Our spy photographers have captured the next-generation Opel Meriva out testing on public roads in Europe.

Thanks to the prototype vehicle's extensive disguise, it's hard to make out too many design details about the new Meriva, but we can see that the next-generation car will ditch its people mover heritage and morph into a crossover vehicle.

This path has already been trod by the fourth-generation Renault Espace and is currently being navigated by the next-generation Peugeot 3008, which we published spy photos of yesterday.

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As part of the Meriva's shift away from the unsexy people mover classification, it will lose the current model's distinctive lightning bolt window line and rear-hinged rear doors (bottom). It's not yet known if it will lose its flexible seating options, though.

While the Australian market has never really shown an appetite for small people movers, the Meriva's shift to become more of crossover vehicle may mean that it factors into plans by Holden to snatch away Toyota Australia's sales crown.

The new Meriva is said to be based on the same architecture that will underpin the next iterations of the Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C3 Picasso. The Meriva and its Gallic-branded siblings-under-the-skin are a result of GM's short-lived shareholding in the French car maker.

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The next-generation Meriva, Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C3 Picasso will all be produced by GM at its Zaragoza, Spain factory from 2016.

GM bought into PSA Peugeot Citroen in 2012, and plans were immediately drawn up for the two automakers to to share up to four vehicle platforms and develop small three-cylinder engines. GM sold its share of the French car maker in December 2013, and many of the joint plans were scuttled.

Opel Meriva

Above: The (current) second-generation Opel Meriva.