Jeep has officially commenced bookings for the all-new Meridian SUV from May 3. The price announcement and launch is expected in the coming weeks, following which deliveries will commence from the third week of June. Buyers can book the Meridian for a token amount of Rs 50,000 either at Jeep dealerships or on the company's official website.
Jeep has also announced the start of production of the Merdian at its Ranjangaon plant. The SUV shares its underpinnings with the Compass, but has been heavily reworked to accommodate an additional row of seats.
- Jeep Meridian will be powered by sole 170hp diesel engine at launch
- Meridian will be made in India for both domestic sales and exports
- Will be a 7-seater at launch; 6-seater likely to follow later
Jeep Meridian: exterior and interior
Unlike most three-row derivatives of five-seater SUVs, the Meridian is differentiated enough from the Compass to make it stand out. It’s not a mere stretch job as it measures 41mm wider and 48mm taller than the Compass, apart from being 364mm longer in beam, with the wheelbase extended by 146mm.
All body panels on the Meridian are completely new, and overall, the design has a resemblance with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L sold overseas. The longer rear overhang and a more upright tail section give away the Meridian to be packing in a third row of seats.
However, on the inside, the dashboard layout is pretty similar to that of the Compass, although it adopts a new brown colour scheme, compared to the Compass’ all-black interior. Moreover, the leather upholstery in the Meridian uniquely features a perforated and quilted pattern.
While exact variant details are yet to be revealed, the Meridian will be offered in two well-equipped trims. Most features will be carried over from the Compass, including the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.1-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, powered front seats, dual-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, six airbags, traction control, ESC, hill-start and descent control, 360-degree parking camera and selectable drive modes. Additionally, the Meridian will also come with a powered tail gate function.
At launch, the Meridian will be offered only as a 7-seater – with a bench seat for the middle row – and get one-touch tumble down function for access to the third row. A 6-seater variant with captain seats for the middle row is expected to join the line-up later.
Jeep Meridian: powertrain details
The Meridian will be powered by a sole 170hp, 350Nm, 2.0-litre four-cylinder Multijet turbo-diesel engine at launch, which is the same as the one powering the Compass. It will, however, be recalibrated to factor in the Meridian’s larger dimensions and weight.
The engine will come mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic transmission – manual variants will be FWD only, while automatics will also get the option of AWD. Later, as we have previously reported, a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine is also expected to join the line-up.
Jeep Meridian: expected price and rivals
Jeep claims to have achieved 82 percent localisation with the Meridian, and as such, the prices are expected to range between the Rs 35 lakh-38 lakh mark (ex-showroom, India). 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. The monocoque-bodied Meridian’s only logical rival in India would be the Skoda Kodiaq, although for its price and all-wheel drive capabilities, it will also see competition from full-size ladder frame SUVs such as the Toyota Fortuner and MG Gloster.