Car Reviews

2022 Jeep Meridian evaluation, check drive | Autocar India

Written by Meera

The 7-seat Jeep Meridian is focused at households on the lookout for extra space and adaptability, while retaining the Jeep DNA.

The timing couldn’t be higher. The Jeep Meridian arrives because the 7-seater class is seeing contemporary motion throughout a number of segments and shortly after the exit of the Ford Endeavour, which has opened a small however essential hole for the Meridian to fill. However most significantly, the Meridian is Jeep’s second mainstream mannequin in India. Till now, the Compass, launched means again in 2017, was the only real pillar of Jeep in India on whose shoulders hinged the fortunes of the corporate. Area of interest fashions just like the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee are good for picture, however Jeep wanted one other quantity mannequin to achieve important mass within the quick evolving and rising Indian SUV market. So, will the Meridian click on just like the Compass did over 5 years in the past and take among the weight off its shoulders? That the Meridian is predicated on the Compass is an effective start line, however how effectively can it do to compete in opposition to the swell of different three-row SUVs which have hit the market at a number of worth factors up to now few years?

Jeep Meridian: exterior

With the Meridian, Jeep hasn’t merely bolted on an extended tail part to make a three-row variant out of the Compass, however creditably has re-modelled your entire automotive with a considerably longer wheelbase and new physique panels. The Meridian is 4,769mm lengthy, which is an effective 364mm greater than the Compass. A variety of that size comes from an prolonged wheelbase, which is a sizeable 2,782mm – 146mm greater than the Compass. The truth is, the Meridian’s wheelbase is the longest in its class, a tad greater than even the Fortuner. And it’s the lengthy wheelbase, together with the comparatively quick entrance and rear overhangs (important for a Jeep’s off-road functionality) that give the Meridian fantastically balanced proportions. The truth is, the Meridian is extra Grand Cherokee-like than a stretched Compass, and that’s right down to the wealthy detailing all spherical.

A very good serving to of chrome operating alongside the underside of the acquainted seven-slot grille and the highest of the slim headlights properly units the Meridian aside because the Compass’ larger brother. The 2-tone roof with a blackened D-pillar and a chrome encompass above the doorways that properly highlights the silhouette look very upmarket too, as does the slim rear tail-light clusters which might be neatly built-in with the chrome strip. The Meridian’s sensible set of 18-inch alloys and chunky 235/55 R18 tyres add to the street presence. The Compass was a handsome automotive, and the Meridian appears to be like even higher. And appears on this phase is half the battle gained.

Jeep Meridian: inside

The dashboard is just about the identical because the Compass and that’s not essentially a foul factor, as a result of the Compass itself acquired a significant improve to the inside in 2021. The standard of supplies, the stable door handles and chrome finishes, all exude an upmarket really feel. Nevertheless, a little bit bit extra differentiation, aside from the two-tone, brown and black color scheme (the Compass is all black) and the otherwise stitched seats, would have been welcome. Additionally, among the plastics decrease down within the cabin and the seat base really feel a bit onerous and glossy, which stand out in opposition to the brown seat trim.

The all-digital dashboard is carried over from the Compass too, so that you get a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with a number of shows, a 10.1-inch infotainment system that has wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 360-degree digital camera that’s crisp and sharp as ever, and one of many higher interfaces round.

There’s wi-fi charging, driving modes, USB Kind C and USB Kind A ports, and a panoramic sunroof, which luggage all of the must-have options that SUV house owners need. Nevertheless, given the place the Meridian will sit within the SUV market, a couple of extra gizmos would have been so as. There are not any entrance parking sensors, ventilated seats, or any ADAS options like adaptive cruise management, lane departure warning, which the XUV700 and Gloster have made the norm. When it comes to practicality, there’s sufficient house to retailer your stuff on lengthy journeys, however the door pockets are a bit shallow to carry a 1.0-litre water bottle.

It’s while you transfer to the center row that you would be able to really feel the change. Although legroom is just like the Compass and the width is only a tad extra, because of the slimmer door pockets (no place for large bottles right here both), the seats are a giant enchancment. For one, you sit a lot larger than within the Compass, so mechanically under-thigh assist improves, which is additional enhanced by the reprofiled seats which have a bigger squab.

The excessive seating place and the big window makes it simpler to look out, and this enhanced visibility is at all times welcome on lengthy drives, as are the reclinable seat backs. Nevertheless, in contrast to different 7-seaters, the center row doesn’t slide, which is a disgrace as a result of this might have given some a lot wanted additional legroom. Keep in mind that the Meridian’s rear seat isn’t notably huge, a typical criticism with the Compass, and therefore, travelling three up could be restrictive.

 

The third row is sort of disappointing when you think about the house on supply in different 7-seaters. Positive, the one-touch or one-pull lever that flips and tumbles ahead each sections of the 60:40 rear seat base makes it straightforward to entry the final row, however the low roof forces you to contort a good bit to wiggle inside. You get roof-mounted air-con vents served by a separate blower and evaporator, so staying cool just isn’t an issue. What’s an issue is the general house crunch within the third row. The seats are positioned on the ground and that pushes your knees up and in opposition to the middle-row seat again. You’ll wrestle to search out place in your toes. It’s not a spot the place adults can journey lengthy distances in consolation and is greatest left for youngsters or for baggage.

The Meridian makes a greater case for itself as a 5-seater, with the rearmost seats folded down to supply 481 litres of baggage house. That mentioned, even with the third-row seats in place, there’s sufficient house for a few mushy luggage. A pleasant contact is the powered tailgate, which has the button contained in the cabin and never on the tailgate itself, so that you don’t have to succeed in up excessive to activate it.

