Jeep Meridian: Jeep’s Compass-based 7-seater unveiled
It’s finally here – after spotting countless test mules doing the rounds, the Jeep Meridian has finally been unveiled. The Meridian is a 7-seater version of the Jeep Compass SUV and it will be locally assembled in India. Prices for the Meridian are yet to be announced but going by the current pricing of the Compass, it is likely that the Jeep Meridian will be priced around Rs 35 lakh, rivalling the likes of MPVs like the Kia Carnival and SUVs such as the Toyota Fortuner, MG Gloster and Skoda Kodiaq.
Jeep Meridian design
The Jeep Meridian may be a stretched-out Compass but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It continues to look every bit butch and macho as an American SUV, with the iconic Jeep grille up front and muscular lines. You also have a full-width chrome strip up front, along with a two-tone floating roof treatment. And although the Meridian looks similar to the facelifted Compass when viewed head-on, Ralph Giles, chief design officer for Jeep, says that apart from the windshield and the front seat frame, each panel and component on the Meridian is new.
The Meridian gets bi-LED projector headlamps up front and the SUV’s stance is aided by the 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels which are painted in gloss black. The Meridian is also considerably bigger than the Compass, with the overall length going up by 364mm to 4769mm and the wheelbase is also longer by 158mm to 2794mm, which should address the one of the Compass’ shortcomings – the rear seat space, or the lack of it. Move towards the rear and there are hints of the Grand Cherokee and the Wagoneer in the design, and the Meridian gets slim LED tail lamps, with a chrome garnish carrying the Jeep logo running between the tail lamps. The Meridian promises to be an imposing sight when it hits our Indian roads.
Jeep Meridian interiors
Pop inside and you’re greeted by the brown leather interiors of the Meridian. Jeep has given the Meridian “stadium” seating, which means that the occupants in the second and third rows will get an unobstructed view of the road ahead. In terms of equipment the Jeep Meridian gets a panoramic sunroof, a 10.1-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charger a 360-degree view camera and multi-zone climate control, which includes a separate auxiliary unit for the second and third row for unhindered cooling. The front seats get 8-way power adjustment. Most Meridian owners would likely be chauffeured around and they’ll be happy to know that the rear doors of the Meridian open 80 degrees for ease of ingress and egress, and that the second and third row of seats can be reclined as well. You only get a middle bench for the second row now but captain seats are expected to be offered on the Meridian soon. Keeping in line with the latest safety mandates, the Meridian also gets six airbags on every variant, along with more than 60 active and passive safety features.
Jeep Meridian engine
The Jeep Meridian will get the same engines as the Compass – both petrol and diesel, but as for now, it will only be launched with the 2-litre diesel engine, mated to either a six-speed manual or a 9-speed dual clutch automatic. This engine makes 168bhp of power and the diesel automatic will also be offered with four-wheel-drive. Jeep claims a 0 to 100kmph time of 10.8 seconds and a top speed of 198kmph for the Meridian, the latter figure being academic since most owners would unlikely push an SUV past the 120kmph legal speed limit.
The Jeep Meridian will be locally assembled in India and it currently is a ‘whitespace’ product, without a direct rival as such at the moment. That said, the Meridian will likely be positioned one rung above the Compass, and given the positioning of the SUV, it is likely that the Meridian will be priced around the Rs 35 lakh mark.