2003 Vauxhall Meriva Life 1.6 petrol (16v Ecotec) from UK and Ireland
Not up to the usual Vauxhall standard
Exhaust Gas recirculation valve (EGR) failed in July 2006. This caused the engine to misfire constantly.
Engine Valves suspect (from ex Vauxhall mechanic) sticking, causing engine to cut-out after long journey.
Very poor windscreen washer system. Water hits the wiper arm blades and sprays everywhere, but on the windscreen! I use a lot of water to keep the screen clean. Nightmare on long rainy journeys.
Poor storage inside cabin. Glove compartment may as well not be there. It is so shallow. The glove comparment door forms part of the compartment, so when you put things inside and close the door, they all fall and get trapped.
Door storage pockets too narrow and shallow. They made them like this to incorporate a kind of shallow storage tray to the side of each front seat. This is made of hard plastic. When you put something on it, it slides off when you brake.
Rear screen becomes dirty very easy - there is no "spoiler" to deflect rain and road spray. When travelling at speed a "vortex" is created on the back screen and this seems to "suck" the road spray onto the glass. You need to constantly flick wash wipe the rear screen.
The cigarette lighter is on a kind of hinge, and pops up when you open the ashtray. The only problem is that when you try and plug anything into it (like a phone charger) it tries to collapse itself and close the draw!.
Rear seats (flex system) are difficult to fold flat - you have to get them exactly in the right spot for them to fold flat. The load area is not entirely flat. There is a "hole" between the boot floor and back of seat. This is covered by a nasty piece of velcro type materiel. The glue has come of this and it now just hangs there. It is possible to lose small items beneath the centre of the rear seats.
There are no arm rests fitted as standard to the front seats - in particular the passenger seat. As the seats are not "body hugging" the passenger gets rolled from side to side when cornering. This can be uncomfortable on long journeys. (I am a careful and considerate driver of over 35 years).
The car is not an easy car to drive smoothly. It seems to be "jerky" and its difficult to get the clutch action right for a smooth gear change. (I have never had this trouble on any other car I, ve driven). It could be because you are seated higher in the Meriva, so it's difficult to get that heel/toe action on the clutch pedal.
Of course the front pillars either side of the windscreen are definite blind spots. You have to lean forward to see at junctions and roundabouts.
The boot is quite small - and it is a "faff" to keep dropping the rear seats when you want that extra bit of storage. Oh, and you have to remove the rear seat headrests to enable seats to fold flat!.
On my car the bonnet release catch was positioned too close to the centre bonnet support, making the catch difficult to grip to release bonnet.
The oil dipstick is very badly positioned - it fouls the corner of the plastic engine cover when you try and remove to check oil levels.
Windscreen washer bottle is badly placed, right in the corner of the engine, just under the left had side of windscreen. Awkward to fill. And it does not hold much water.
Double central locking system is a bit of a pain. Passenger tends to be left standing in the rain when you forget to press the key fob twice.
What can I say that is good about the car! Not much in my opinion. I do not have a great deal of confidence in the 16 valve "Ecotech" engine. It may be the latest in efficiency and quietness, but it certainly isn't economical, or very quiet for that matter. It revs at approx 4,000 when doing 75 to 80 mph (when you have to use that speed!). It is quite noisy at these revs. Engine does about 3,000 revs at 65mph.
Engine on my car seemed to use a great deal of oil. So much so that I kept checking the floor, thinking there was an oil leak somewhere.
One final point. The drivers door mirror has a wide angle "zone" built in. Because this is combined in a flat piece of glass, it is extrmely difficult to focus ones eyes on the wide angle bit, and the ordinary bit. Yours eyes do not have any easy reference point at which to re-focus. I have stuck on a proprietry "blind spot" mirror, which has made it much easier.
In conclusion. I have owned several vauxhalls over the past twenty years, and as the years progressed the cars got better in terms of perforamce, reliability and driver comfort. I feel Vauxhall have taken a step backwards with the Meriva.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th March, 2007
11th May 2009, 12:37
Double unlocking can be turned off at your local garage with a tech 2. The jerky drive is your driving; mine is fine. The rear seats are easy - any one can do it.
30th Nov 2009, 14:58
I own a 53 reg 1.6 16v Design, and mine's fine too. Suppose a few of the things are correct, but to rip the hell out of them like this bloke... You can't please everyone. You should get a Ford, then you'll have something to complain about LOL. The Meriva is a nice little family motor, suited to anyone with 1 or 2 kids.