Goodbye MPVs and Other Opel Stuff

MPVs are so ’00s. Opel have announced the name of their new small CUV, the Crosslander which replaces the Meriva. Autocar said so too. As did BBC’s Top [Insert Name of Presenter here]

2016 Opel Meriva interior: source
2016 Opel Meriva interior: source

Opel used lot of design talent on the Meriva. It had a superb interior with some excellent colour and fabric options. The window line was unique in that it recognised the fact the kids in the back might want to see out. That’s user-centred design which I can only applaud. Those doors too.

2016 Opel Meriva interior:
2016 Opel Meriva interior:

If we read Top [Insert Name of Presenter Here]’s take on the matter we are in for gloomy news:

“The Crossland X is actually a joint-venture with the PSA Group, and uses PSA’s small platform. The next C3 Picasso will share the same platform, and will be launched at roughly the same time, as both will be built at GM’s factory in Spain.

But if you’re trying to imagine the new C3 Picasso or the Crossland X, don’t think about the current C3 Picasso. The next C3 Picasso will look a deal more crossover-y than today’s. Vauxhall-Opel’s boss Karl-Thomas Neumann recently told Top Gear: “It’s between a crossover and an MPV. It’s got more space than a crossover and is more economical. It’s FWD-only. The Mokka X is more of a crossover.”

2016 Opel Meriva: source
2016 Opel Meriva: source

He claimed that although it’s a joint-venture, the Crossland X is more than just a re-badge job. “If you see the cars you won’t say this is a badged Citroen or the Citroen is a badged Vauxhall. There are many unique pressings in the sheetmetal.” [I have added emphasis: “many,” he says.]

Something similar is happening a size up for Vauxhall later in the year. This extra new five-seat crossover, says the company in a statement, has an “especially sporty design.” It too is a result of the PSA-GM co-operation, and is broadly a GM crossover on the new Peugeot 3008’s underpinnings. Part of its mission will be to do a much better job than the forgotten Antara. End quote. So, out goes the Meriva with its funky doors

2016 Opel Meriva interio: source
2016 Opel Meriva interior: source

Funnily, Autocar don’t mention the shared platforms. Instead they go with a quote from Opel: “2017 will be a landmark year for Vauxhall. Our portfolio will grow, but it’s the quality and innovation underpinning our new products that will surprise customers.” This is a bit drab. I hoped for better from Opel, as you will be unsurprised to hear.

There are three versions of the Insignia, none of which seem to be the 2017 Buick Lacrosse which, according to Wikipedia “… rides on the lighter P2XX platform shared with the 2018 Chevrolet Impala which reduced its weight by about 300 pounds (136 kilograms), despite slightly growing in length and width.”

Autocar claims the Insignia Grand Sport is based on something called the E2 architecture platform. GM Authority claims “E2XX will replace GM’s global Epsilon 2 vehicle architecture, while replacing the crossover-only Lambda platform. E2XX is expected to first be utilized on the ninth-generation 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and possibly the 2016 Opel Insignia.” Autocar styles the new Insignias as three new models: a five-door hatchback, a “sports tourer” and a four-wheel drive country tourer. I count that as two models (a hatch, and an estate) and notice the end of the saloon version.


Here is Opel´s press release (or part thereof): “With the all-new Opel Insignia Grand Sport a five-door sedan with coupé-like silhouette, sporty handling and class-leading all-wheel drive makes its debut. Like its predecessor, more than 900,000 units of which have been sold, the new Insignia will be produced in Rüsselsheim.” At DTW we have a special solvent that cuts through corporate baloney. Using that stuff I see that Opel now calls a five-door car a saloon.

The words saloon and coupé have lost all meaning now, haven’t they? VW, Mercedes and someone else, I forget, make four-door coupes and Opel now give us a hatchback called a sedan (meaning saloon). Opel sold loads of the Insignia as a saloon. And even as they evacuate that market, BMW and Audi are selling similarly-sized hatchbacks. What is up?

Here’s another Meriva. The rear doors open backwards, like a Lancia Appia. On a family hold-all. We blinked and we missed it.

