The new Meridian is a robust 4x4 SUV that has all the right ingredients. To begin with, you are greeted with what is probably one of the best-recognised grill designs in the world! The seven slats are bold, highlighted with chrome and sit firmly in-between headlights carried over from the now-familiar Jeep Compass.
Additional chrome highlights around the vehicle accentuate the lines and add to the panache and presence of the Meridian. The side profile of the Meridian is squared off towards the rear to allow for headroom of the third-row passengers. As you move to the rear you are greeted with slim tail lamps connected with a chrome highlight, and an internally operated tailgate that opens and shuts at the touch of a button.
When you open the doors of the Jeep Meridian you get to appreciate the sheer size and space on offer. It offers three rows of seating with a comfortable capacity for five adults and two teenagers or younger, and space to spare in the trunk for a couple of carry-on suitcases as well. In case you need extra space to carry extra luggage, the rear seats fold flat offering 480 litres of usable space.
The Meridian gets a host of features including a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, six airbags, 3 zone air conditioning, hill-start and descent control, panoramic sunroof, and selectable drive modes. The infotainment system provides good connectivity with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Added to this package is an incredibly useful 360 degree camera with park view, which is especially helpful during off road conditions.
The 2-litre turbocharged diesel engine delivers 170hp of peak power and 350Nm of peak torque. You do get the choice of the 6-speed manual or the 9-speed automatic transmissions for the 4X2 version, and an automatic-only option for the top-of-the-line 4x4 Meridian. The automatic transmission provides a seamless drive and depending on road conditions and terrain the gear shifts are imperceptible and very intuitive.
Taking it through a robust off-road course curated for the Meridian, you realise that the size, dimensions, ride height and features like the 360-degree camera enable the Meridian to take on unforgiving inclines, hill descents, axel twisters, and even stairs without breaking a sweat and allows the driver to be in complete control.
The Jeep Meridian is packaged beautifully and offers the comfort and space for a large family to get around a city or even go on a long drive across the country. It is a vehicle that impresses on a lot of accounts and is a worthy contender in the growing luxury SUV space.
Jeep Meridian expected price: Rs 35-40 lakh