Jeep Meridian vs Compass: Owners compare 4x4 AT variants side-by-side

While both cars are handsome in their own right, I find the Compass a better looker than the Meridian with its taut design and better proportions.

BHPian Axe77 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The Meridian vs the Compass | 2021 Compass 4x4 S A/T owner’s take on the Meridian.

Compass owner’s comparison review:

Having been blasted with pre-launch images of the Meridian, I was under the impression that Jeep’s new 7-seater would simply be a stretched Compass. After seeing it in the flesh, I realised that Jeep has indeed moved its Compass from magnetic north to geodetic north.

Though there are fingerprints of the Compass on the design, the Meridian has its own identity and character. It is a different SUV! Some of the new design elements, such as the front grill, sunken groove on the bonnet and the slit taillights, add a touch of modernity and are a refreshing departure from the Compass’ five plus year aging, but somewhat timeless design. However, I feel that the Meridian would have looked better without the chrome accents.

  • Interiors: The tan seats and trims on the dash exude sophistication. Some thoughtful additions (which I wish were added to the Compass ☹) are: leather padding alongside the console that touches the left knee, mobile phone holders next to the cup holders and tailgate stops at desired angles when opened.
  • Exterior: The snowflake design alloy wheels look awesome. I felt that the 18″ tires are rightsized for the Meridian.
  • Ride and handling: is a notch above the 2021 S Diesel Compass. Having driven both SUVs back-to-back, I can say with conviction that Jeep has automagically tuned the gears in the Meridian for the better. The Meridian’s engine is unobtrusive, with enough muscle to pull the added size and curb weight, all while making it feel noticeably nimbler than the Compass.
  • Better NVH: The cabin is strikingly quieter than the Compass.

Axe77’s comparison review:

I’ve now driven the Compass and Meridian back to back on two occasions. Once with the test drive cars of Jeep and the other time was my pal’s Compass and my Meridian:

  • The first thing off the bat that’s evident is that the Meridian is smoother to drive than the Compass. I’m not sure what aspect of tuning has achieved this, but this is undoubtedly the case.
  • While both sport the same engine specs, I have not found the Meridian slower than the Compass in any respect.
  • Ride, handling and suspension characteristics are a hint improved over the Compass.
  • While one might be arguably a derivative of the other, the Meridian has its own distinctive look and feel. Calling it an elongated compass in totality would be doing the Meridian a disservice (although even I’ve used that phrase in a limited context).
  • The interiors definitely feel a touch nicer, thanks to the additional room inside and the choice of colors.
  • Some nice internal touches that I’ve covered elsewhere are the niche in the centre storage that can hold a phone and the side cladding in the centre console where one can rest one’s knee.
  • The 2nd row is more comfortable than the Compass, with a little extra width, although the Meridian should ideally have been a hint wider than it is to enhance passenger comfort for three abreast in the 2nd row.
  • While both cars are handsome in their own right, I find the Compass the better looker with its taut design and better proportions. The chrome overkill on the Meridian only enhances this further in favour of the Compass.
  • The Meridian clearly enjoys a higher ground clearance too. Handy for an SUV.

Overall, there is no doubt that the Meridian does improve on the Compass in many important areas. Its just that in terms of segment and price differentiation, that difference is not worth the 8L difference in the asking on road price. At best a 3/3.5L difference between the two would be justifiable in my opinion. This is particularly relevant given that the Compass itself is overpriced to begin with.

Comparison via pictures:

The Compass and Meridian side by side comparo. While the front is reasonably similar, the rear is chalk and cheese. The Meridian is much more Grand Cherokee than Compass when viewed from behind. The Meridian bonnet has a slightly different scoop design than the Compass.

A comparo of the length of the two cars. Note the effect of the Meridian's chrome vs the grey bits of the Compass. Even the “Meridian” tag on the front door is in chrome where the Compass lettering is in grey. The understated grey contrast looks so much more classy.

Both models sport great alloy designs - I liked the Meridian ones a bit more though.

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