Sunday, June 16, 2024

Jeep Meridian Review, 3000 Km Road Test

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Everyone wants to cash out on the SUV idea since the last decade and it continues in every segment and sphere. Be it the 7 lakh segment or the 80 lakh segment. The Jeep Wagoneer design inspired Meridian is finally here and was mostly reserved for other markets. Yes, this is an entry-level 7-seater Compass to a certain extent but at the same time it is not. We find out to put in over 3000 km to tell you the same while driving various variants and model of the lot.

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On the outside, the first thing is the size. Stubby panels, but long enough to gain serious attention on the road. The front design is similar to the Compass and has the same grill, head lights, DRL and similar bumper is here too, not identical. The C-pillar makes it look like a legitimate younger sibling of the Jeep SUV portfolio. A large bumper on both ends makes the Meridian like a proper Jeep SUV. The build quality on the outside seems and sounds great and it scores high on crash tests like any other Jeep. Overall, the elements on the car, such as lamps, side profile and a well-done front grille make the Meridian stand out and grab attention, unlike any other entry-level SUV in its class which just have size to its advantage. The Meridian is sophisticated and a brut too.

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On the inside, the build and quality are good and the expected expansive feature list has made it to the SUV. The interior has ventilated seats, USB A points, wireless Apple car play and Android Auto, automatic lights and wipers to reversing cameras, front and rear parking sensors, wireless chargers, ambient lighting, and a huge panoramic sunroofs. The sound system is quite good on the Meridian for its size and price. The screen charms you instantly with fonts, graphics, touch response, color and fantastic user layout which makes it life easier and feel premium thanks to large 10-inch size as well. The overland variant with different materials and colors on dashboard with contrast stitching on seats along with quilted pattern seemed like a much better cabin experience than the standard.

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The instrument cluster and the main screen have everything you need via multiple which include a service screen that shows tire pressures to AD blue level. There are connected features to make it easier, safer and convinient to live with the car. Space is just sufficient, with enough shoulder and knee room on offer. Leg and headroom continue to be in good supply but as always it is a strict six-seater and not a spacious MPV like 7/8 seater. The boot space is good enough at 700 litres with the seat downs. Road and wind inside the cabin is well-controlled thanks to excellent insulation all around, giving it the premium feel. Like any other Jeep, it is still a pleasant place to be. The safety kit continues to be high with electronic stability control and seven airbags, Hill Hold Assist, ABS and EBD, Active Brake Assist, etc coming as standard.

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Jeep four-cylinder diesel engines are smooth, free-revving but a bit high on NVH and the one on the Meridian is the same. 2.0l Motor makes 170 BHP and 400 Nm of torque. Low and mid-range are good on the motor. All this is going through a semi-fast-shifting, smooth 9-speed automatic. Upshifts are fast, but the downshifts can be slow to react for some drivers. The engine is flexible and powerful at the same time. 0-100 km/hr in 12 seconds is quick. Off-the-line acceleration for a car that looks like a family SUV shoots so fast and ahead that it makes you concentrate harder on the road. Top-end is excellent when the turbo kicks. The Meridian has a top speed of above 200 km/hr.

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The engine can cruise at legal speeds and higher than that, quite easily when you want it to. This makes it good enough for city and highway duties and makes driving comfortable. We saw it getting 16 km/l on the highway and 10 km/l in the city which isn’t that bad for high powered SUV with AWD.

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The ride can feel stiff with big wheels on even and potholes, but once you get going it flattens them out, beautifully. The ride quality continues to be a hallmark in the segment by a long shot. The brakes were good too with great pedal bite and a lot of performance on offer. Body roll is negligible while changing lanes at high speeds and it is still a very confidence-inspiring car to drive at any given speed thanks to a steering feedback which is good enough, but not great. The steering can feel heavy at times, but gets light as you start moving. Also, thanks to AWD, pushing this SUV is surprisingly easy. High-speed stability is spot on thanks to the ideal balance of underlying stiffness and compliance from the suspension.

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Jeep Meridian Review, 3000 Km Road Test, Verdict

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Jeep Meridian is an easy recommendation against its peer. If you want a diesel, a non-ladder on frame car that has sorted out handling, sportiness and comfort. Needless to say, it will off-road like a dedicated machine to a large extent. The luxury on the inside, the technology and comfort makes you realize there is only one car in this segment like this. The Jeep Meridian could be better in someways and could be more approachable too. All that could happen as Jeep is planning an onslaught n India with existing and upcoming new products.

Mohit Soni
Mohit Sonihttps://www.thrustzone.com/
NOT A Commander, Director, Editor-In-This/ That, CEO, MD, President, Entrepreneur, etc etc. Just a first employee at Thrust Zone with a team of enthusiasts who love car and motorcycles more than anything else in the world, just like I do. Hashtag blessed

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