2010 Opel Meriva:
2010 Opel Meriva:

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

15 thoughts on “Goodbye MPVs and Other Opel Stuff”

  1. I’ll miss both the C3 Picasso (I’ve said before that I think it is probably PSA’s best Citroën right now) and the Meriva. Give either of them a 520 sized boot and they might be sat on my drive by now instead of our Xsara Picasso. Unfortunately, whatever their merits, image has killed them in favour of less practical and less intelligent ‘crossovers’.

    1. I wonder what Citroën is going to do with all these Crossovers: the new Picasso will enter a field where the Cactus and the new, crossovery C3 are already playing. Self-cannibalisation at its best!

  2. The Meriva is certainly more interesting than any crossover / SUV / thing. Possibly GME’s best car. I have to admit I never drove one, but having driven a few GME cars over the past 20 years I would expect it to be hateful. Unfortunately, its static qualities are not enough.

    1. A lot of people seem to be convinced Opels are bad to drive. The ones I´ve driven have been satisfactory and by and large they get decent reviews.

    2. I couldn’t specifically fault the Insignia I rented earlier this year, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. The big 2 litre Carlton / Omega we had as a work runaround years ago was a perfectly fine thing though. But, for me, it might just be a dislike of modern motors – a bloody switch for a handbrake for instance.

    3. I had a Corsa rental for a week last year – it was really quite bad. My wife drove it more than me, and she absolutely hated it. Uncomfortable driving position, poorly weighted controls… nothing to commend it.

      The 2nd worst car I have ever driven was a ‘Chevrolet’ Lacetti hatchback, about 10 years ago. Horrid, horrid, horrid.

      I have driven a few GME products inbetween, and all suffered to a greater or lesser extent from familiar bugbears – a brittle ride and a joyless, reluctant drivetrain.

      This might just be a matter of personal taste of course, and feel free to disregard anything I say. But, for me, they are nasty things to drive.

  3. As far as I can tell an SUV has all the exterior height of an MPV, but not the interior height. But what exactly does it offer in return?

    As for the joint-venture business. In a way there are far too many companies going their independent ways, then ending up with projects indistinguishable from each other, so why not collaborate? But the C3 Picasso and Meriva both did their jobs well, while being markedly different. Even allowing for the “many unique pressings”, I don’t think that will be the case now.

    1. Those pressings will probably even be ‘very unique’.

    1. Ever since Simon made our art director redundant to find room for a full height wine rack things have been skimpy in that department.

  4. Everybody says that the MPV-segment is dying – but aren´t the sales numbers of the Fiat 500 L pretty good? And those of the C3 Picasso are still remarkable (compared for example to those of the C5, which is not very much older).

    The Meriva is a quite nice looking car with an interesting layout, but he is not offering a touch of quality at all. The Mokka is unpractical and without any fun to drive, but he gives you the impression of a solid car. That´s what counts, when people are buying a car – i suggest.

    Building a more practical Crossover makes sense especially for the countries of Southern Europe where families want to buy a small family car and are often disappointed about how unpractical Cactus, Mokka, Juke and Captur are.
    Opel is the winner of this joint-venture in my eyes. Because they have no practical small family car, whereas PSA already has the Peugeot 2008, which is a great success (one of not many successful cars of PSA at the moment), And the new Peugeot 3008 seems to be extremely fine (the best french car – if you believe french car magazines), so Opel will soon have a competititve range of SUVs and crossovers without any knowledge how to develop such cars.

    1. Markus. Surely the 500L’s success is based on the cynical (but commercially sound) ploy of using the 500’s style. It doesn’t work for me, but it does for Fiat’s accountants. If it were a ‘proper’ MPV, offering more space and better visibility it would probably bomb.

      MPV, Crossover, SUV. The boundaries are fuzzy. According to Autocar, the new 3008 has 50mm more ground clearance than before, although the overall height is unchanged. It may be that clever designers have fiddled with seat thicknesses, layout, etc but, crudely, that translates a 50mm less interior height all the time and additional ground clearance over obstacles you will never encounter

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