Jeep is one brand that needs no introduction when it comes to brute off roading that too in premium comfort and utmost safety. The Compass was the first car model from the American car brand made for India which was well received and has been selling in good numbers since its launch in 2017. Now Jeep wants to take its lineage ahead and wants you to go places where other SUV’s can’t and that too with all of your family with you with its 7-seater SUV the Meridian. We went all the way up to the North of India to drive the large SUV in lovely and Sunny Chandigarh. Here’s our detailed road-test & off road test review of the Mighty Jeep Compass Meridian.
Food for Thought
The Meridian is the first three row SUV model from Jeep for India. The SUV is very similar to the Jeep Commander. The Meridian is made in India and will exported to the world. Needless to say Meridian uses a lot of the underpinnings of the Compass including the engine, transmission and a lot of the cabin stuff but is a lot larger in dimension.
In terms of exteriors the Meridian appears huge at first look especially from the sides. It stands at 4769mm in length, 1859mm in width and 1698mm in height with a wheelbase that of 2782mm and a overall ground clearance of 203mm. Defining the Meridian’s face is the 7-slat Jeep family grille in a blend of chrome and black embellishments. The wide grille is mated with the Jeep rectangular projector LED headlamps gets flushed into the face cleanly and also sport DRL eyebrows. The bumper gets a chrome strip running across its width and a large air dam with mesh grille along with a chrome finish faux skid plate. Round fog lamps with black surround inserts look stylish while the lower part of the front bumper is left unpainted for off roading reasons.
The sides highlight the tradional Jeep hallmark traits like the squared out fenders with fiber inserts, sharp character lines on the fenders squarish glass area wih chrome strip running around it. The Meridian drives on 18 inch tyres mounted on multi spoke design dual color alloys. Styleing on the sides also includes a large Meridian branding placed on the door while the lower section of the doors come with fiber cladding. The gap between the wheel and the wheel arch is a lot which gives a fair idea of its off road capabilities at first glance.
At the rear the styling s completely different and looks very American with flat squared out slim LED tail lamps that fit flush into the flat tail section. A thick chrome bar runs between the tail lamps and houses the Jeep logo on it. The electric tail gate comes with a large spoiler and a curved glass that looks nice especially on the dual-tone body color that we drove. The rear bumper is unpainted but comes with silver finish faux skid plate and stop reflectors placed on. The roof gets a shark fin antenna and a large panoramic sun roof finishing off the premium SUV styling of the meridian.
Step inside the Meridian and you will be reminded a lot of the New Compass. The soft finish dashboard comes in dual tone finish with metal inserts and leather finish that looks very premium. Centre of the dash houses the 10 inch touchscreen AVN system burrowed from the Compass that comes with all the connectivity features including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth telephony, navigation radio etc. Also on the feature list is a wireless charger, 360 degree camera, multi zone climate control, air purifier and ventilated powered font seats.
The instrument cluster is again Compass derived 10.2 inch all color LCD screen that looks stylish and reads out all the tell tale details crisply. The steering is again Compass derived three spoke unit with leather wrapping and metail inserts sporting the MFD control buttons. You get tiny paddle shifters and adjust for height with reach on the steering. You get the Compass derived transmission shifter and the drive mode toggle knob along with the electro mechanical hand brake and the 4X4 High Low activation buttons. Seats come in leather upholstery with Jeep inscribed on them. Full electric front seats offer tons of space and comfort. XXXL sized seats get ventilation feature which was very comforting during our drive.
The middle row seats come with adjust for inclining the back rest further to suit comfort and also with adjustable headrest with foldable centre arm rest. Seating here offers excellent amount of leg, knee and head room and also large amount of shoulder room. Seats are perfectly padded and very supportive.
Getting into the third row is a breeze with the double tumble down middle row seats making space for you to step in. Third row seats offer good space and decent amount of leg room best suited for teen aged kids or maybe for an adult for short drives. Overall comfort in the Meridian is premium and very comforting.
The Meridian gets a boot capacity of 170 liters with all the three rows up, 481 liters with the third row down. The intelligent electric tail gate works flawlessly and effortlessly.
Engine – Transmission – Drive
Powering the Jeep Meridian is the Compass derived 2.0L Multijet Diesel engine. This oil burner makes 170PS of power and 350Nm of torque and comes with a 9 speed automatic transmission. You also have an option of a 6-speed manual transmission on the offer. The Jeep Meridian will be available in two trims Limited and Limited Option in 4×2 manual, 4×2 automatic and also in 4×4 automatic options. We drove the Meridian Limited Option 4×4 Automatic for our test review.
We drove the Meridian on the tarmac to start with, We loved the ride quality of the Compass and the Meridian offers similar excellent ride quality that is plush, premium and very comforting. The on road mannerism of the SUV is up class and comforting. The steering feels well weighted with excellent feedback and feel at all speeds. The power delivery is excellent and the 2.0L oil burner is joy to drive. Power delivery is extremely crisp, and once out of the 1500rpm mark this engine is eager to be pushed across all gears. High speed cruising feels extremely confident and the Meridian impressed us in its overall drive feel and on road handling. But then, all SUVs do well on the road.
Now coming to its real genetic virtue, its off-roading abilities. Well, the team at Jeep had everything set up for us. A natural off-road track neatly hidden away in the lush green jungles just outside Chandigarh. Here, we put the Meridian to all extreme off-road conditions that you can think of. Sharp inclines, extreme turns while descending, deep slush, water fording and driving over rocks were some exercises that we went through in this brute 7-seater SUV.
The Meridian went across all these obstacles with utter ease. We used the Jeep Active drive mode mostly in Mud and Auto. The power and torque delivery was intelligently handled by the 4WD system onboard here. In short, the Jeep Meridian feels perfect to drive in any condition that it’s put into, may that be on the road or off it this brute SUV handles it all very smartly.
The Jeep Meridian comes loaded with safety features. You get 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, height adjust front seat belts, 360 degree camera, Traction control, ECS, Electronic hand brake with intelligent hold and hill start function to name a few.
The Jeep Meridian goes up against the Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Alturas G4, MG Gloster, Skoda Kodiaq, and the Volkswagen Tiguan in its class and segment.
Well with the Compass Jeep showcased their powers for the Indian market now they want you to go places and conquer them all with your family with you. The 7-seater Meridian does share a lot with the Compass but at the same time it also has a separate identity and is flawless in terms of on road and off road drive ability. He SUV did so much of extreme off roading with ease and reassured us each time we conquered an obstacle in it. If priced competitively the Meridian will surely find lots of buyers who desire a brut yet premium and safe SUV that can take all of your family in great style.