Jeep Meridian: engine and efficiency

The Meridian comes with only one engine choice, the identical 170hp, 2.0-litre diesel that powers

the Compass. However in contrast to the latter, the Meridian doesn’t get a petroleum motor and is unlikely to get one quickly. What you do get are a number of transmission choices – the 4×2 will get a 6-speed handbook gearbox, in addition to the 9-speed auto, while the top-of-the-line Restricted 4×4 solely comes with a 9-speed auto, and that’s the one we drove.

A remapped ECU and totally different engine calibration have considerably modified the facility traits of the tried-and-trusted 2.0-litre diesel within the Meridian. The facility supply is extra measured in comparison with the Compass, which feels extra responsive off the road. Jeep engineers say that they’ve opted for a extra linear energy supply within the Meridian for a smoother drive. The fuel-injection timing too is much less abrupt, which has marginally decreased noise ranges.

The Meridian is a contact quieter than the Compass, however while you rev the engine onerous, the characteristically gravelly, diesel drone is sort of audible. If something, the Meridian’s efficiency feels a bit blunted in comparison with the Compass, a results of the additional 110kg of weight and softer engine calibration. In isolation although, the Meridian doesn’t really feel underpowered within the least. The torquey 350Nm diesel offers you a pleasant tug from low speeds, all the way in which to the 4,500rpm redline. However while the Meridian feels sturdy and has sufficient oomph, it doesn’t really feel notably sporty, and that’s right down to the quite lazy 9-speed gearbox.

Like within the Compass, this 9-speeder is in no hurry to swap cogs and is gradual to react throughout each, downshifts and upshifts. In consequence, the Meridian just isn’t a really sporty or partaking SUV and feels happiest cruising all day lengthy. The Meridian is, in actual fact, a superb freeway automotive, the punchy diesel engine coupled with tall gearing makes lengthy distance drives ever so easy, and the sensible dynamics play greater than a supporting function.

Jeep Meridian: trip and dealing with

The Compass is understood for its trip and dealing with, however the Meridian takes it as much as an altogether totally different degree. Stability on any floor is just phenomenal and the way in which the Meridian flattens any street is astonishing. You actually don’t have to fret about damaged roads, or flinch while you hit a pothole or are pressured off a slender street by an oncoming truck. The Meridian’s beefy impartial suspension, which comes with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) and Hydraulic Rebound Stoppers (HRS), simply soaks it up. 

There’s an underlying firmness to the trip, which isn’t buttery mushy, however in contrast to the Compass, which had a tough edge, the Meridian’s suspension set-up has extra compliance. Additionally, the Meridian has much less vertical motion than the shorter-wheelbase Compass, and therefore, passengers too really feel extra settled.

The arrogance the Meridian offers you although corners is superb too. There’s minimal physique roll, the steering is correct with numerous really feel, and the large Jeep resolutely holds its line. The brakes too are progressive and it’s the predictability of the Meridian, the truth that it gained’t behave erratically or throw up any surprises when the street floor instantly adjustments, that basically wins your coronary heart. There’s merely no different SUV on this class or perhaps a phase above and beneath that rides and handles with such aplomb.

If the Meridian is a category act on street, then off-road it’s the star of the present. A perfectly curated off-road observe outdoors Chandigarh was an important alternative to check the Meridian’s 4×4 capabilities. Whether or not it was crawling up steps, see-sawing over ‘axle breakers,’ scrabbling up and down steep slopes, wading via water troughs or elevating an articulated wheel like a canine attempting to mark its territory, the Meridian did all of it with out breaking right into a sweat. I didn’t even want to pick out ‘4×4 low’! You get a number of drive modes (Sand/Mud, Snow and Auto) however most house owners will keep on with the default Auto setting, which maximises traction mechanically relying on the floor you’re driving on.

The Meridian is a Jeep first and an SUV subsequent, which implies it has to have all of the 4×4 {hardware} that lives as much as the model’s legacy. Not that house owners will use it, nevertheless it’s a little bit of insurance coverage in your again pocket, so it’s good to know what the Meridian is able to.

Jeep Meridian: do you have to purchase one?

The Meridian is a extremely succesful SUV whose mix of on-road and off-road dynamics is unmatched. This make it a superb automotive for lengthy distances, regardless of how good or unhealthy the street floor is. Efficiency is enough, however you do want that with a rise in measurement and weight, got here a rise in energy and efficiency. There isn’t a petrol choice both, which might preclude a bit of patrons who’ve moved away from diesel.

The well-built and well-equipped cabin has the added versatility of a 3rd row, however the house on supply doesn’t make it sensible for adults. The promoting level of the Meridian is its Jeep DNA. It appears to be like terrific and has a pleasant, robust really feel. And if you wish to play mountain goat, it simply can. What’s additionally spectacular is how good a metropolis slicker the Meridian is. It’s straightforward to punt round slender roads and doesn’t really feel cumbersome just like the Fortuner.

Obtainable in two variants, Restricted and Restricted (O), The Meridian, which has no direct competitors given its distinctive set of abilities, has the makings of a winner, nevertheless it ought to be priced proper – the way in which Compass was – to style the identical preliminary success. The value vary doing the rounds in dealerships is Rs 30 lakh-35 lakh. Let’s hope Jeep surprises us with a killer worth when bookings open this week.

and chunky 235/55 R18 tyres 

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Meera