Just a few days ago, Jeep® Brazil gave us our first peek at its all-new three-row Commander (H1) D-segment SUV. While the new seven-passenger SUV is based on the Compass, it is aimed at giving the brand a true family hauler where vehicles like the three-row Grand Cherokee L might simply be out of reach for many buyers. While it is unlikely that the North American market will be able to obtain one of these new SUVs, Jeep has big plans for the new Commander on a global scale.
Codenamed H6, the new Jeep three-row will use the name “Meridian” once it comes off the assembly line at the Ranjangaon Assembly Plant. The new name was discovered by our good friends at AutoCar India when Jeep filed for the trademark of the Meridian name. So why the different name?
In the Indian market, India-based giant Mahindra held licensing contracts with the Jeep brand for decades to manufacture vehicles for the brand. In fact, Mahindra manufactured a four-door Jeep CJ-based model wearing the Commander’s name. Until recently, Mahindra continued to hold the trademark for the Commander name. This left Jeep the opportunity to snatch the name up. However, Jeep declined, more than likely to avoid any possible association and more potential legal battles with the Indian company.
While we have seen prototypes on the crowded roads of India testing over the past several months, we are now seeing that Stellantis engineers in Europe are now testing the newest Jeep SUV. Parked behind a large concrete and metal fence, the heavily camouflaged Meridian this Meridian prototype was caught by our other good friends at GabetzSPYUnit showing the Meridian’s signature right-hand-drive (RHD) configuration and wearing the same wheels as the Brazilian Overland model.
For India, AutoCar India has discovered that the Meridian will be powered by a 2.0-liter Multijet diesel. But what is unique about this diesel, is that it will incorporate a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. It is expected that the engine will produce around 200 horsepower and will be mated to a ZF-source 9-speed automatic transmission.
While the Brazilian-built model is aimed at the higher market with its Limited and Overland trim levels being the only ones available, we still aren’t quite sure if there will be more choices for the new Meridian. We do know that a second-row bench to offer a seven-passenger seating configuration is standard, but customers will be able to opt for second-row captain’s chairs offering seating for six passengers on the Indian offering.
According to sources close to MoparInsiders.com, the Meridian (H6) will start production in April 2022, while production of the Brazil-built Commander (H1) begins at the end of this month in Brazil.
2022 Jeep® Meridian (H6) Prototype testing in Europe Image Gallery: