The Jeep Meridian for the Indian market has been unveiled in production form, and though the company hasn’t officially given out a date for its launch, we expect the model to be added to Jeep India’s line-up this May. Read on to know more about the design, features and powertrain options of the upcoming three-row SUV.
- Meridian likely to be launched in May
- Will be brought in a seven seat avatar; six-seat version under consideration
- To be a diesel-only model to begin with; petrol version to arrive later
Jeep Meridian: exterior
The Meridian is essentially the India-spec version of the South American Jeep Commander. And though it’s based on the same platform as the five-seat Compass, it sports a design that is differentiated enough to make it stand out. The extended wheelbase, longer rear overhang and a more upright tail section give away the Meridian to be a Jeep packing in a third row of seats.
Moreover, even the styling of the front fascia, including the slim headlamps flanking the seven-slot grille, is more in line with the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. Another design element that seems to be inspired by the larger model is the pair of slim tail lamps, connected by a chrome bar.
“Except the windshield, front seat frame and maybe a small part of the instrument panel, everything else on the Meridian is unique (vis-à-vis the Compass). We’ve given a lot of consideration to widen the vehicle, the front doors are custom, and the whole rear architecture is completely unique, as is the entire front end,” commented Ralph Gilles, chief design officer of Jeep’s parent company Stellantis, in response to a media query.
He further noted that the India-spec Meridian’s headlamps, front bumper and alloy wheel design are different, compared to the Commander three-row SUV.
In terms of dimensions, the Meridian has a considerably larger footprint than the Compass. It is 364mm longer in beam, and has a wheelbase that’s been extended by 146mm. Even the width and height have been increased by 41mm and 48mm, respectively, compared to the two-row Jeep.
|Jeep Meridian vs Compass: dimensions|
|Jeep Meridian (Commander)||Jeep Compass|
|Boot space||233-1760 litres||438 litres|
Jeep Meridian: interior and features
The dashboard layout of the Meridian is similar to the one in the Compass, though it ditches the smaller model’s all-black look for a brown colour scheme. Moreover, the leather upholstery in the Meridian uniquely features a perforated and quilted pattern.
Coming to the creature comforts, equipment that’s been carried forward from the Compass includes powered front seats, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, 10.1-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, six airbags, traction control, ESC, hill-start and descent control, 360-degree parking camera and selectable drive modes (sand/mud, snow and auto).
The three-row SUV additionally packs in a powered tailgate and a 9-speaker audio system by Alpine.
Jeep Meridian: six-seat variant in the offing?
Meridian will be launched with just a seven-seat variant (pictured), to begin with.
For now, Jeep India has showcased just a seven-seater version of the Meridian, with bench-style seating in the middle row. However, the company has hinted that a six-seat iteration could also be in the pipeline.
Commenting on a potential variant with captain seats in the middle row, Partha Datta head of Engineering, Design and R&D, Stellantis IAP said, “We want to keep some things to surprise you a little later. So, no predictions as to when it’s coming in, but yes, it is in our thoughts.”
Jeep Meridian: engine-gearbox
Jeep has revealed that the Meridian will be launched with just a 2.0-litre diesel engine, to begin with. Though the company is yet to give out its power figures, we expect the output to be similar to the Compass’ 170hp and 350Nm. Still, expect the engine to be recalibrated to handle the additional weight of the larger SUV.
Coming to the transmission, Meridian’s diesel mill gets a 6-speed manual with a front-wheel drive (FWD) layout. There’s also a 9-speed torque converter automatic, which, unlike the Compass’ unit, gets FWD as an option, in addition to the all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
Stellantis’ top management refused to comment on the prospect of a petrol offering on the upcoming SUV. However, as we have already reported, inside sources indicate that the Meridian is likely to get a 1.3-litre turbocharged unit further down the line. The engine, which is already used by the company in South America, puts out 187hp and 270Nm – outputs which better the India-spec Compass’ 163hp, 250Nm, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol motor.
|Jeep Meridian vs Compass: engine-gearbox|
|Jeep Meridian||Jeep Compass|
|Fuel type||Diesel||Diesel / Petrol|
|Engine displacement||2.0-litre||2.0-litre / 1.4-litre|
|Engine type||4 cyls, turbocharged||4 cyls, turbocharged|
|Max power||170hp (est.)||170hp at 3750rpm / 163hp at 5500rpm|
|Max torque||350Nm (est.)||350Nm at 1750-2500rpm / 250Nm at 2500-4000rpm|
|Gearbox||6-speed manual, 9-speed torque converter auto||6-speed manual, 9-speed torque converter auto / 6-speed manual, 7-speed DCT auto|
|Drive layout||FWD, AWD||FWD, AWD / AWD|
Jeep Meridian: launch details and rivals
The Jeep Compass is priced at Rs 17.79 lakh-29.34 lakh (ex-showroom, India). The Meridian will be positioned above that in order to rival the likes of the petrol-only Skoda Kodiaq, diesel-only MG Gloster and the Toyota Fortuner.
Notably, Jeep says that it has achieved an 82 percent localisation with its three-row offering.
Moreover, the right-hand drive Meridian will be exclusively manufactured at Jeep’s Ranjangaon factory near Pune, which will also serve as the global export hub for the SUV.
Though Jeep is yet to announce the opening of its order banks, many dealers have unofficially begun taking pre-orders for the SUV, with a booking amount pegged at Rs 50,000.
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