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The Meridian is a premium 7-seater SUV with off-roading capabilities comparable to the rest of the Jeep line-up. Here’s what we had to say about the Jeep Meridian.

Jeep is the latest to jump on board, with the Meridian, its new full-size SUV. It’s no secret that it’s built on the popular Compass platform, but the wheelbase has been lengthened to accommodate the third row. The Meridian will only be offered in diesel and as a seven-seater for the time being. The Meridian, according to Jeep, is more than simply a practical, spacious vehicle; it also has off-roading skills unmatched in its market.

There are few manufacturers that can rival the Jeep’s legacy when it comes to SUVs. The iconic American carmaker first entered India in 2016 with the CBU-imported Wrangler and Grand Cherokee SUVs, and then debuted the India-made Compass 5-seater premium SUV that is still the best seller for Jeep in India. After 6 years, they are now stepping up their game with the Meridian, a new 7-seater SUV. We just drove the SUV on the outskirts of Chandigarh where we got to drive the car both on the tarmac as well as tackle some off-road terrains, and here is our Jeep Meridian’s first drive report

Design

The Meridian matches the Compass in appearance, which isn’t a bad thing because it has the customary SUV road presence. Although Jeep did inform us, that the Meridian only shares the windscreen with the Compass and everything else on the Meridian is new. Jeep’s clever designers have added some new style components, such as the thin and sweptback LED projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights. The front bumper has been rebuilt with a single large air dam and chrome strips above and below it. The fog lamps are now located immediately over the lower lip of the front fascia, as is customary.

The famous Grand Cherokee’s remarkable design language is shown in the side profile, especially with the flat roofline and extended body panels. Despite the fact that both the Compass and the Meridian have 18-inch alloy wheels, the Meridian has a more athletic appearance. The Meridian has a large rear quarter glass as a seven-seater to guarantee that the occupants in the last row feel airy, while the second row has lengthy doors that open at an 80-degree angle. This is not only a first in the segment, but it also makes entering and exiting the cabin more convenient. When it comes to the back, the elegant three-pod LED tail lamps with a thick chrome band running between them are where the new SUV shows off its individuality.

Cabin 

However, unlike its exterior design, the Jeep Meridian’s cabin is identical to the Jeep Compass in every detail. The Meridian’s main advantage over the Compass is the additional row of seating. For easier movement in the rear-most seats, the middle seats have a one-touch drop mechanism. Let’s not even get started on the elephant in the room: the Meridian’s rear-most seats. In all honesty, the Jeep Meridian is a 5+2 vehicle, which means that seating two adults in the back will be difficult, particularly over long distances. The third-row seats are best suited for children.

Features
The Jeep Meridian is of excellent quality, and it has a luxury feel from the start. The 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use and features the most up-to-date Uconnect connectivity. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which are wireless, as well as a 9-speaker sound system. A 360-degree camera, a fully digital instrument panel, a panoramic dual-pane sunroof, and an automatic tailgate are among the additional amenities. The Meridian comes equipped with 6 airbags, TPMS, automatic parking brake, hill start assist, and other safety features.

Performance

Only a 2.0-litre Multijet diesel engine with 170 hp and 350 Nm of torque powers the Jeep Meridian. Although it isn’t exactly comparable to large seven-seater SUVs, the engine is smooth and strong. A new nine-speed automatic transmission is available, as well as a six-speed manual transmission.
The Meridian comes with both 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains, as well as Select Terrain (for AWD variant).
The engine accelerates slowly and steadily, never rushing you. As per Jeep’s claims, it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 198 km/h. However, while the Meridian feels powerful and has ample zip, it lacks sportiness, which is due to the fairly slow nine-speed gearbox. 

Ride and Handling

The Meridian has a wonderful ride quality, effortlessly gliding over potholes. The independent suspension system is a blessing because it absorbs thuds when the car travels over severe potholes and keeps it isolated from the rest of the vehicle, guaranteeing that the ride quality, especially for the passengers, is not compromised. Despite its size and length, the steering is light and responsive, but it is a little heavy for city driving. Also, the longer wheelbase does help the car on the highway as it felt better to drive on the highway than its sibling the Compass.


The Jeep Meridian’s off-road abilities are its defining feature. Even though it will not have the same Trailhawk classification as the Compass this SUV is designed to handle practically any terrain. It has a 203 mm ground clearance, a 20-degree approach angle, and a 22-degree departure angle.

In the Meridian, we did stair climbing, water fording in a depth of 16 inches, steep climbs, near-vertical, a 44-degree angle to be precise, descents, axle benders, and a variety of other off-roading jobs, and it never felt out of its element. In reality, there were just a few times when we needed to employ AWD and the Select Terrain system to overcome the obstacles we faced.

Safety

The Meridian has six airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system, an automatic parking brake, and a hill start assist. However, the Isofix child seat anchors are only found in the second row. Both models come equipped with ISOFIX and 6-airbags, as well as tyre pressure monitoring and a 360-degree camera.

Verdict

The Jeep Meridian emerges as a classic SUV that fills a significant gap between luxury 5-seater SUVs and full-size 7-seater SUVs. The Meridian also benefits from Jeep’s off-roading DNA and its ability to travel anywhere. Fortunately for us, we put Meridian’s off-road abilities to the test and were pleasantly surprised.

The Meridian comes in only two trim levels: Limited and Unlimited, with the latter including a 10-inch infotainment system, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, front ventilated seats, an electric tailgate, a 360-degree camera, and more. The space management for the last row should have been better given the vehicle’s length, but Meridian does offer unrivalled off-and-on-road capabilities in this market. Now we just have to wait and see how Jeep India will price the Meridian.

Also Read: Room for More – Jeep Meridian Revealed

Story by Kurt Morris

 

About the author: Kurt Morris

 

 

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