The growing affliction in the SUV space can largely be blamed on crossovers trying to be categorized as butch SUVs, full-sized SUVs breaching into the ‘premium SUV’ budget threshold, and some of the so-called premium SUVs not being able to justify either of the two words associated with them. But amidst the disorder, some things don’t change: a Jeep, for instance, will always be looked at as an SUV — something that tackles the unconquered, often venturing into the unknown, and most importantly, it doesn’t become the reason to hold back one’s desire to be different. With the recently announced Meridian, Jeep India is looking to tackle a few issues head-on: the ability to seat more than five people in comfort, compete with rivals old and new, and widen the Jeep India brand’s overall market appeal.
It’s going to be called the Jeep Meridian, named after Meridian 77 which passes through India. The camouflage has motifs depicting various parts of the country through which the said longitude passes. It’s looks a bit busy but then let’s not forget that this is just a token PR bit that allows the brand to showcase the car’s connection with the market, much before talking about the car itself.
The SUV is the Indian version of the new Jeep Commander, and, as one can easily tell by the design, it’s based on the Jeep Compass. While powertrain and final design, features, and interior bits are expected to be different, it’s easy to guess what Jeep is going to offer in the Meridian. The Compass has been received well and is currently the sole volume-focused product in the Indian line-up. With the Meridian, that’s expected to increase.
There’s a huge overlap of segments where the Jeep Meridian is going to be place. So instead of just a handful of rivals, it’ll be positioned against a wide range of SUVs and crossovers. Logically, some would say the Hyundai Alcazar and Tata Safari will be its major competition, but given the Compass’s positioning, it’s likely to compete with the newly reintroduced Skoda Kodiaq and the well-established Toyota Fortuner.
What can buyers expect?
The Jeep Compass is one well-engineered vehicle that handles both on-road and off-road driving well. That’s likely to continue with the Jeep Meridian, given that it’s essentially the same platform but longer and with a longer wheelbase. It’ll be more spacious than the Compass, and the Jeep Meridian will have a largely similar premium-looking cabin.
The Commander doesn’t look disproportionate, and that’s going to be a great draw for the Meridian, too — a strong point considering some of the extended seven-seat versions don’t look good. The engine options are likely to be shared with the Compass — in Brazil, Jeep offers a 4×2 petrol and a 4×4 diesel. In India, the Compass can be specced with either a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol ‘MultiAir’ engine or a 2-litre turbocharged diesel ‘Multijet’, both of which are available with a 6-speed manual or an automatic gearbox.
The Jeep Meridian is scheduled to be launched by mid-2022 and we’ll update the story as more details are made public.
We think you’ll enjoy the brand’s launch video: