Delta has added enhanced utility to the compact MPV sector with the launch of the fully-imported five-seater Opel Meriva, which can be easily converted into a four, three, or two-seat load lugger.Delta has added enhanced utility to the compact MPV sector with the launch of the fully-imported five-seater Opel Meriva, which can be easily converted into a four, three, or two-seat load lugger.


The Meriva had been a practical certainty for the South African market since the Opel Concept M, on which it is based, made an appearance at last year's Auto Africa Motor Show. The model is understood to be the first of a host of new Opel models Delta plans to launch in South Africa in the near future.


Like its big brother the Zafira, the Meriva, which comes standard with a fold down front passenger seat, features the FlexSpace system that allows the MPV's interior be configured without removing any seats.


The Meriva's wheelbase (2630 mm) is almost as long as the larger Zafira (2694 mm). And in terms of width (1694 mm) and height (1624 mm) the differences between Meriva and Zafira are 48 and 56 mm respectively.


In the regular five-seat configuration, the Meriva has three rear seats, but the two outer seats can be moved to their rearmost position and the centre seat folded away for added leg- and shoulder room. If additional storage space is needed, the two individual outer seats can separately be slid forward, folded down or lowered completely to the floor.


With all five seats in use, the Meriva's load area - depending on the position of the rear seats - holds between 350 to 560 liters. And if more space is required, the Meriva can be transformed into transporter with a capacity of 1 410 liters and a cargo-area length of 1,70 meters.


With the front passenger's seat folded down, the load length stretches to 2,4 meters and storage capacity increases to no less than 2 000 litres.


The interior features a 60-litre, three-compartment storage box under the load-area floor panels and a multifunctional travel assistant (standard on the Comfort model) that can be attached to the back of the centre seat after it has been folded down.

The travel assistant features an armrest that can be moved forwards or backwards by 70 mm, two cup holders and an interior storage box that provides five litres of additional space. The rear-seat twin audio system (also standard on the Comfort model) consists of a module in the centre of the rear console with controls for program selection and volume adjustment, and sockets for two headsets. These permit rear passengers to listen to a CD while those in the front listen to the radio - or vice versa.


The Meriva comes standard with DSA (dynamic safety assist) suspension, ABS (with ventilated brake discs at the front), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assistant. The model, which earned a four-star rating in the latest round of European NCAP crash tests, comes equipped with front and side airbags (Comfort spec), five height-adjustable head restraints and lap-and-shoulder seat belts, front seat belt tensioners and force limiters and Isofix child's seat mounts on the outer rear seats.


The Meriva is powered by Opel's familiar 74 kW 1,6-litre Ecotec engine.