By on January 5, 2010

2010 Opel Meriva

The production version of the Opel Meriva has debuted, and as promised, the suicide doors made the cut. But will the Meriva come to America, re-grilled as a Buick? A Gamma II-based MPV is rumored for Buick’s 2012 lineup, and suicide doors might just be the gimmick that helps America understand the concept of “premium compact.” Even though, as the image after the jump shows, they are little more than a gimmick.

merivaLook Ma, no… oh wait, there are the B-pillars. Still, America has a thing for the willfully, unnecessarily different. If there’s a way for Buick to possibly be taken seriously by compact car buyers and the young (and there might not be), this is probably it.

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27 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Not A Concept Edition...”

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    I think Daimler might sue somebody!

  • avatar

    I don’t think Daimler’s going to sue anybody.
    1. this is just a case of convergent evolution
    2. by today’s standards these things actually do look different.
    3. there’s not enough originality in the Benz styling for a court to rule that there was something that deserved protection.
    I am actually surprising myself by liking the profile of the Opel (except for the rear pillar–I hate those triangular things)

  • avatar

    I have to say, I really like it.  Can’t see it as a Buick, but I like it.

  • avatar

    Another great Saturn that will never be.

    • 0 avatar

      Saturn died when they made the Outlook . . .and the Vue “bigger”.
      I like the “small cheap cars” and “basic respect” concept . . . seemed to get lost towards the end there.

  • avatar

    yeah, it’s definitely not a buick. although the Aveo is definitely not a chevy either.

  • avatar

    Chaos theory as applied to cars. Looks like two ends from two different cars welded together. Wretched. And people complain about Acura’s styling?

    The Genesis coupe smashed in the side, rear window was about as far as that look should have gone.

  • avatar

    I like it also.  Good to see some adventurous styling in a family hauler.

    David H.- Hmmm…I guess I see the Aveo as being great representation of all Chevy has done in the last thirty years to arrive where they are today.
    Distillation of mediocrity if you will. ;^D


  • avatar

    Too much headlight, too little hood? :)

  • avatar

    This would have made an ideal Saturn.  For that matter, so would the previous Meriva.
    It doesn’t work as a Buick, unless your take on Buick is as either GM’s “Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” or “We need to amortize the costs” division.

  • avatar

    So when the family parks in a great spot between two other vehicles near the mall entrance, and everyone hops out at once – what happens next? Is there room for two people to stand between these doors and still close them? Do they have to plan some sort of sequential exit strategy?

    • 0 avatar

      And I can’t tell for sure, do the rear doors open independently of the front doors? Would that be a problem for US safety standards?

    • 0 avatar

      The back doors should have been sliders… like on a true mini-van.

    • 0 avatar

      > do the rear doors open independently of the front doors?
      Since there is a B-Pillar, then I’d say yes.   Otherwise, this is a very impractical design.  Those pickups and some cars that have the pillarless suicide doors are awkward  in parking lots for the obvious reasons.

  • avatar

    Looks good. Its about time a car company broke the cookie cutter mold and designed something that looks just a little bit different. However, I’m not sure that it would fit into the Buick lineup.

  • avatar

    Love the cabforward stubby hood and hood cut behind the facia, as well as the beltline shape … really attractive in my eyes…

    Suicide doors faded from the US scene before the rise of big-time product liabilty litigation and sympathetic juries (although this has been mitigated somewhat by recent legislation limiting damage awards.)  IIRC, where such door configurations have been used in more modern vehicles, it is not possible to open the rr door unless the ff door is also opened (this is partly due to the rr door being the latching surface for the ff door, think of the half doors on super-cab pickups), and where used on cars (Saturn comes to mind) and I could be wrong here, but haven’t those doors been exclusive to the curb-side of the vehicle?

    If the General has the stones to bring this configuration across the Atlantic, it will be interesting if they create a new branch of product design litigation in the process (just wait until the first fatality or injury from someone getting sheared between the door and door apeture!)

    Reasons for B-pillar are:
     a) structural integrity, not only for side-impact, it also resists the bending forces and torsional moments which conspire to make a car feel all wobbly (something akin to ‘cabrio cowl shake’),
    b) a nice place to mount the upper pivot of the shoulder belt (something Lincoln never had on their radar with the Continental, with the only alternative being an expensive and bulky ‘structural seat’ with integrated seatbelt),
    c) better sealing for, and between, the doors, fewer leaks and less wind noise, and
    d) this is the cheapest way to get a mini-van door kind of feeling without all the extra cost and complication…

    Let’s wait to see if the savings and originality are outweighed by the hassle and expense of product litigation…

    • 0 avatar

      “I could be wrong here, but haven’t those doors been exclusive to the curb-side of the vehicle?”
      Yep, you’re wrong, Honda Element has suicides on both sides.  But most small sporty cars (RX-8, Mini Clubman) do have just one, so your mistake is understandable.
      As an Element owner, I can confirm that suicides can be a pain, rear passengers are trapped until one of the fronts is opened.  Not a big deal for me, our kid is grown so we don’t haul passengers that much, but if I had a family I’d give this Buick a pass.  But it is distinctive, although I thought it was a Mazda 5 at first glance…

  • avatar

    Apparently the designer of the Subaru XT got a new job, and a fresh supply of peyote.

  • avatar

    Didn’t GM try this with the Saturn ION coupe?  That certainly worked out well.

  • avatar

    You’re right about the Aveo. (Which is to say that Chevy totally lost its way over the last 30 years. (Except for the Caprice and the ‘vette.)

  • avatar

    I am not sure about this one, but there are people who want small MPVs like this.  I would like to see the rear doors open to about 172* like some of the late 3rd door designs that some trucks had.  I would need to see this in person, because I believe in my head, I am seeing this bigger than what it really is.

  • avatar

    There is a B pillar. If you real close the separation is hidden by a crease. Clever design. I doubt that it will get to NA unaltered as usual. Sadly.

    This is just the sort of fresh thinking the General needs to pull itself out of the doldrums.

  • avatar

    Aztek??  Is that you??

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