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Meriva A, 1.6iT, www.autoexpress.co.uk, 21/11/05

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  • Meriva A, 1.6iT, www.autoexpress.co.uk, 21/11/05

    www.autoexpress.co.uk
    Date: November 21st, 2005
    By: Chris Thorp
    It's the maddest Meriva ever! Blink and you'll miss it, but here's a first official look at Vauxhall's high-performance supermini-MPV, the car that breaks new ground for family-friendly firebreathers.
    Powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the new range-topper feeds a huge 178bhp through its front wheels. As a result, the boxy five-door launches from 0-60mph in eight seconds and goes on to a top speed of 140mph. To help cope with the extra power, the chassis has been extensively tuned on UK roads, while the steering has also been upgraded.
    Set apart by bold new bumpers, the range-topper wears its VXR badges with pride. The finishing touch is a set of striking 17-inch alloys. Inside, there are figure-hugging Recaro seats with blue upholstery to match the exterior paintwork. In the rear, the hot model retains the practicality of standard Mer-ivas thanks to Vauxhall's Flexspace seating layout. The VXR logo is seen on the gearlever, instruments and steering wheel, while standard kit is generous.
    Unveiled at this week's Essen Motor Show in Germany, the latest VXR will go on sale in February. Vauxhall hopes to sell 800 in a year, but prices will be steep. Costs are yet to be announced, although the model is tipped to be around £16,500, making it nearly £3,000 more expensive than Ford's Fiesta ST and only £995 cheaper than the Focus ST.
    Meanwhile, buyers will have to wait until the end of next year to drive a Corsa VXR, when the next-generation supermini's high-performance flagship will be launched. It will use the same engine as the Meriva VXR, but aims to match the dynamic abilities of hot hatch class-leaders thanks to its all-new chassis.
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