Jeep Meridian 4X4 First Drive Review: A fun to drive 7-seater SUV

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Jeep Meridian 4X4 First Drive Review: A fun to drive 7-seater SUV
Jeep Meridian 4X4 First Drive Review: A fun to drive 7-seater SUV

Jeep’s India innings so far has mainly been around the Compass but now the next big chapter for the company is the Meridian. It is a 7-seater three row SUV, which is designed to be a premium option over some other SUVs at this price point. It is even more than the 7 seater Compass as their exterior design is much less similar. Though, there are square wheel arches but it is part of a traditional Jeep design. Apart from this, the Jeep Meridian is all new with a new 7 slot grille and wider headlamps. When viewed face to face, it looks tough and looks different from the compass. It is 4769 mm long, which is visible when viewed from the side while the 18-inch alloy wheels seem too big for the body of the SUV. We feel that the design from the rear is similar to the bigger Jeep SUVs sold in the US market. Chrome has been used well while the wide tail-lamps along with the dual-tone roof provide a good sense of width. It looks attractive and one can say that it is a perfect ‘big’ SUV.

Its interior gives a tough feel just like the Compass. The interior of the Meridian, unlike the exterior design, matches the compass but that’s not a bad thing, right? It is fully equipped with features and feels premium. The soft leather inserts on the dash board are luxurious while the door pads/quilted leather seats look and feel good. It has perforated leather seats, which are also cool. The SUV gets a digital instrument cluster along with a 10.1-inch touchscreen. The touchscreen has a fast enough interface and good tactile response. There is also a 360 degree camera. Talking about other features, it includes auto hand brake, two panoramic sunroofs, wireless charging, wireless smartphone connectivity, multi-zone climate control, powered lift gate, tire pressure monitoring system, 6 airbags etc.

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The big question is, is it spatial? Yes it is. The long wheelbase means that there is good legroom for the second row. However, I feel there should have been more adjustability. The headroom is good while the Thai support/width is actually better than some other 7-seater SUVs at this price point. However, the sunroof reduces the headroom a bit. On the other hand, the third row has easy access with one touch tumble operation but it is not very spacious and can only be suitable for kids. This folding third row seats creates a lot of storage space.

We drove the Meridian 4×4 variant. It gets the option of 6-speed manual and 9-speed automatic transmission but the engine is only available with the 2.0-litre diesel, which generates 170 Bhp power and 350 Nm torque. The stats remind you of the Compass but it’s a very nice engine, as well as the 9-speed automatic is quite quick in terms of gear shifts, while the paddle shifters are not. The engine is powerful but makes a bit of noise on hard acceleration but the strong torque makes it easier to drive at higher speeds. In terms of city, we liked that the Meridian is much easier to operate than its rivals. It looks smaller and sportier. The steering is also not too heavy, but is better suited for offroading or high speed use on the highway. The Meridian offers great ride and handling. It is a fun SUV to drive and comes with suspension suitable for our roads. We did mild off-roading with it. It looked very impressive for 4×4 with the usual Selec Terrain System. The all-season tires offer ample grip in tough conditions and the electronics to help you navigate tough off-road terrains.

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Overall, the Jeep Meridian is more than the 7 seater Compass. Its performance shows this. It looks tough, is well built and is feature packed. Its driving impressed us the most. If priced right, the Meridian has the potential to become a popular choice as a large 7-seater SUV that is also fun to drive.

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