Jeep® has officially unveiled its all-new Meridian D-SUV for the Indian marketplace. Due to arrive in dealers in May, the Meridian (H6) is essentially a clone of the Brazilian-built Commander (H1). However, there are a few differences. The Meridian offers India, its first three-row Jeep option while serving as a premium offering in the D-SUV segment.
The exterior of the Meridian is virtually identical to the Commander, pulling design elements from other Jeep vehicles like the Grand Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer.
“Except the windshield, front seat frame, and maybe a small part of the instrument panel, everything else on the Meridian is unique (in relation to the Compass). We’ve given a lot of consideration to widen the vehicle, the front doors are custom, and the whole rear architecture is completely unique, as is the entire front end,” commented Head of Stellantis Design, Ralph Gilles.
Mr. Gilles went on to say that the India-spec Meridian also features different headlamps (projector style) front bumper (lower fascia underneath the lower grille is much different), and wheel designs than the Brazilian-built Commander.
Although it pulled the covers off of the new Meridian, Jeep India did not release a lot of details about the new SUV. But thanks to the Brazilian-market Commander, we do know a lot about dimensions and powertrain specifications.
While being based on a stretched version of the Compass’ Small-Wide LWB 4×4 architecture, interior space is not lacking in the new Meridian. There are three rows of seats, seven seats in total, and one of the largest rear cargo spaces in the category with 1,760 liters (62.15 cubic feet) with the seats down, 661 liters (23.3 cubic feet) with the five-passenger configuration, and 233 liters (7.8 cubic feet) with all seven seats up – the largest volume with seven passengers for the segment. In addition, the model also has a surprising storage space of 31 liters of volume.
Very versatile, the Meridian allows the seats to be folded in eight different ways, leading to an easy and intuitive extension of the vehicle’s load span. Furthermore, it is not only the first row that brings maximum comfort and practicality. The second row has a longitudinal displacement of up to 14 cm (5.5 inches), allowing you to choose between greater legroom also for passengers in the middle row or choose to increase the trunk even further.
Sharing a dashboard design with the Compass, there is a hydrographic decorative film with a metallic finish, which varies according to the tone of the interior with a vertical brush with copper chrome, a silver metal brush with chrome, and even a vertical brush with satin chrome.
When it comes to technology, the Commander takes a lot of the refreshed Compass’ goodies and repackages it into the new D-segment SUV. There is the customizable 10.25-inch Full Digital cluster and 10.1-inch Full HD Uconnect 5 touchscreen media center with built-in navigation and mirroring for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wirelessly. It also has smartphone charging, place the device on the indicated part of the center console and the wireless charging capable device will fast charge. However, in case other passengers want to do the wired charging, there are USB ports in the three rows of seats.
Items like dual-zone climate control, electronic stability control (ESC), both hill-start and descent controls, 360-degree camaea, and “Select-Terrain” modes (Sand/Mud, Snow, and Auto). There also the additional in a powered tailgate and a Alpine premium audio system with 9-speakers and subwoofer.
Unlike the Commander, there is no “Jeep 1941” text on the armrest on top of the center console for the Meridian.
The Meridian will only be available in a seven passenger configuration, thanks to a second-row bench seat. An optional second-row with bucket seats has been hinted at, but not confirmed. “We want to keep some things to surprise you a little later. So, no predictions as to when it’s coming in, but yes, it is in our thoughts,” said Partha Datta, Head of Engineering, Design, and R&D of Stellantis India & Asia Pacific (IAP) when questioned about the option of second-row captain chairs.
Under the hood of the Indian-built Jeep Meridian, is one powertrain: the 2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-four-cylinder known as the Multijet II or “TD380”. While Jeep India has yet to announce any horsepower or torque numbers, the same engine is fitted to the Commander in Brazil. In the Commander, the turbodiesel produces 168 horsepower (125 kW) and 280 lb.-ft. (380 N⋅m).
Unlike the Commander, the Meridian turbodiesel will be fitted with both manual and automatic transmissions, as well as, a front-wheel-drive (FWD) and four-wheel-drive (4×4). Those Meridians that are fitted with FWD will come with a 6-speed C635 manual transmission. For 4×4 models, a ZF-sourced 9-speed 948TE automatic transmission will be standard equipment.
There is no word, just yet, if a gasoline option will be available for the Meridian.
Engineered to be Right-Hand-Drive (RHD) for the Indian market, the Meridian will be manufactured at the Ranjangaon Assembly Plant near Pune. The plant will also serve as a global export hub for the Meridian (aka Commander) for various markets in the region.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but some Jeep India dealers have unofficially begun taking deposits for the vehicle. Jeep India is preparing for a comparable sales launch as the Commander did in Brazil.
Production-Spec Jeep® Meridian Limited Image Gallery: