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Opel Meriva is Good for the Back, Health Experts Say

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Opel Meriva is Good for the Back, Health Experts Say


First automotive systems beyond seats to receive AGR seal of approval

Doors, FlexSpace and seats all designed for healthy use

Opel flexibility essentially ergonomically designed

Rüsselsheim. An association of doctors and therapists specializing in back health has certified the Opel Meriva’s ergonomic system consisting of special back-friendly features, saying their design is gentle on the back – for drivers and passengers alike.

When the new Opel Meriva is fitted with three particularly back-friendly features, the highly respected German Aktion Gesunder Rücken association (AGR – Action for Healthy Back) gives its much coveted seal of approval. The three major features are the Meriva’s FlexSpace rear seating system, the revolutionary FlexDoors, and the ergonomic sports seats. The FlexFix bicycle carrier is an optional feature that is also particularly ergonomic because owners do not have to strain their backs to affix their bicycles onto the car.

“We are extremely pleased to be the first automotive manufacturer to receive recognition for a comprehensive system of features. With 70 percent of the German population suffering from back pain, the AGR approval confirms how much we at Opel engineering care for people who want –or need – to do something good for their back,” said Andrew Leuchtmann, senior manager of global seats at Opel.

The most common reason for work absenteeism across Europe is back pain, according to AGR. So it is important that chairs, workspace and even cars are designed correctly. That is why AGR, an association of doctors, therapists and specialists in back and spinal health in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, certify and recommend items – from chairs to furniture, bicycles to beds – which are designed to be gentle on backs.

Only two automotive manufacturers, a premium brand and Opel, have received AGR approval for their front seats. Opel is the only car company which has received a recommendation for a system of features: AGR certifies the Meriva when it is equipped with the standard FlexDoors and FlexSpace as well as the optional ergonomic sports seats. AGR gave special kudos for the optional FlexFix carrier, which allows owners to mount bicycles on their cars without straining their backs.

Meriva supports all driver types

Opel engineers in the Human Vehicle Integration department studied how people get in and out of their cars and broke them down into various types. “Threaders” push their way through the hole of the entrance starting with their feet. “Ploppers” throw themselves into the car bum first. “Hurdlers” jump with right foot and head simultaneously into the car. Older people and those with back pain are taught to gently ease into a car supporting themselves with both hands – bum first – then swinging their feet into the car.

Regardless of the style, the Meriva offers the perfect back support because both front and rear doors have wide openings which can extend up to 84 degrees. And, as the roof of the car is high, stooping down is not required for most people.

The experts at AGR were especially enthusiastic about the FlexDoors rear-hinged rear doors system, which allow easy, gentle movements when entering and exiting from the rear. No twisting or awkward movements are required. FlexDoors also ease the way for parents to help children buckle into their seats. A sturdy hand grab at the B pillar assists with exiting the car, a feature that is used intuitively.

The AGR-approved front Ergonomic Sports Seats have special powered lumbar support and tilt-adjustable cushion and seatback as well as four-way adjustable headrests and an extendable seat cushion. The seats have long been valued by AGR, which first recommended their usage when they were introduced on the Insignia and the Astra. With the widest adjustment range in the segment (240 mm longitudinally and 65 mm in height), the seats are so adjustable that any body type, shape or size fits comfortably. In combination with the steering wheel adjustment the vehicle simply fits to the driver.

FlexSpace is a standard, clever, adaptable, seating concept that is the center of the Meriva’s outstanding versatility as well as the ergonomic well-being of its occupants. The cabin can be quickly transformed between a five, four, three or two-seater layout, without removing any seats. The outer rear seats can slide 190 mm longitudinally (140 mm forward and 50 mm rearward) and 50 mm laterally, and offer extended legroom for the passengers.

AGR experts also recommend Opel’s innovative FlexFix bicycle carrier because bicyclists don’t have to strain their backs to get their rack onto the car, then their bikes on the rack. FlexFix slides in and out of the rear bumper like a drawer, and is low to the ground. No special tools, fittings, or storage space in the garage are required. The carrier can hold two bikes and, when not in use, slides back invisibly into the Meriva’s rear bumper. This motivates Meriva users to more often ride their bicycles and have outdoor body exercise. FlexFix is available as an option.

In addition, Opel engineers have slightly tilted the dashboard, making controls and buttons accessible and easy to reach. The high mounted shifter is also ideally positioned for the driver. More storage solutions offered in convenient places contribute to the wellness and ergonomics of the cabin because it is important to keep awkward movements at bay. Furthermore, the range of movement on the FlexRail slide-able armrest is class-leading – a plus for any body size. AGR experts also praised the airy feeling of Meriva’s cabin enhanced for rear passengers by the wave design of the side window.

Opel Flexibility is ergonomically designed

In general, the fully integrated on-board flexibility Opel first introduced in 1999 with Zafira’s Flex7 provide better ergonomics than all previous versatile concepts. As neither seats nor any other component need to be removed from the cabin to be stored outside of the car, users backs are relieved from great pains. Fully integrated sliding and folding systems make it easy to change the car configurations. In addition, Opel engineers have developed for the Insignia onward a new generation of affordable seats with enhanced ergonomics.

The goal of ergonomists is to ensure that the body stays relaxed and, at the same time, has good support. This lessens strain overall on the body, but, when sitting, on the back in particular. Entering and exiting the car must be easy – and with the Meriva it is. The rear-hinged FlexDoors with its sturdy grab handles were especially praised by AGR experts for making the movement required to get in and out of the car easy and natural.

And, by making the seat configurations easy to move, AGR specialists said, the back was spared. They glide easily into place; movements are more intuitive, therefore requiring less strain on the lower back.

Together, Meriva’s features make for a back-friendly car offered by no other auto manufacturer. This led the back experts to write: “As a tribute for manufacturing back-friendly products, the AGR bestows its quality cachet on Adam Opel GmbH.”



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Functional B-pillars? Baaah-Humbug!wink.gif

Nice to see you still posting the news stories 98R.

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