The Vauxhall Meriva is not a bad tow car by any means, but it’s hampered by a very low towing limit. Just 1150kg is less than 85% of the Meriva’s kerbweight, the figure usually recommended as a sensible maximum weight of caravan for newcomers to towing.
Pulling a caravan weighted to the legal maximum, the Meriva was unfazed by towing, suggesting the towing limit is rather cautious. The 1.6-litre engine pulled car and tourer from 30-60mph in 15.3 seconds, so there should be no problem keeping up with the ebb and flow of traffic on a busy motorway.
In an emergency manoeuvre, the Meriva will be on your side. Although the steering isn’t the sharpest, the lane-change test revealed plenty of grip – even with the caravan sliding around behind it, the Vauxhall stayed on course.
The electronic parking brake held car and caravan reliably on the 1-in-6 test hill, and the Meriva pulled to the top of the slope without fuss.
Inside, there’s space for five at a push. Four can fit more comfortably, thanks to the way the middle seat folds away, allowing the outer rear seats to slide inwards and back for more legroom and shoulder-room. The rear-hinged back doors provide a wide opening for getting in and out.
The Meriva’s price is high, but Vauxhall dealers don’t usually put up much of a fight if you ask for a discount.