cover themselves in glory and there’s no reason to expect the Meriva would have been any different.  

The Meriva was covered by a three-year warranty when new and it’s worth paying a little more for a car registered in 2015 and later to take advantage of what cover remains.

Used Vauxhall Meriva

It’s worth re-iterating the fact that the Meriva is no longer made, so they are only available on the used market.

As this was written, Merivas were outnumbered by close rival the Ford B-Max by around two to one, which is a fair reflection of the two cars’ comparative popularities plus the fact that the B-Max is still in production.

Prices for the less capable and competitive Meriva are generally lower (the B-Max benefits from twin sliding doors, no centre pillar and more efficient engines).  There are currently 5 Vauxhall Merivas available on BuyaCar. Prices start from £6,408 for 2014 models.

Generally, petrol engines outnumber diesel ones. There are currently 5 petrol Vauxhall Merivas available on BuyaCar. Whereas there are only 5 diesel Merivas.



Vauxhall Meriva: used car prices 2 year old 3 years old 4 years old

Best for performance Vauxhall Meriva 1.6 CDTI

£6,408 £6,408 £6,408

Best for families Vauxhall Meriva Tech Line


Best for economy Vauxhall Meriva 1.6 CDTI Tech Line