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A Toyota Fortuner owner checks out the Jeep Meridian

I see the Meridian as a four seater with good cargo space. The Fortuner has a better third row

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Even though I wasn’t a fan of how Jeep priced the Meridian, I still went ahead and checked out the Meridian a couple of days back. That’s how desperate I am to find a replacement to our 2018 MT Fortuner. The first thing I asked the SA is the price and the feature difference between the compass and the Meridian. He gave me the price and told me the feature set is the same. I asked him what am I getting for the extra 8L I’m paying and he gave me a simple answer. Dimensions are bigger sir . Right, let’s move on to the car.

There’s no way you can compare the road presence of a Fortuner to a Meridian. I feel the Innova and Safari have better road presence than the Meridian. The doors definitely don’t feel as heavy and sturdy as a Fortuner and you don’t have that thud feeling like you get in a Kodiaq. The front is alright, the side profile and rear I’m not a fan. If you’re stretching the car, maybe make it taller or else it’ll look like a MPV. The alloys looks great though. Another thing I like is the dashboard and the front seats. It’s better than the all black interior of the Compass. The seats feel firm and offer good support. The switches/keys are meh. They’re a bit flimsy, same as compass. It’s the rear seats that is a deal breaker to me. It’s just a packaging fail. I’m 6’2 and I cannot sit behind myself. My knees touch the front seats.

There’s very low foot room, which to me is very important. Why haven’t Jeep given us a sliding middle row is beyond me. If you’re thinking I’m too tall to sit comfortably in a middle row, my sub 4m Baleno has acres of space, the Taigun/Kushaq has a lovely backseat where I can stretch my legs (better than the Fortuner tbh). My dad accompanied me and he straight away felt the middle row to be tight and felt long journeys are not doable. Headroom is disappointing as well. I’ll probably end up breaking the panoramic sunroof with my own head if the driver misses a big speed-breaker.  There’s no point in discussing the third row. It’s for 5 year old kids. I see the Meridian as a four seater with good cargo space. Fortuner has a better third row. We’re a tall family, so for us, even our Fortuner is a four seater. I believe the Meridian is an ultra premium car for a couple with young kids.

There was no test drive available. The dealer only got two demo cars. He’s not sure when he can offer one to drive. Five minutes in and he wanted me to book the car. When my dad and I sat in the middle row and the disappointment was clearly evident on our faces, the SA silently slides the front row and says very spacious back seat sir. Hahaa smart SA. The only complaint my friend, who owns the Safari, is that the power is inadequate on full load while driving in the ghats. He needs to use sport mode. We drove to Deomali in Sep, 2021. Four friends in the Safari and two in my Thar. The Safari struggled while driving up the inclines. Not sure how the Compass is with its 9 speed transmission.

Coming to the pricing, in my earlier post in this thread, I compared the Meridians pricing to the Safari. After reading a couple of comments on this thread, I thought maybe it’s unfair to draw up conclusions without seeing the car in flesh. Well, I did and I 100% stand by my initial judgment. The middle row of the Safari is definitely better than the Meridian. A good friend of mine has one and I’ve travelled in the middle row a couple of times. It’s not Taigun good, but it’s certainly better than the Meridian. The third row of the Safari is better as well. I just don’t see where the extra 12L is going if someone chooses the Meridian over the Safari apart from better highway stability, interiors and the Jeep badge. The difference between Harrier and Safari is below 2L. Safari is bigger and has more features than Harrier. The extra price is 100% justified. However, the extra you pay for the Meridian just isn’t. I wish all that extra length went in to making the best middle row in the segment.

My dad had no idea about the Compass and Meridian pricing initially. After I told him the pricing and how the Safari, Harrier and Hector have the very same engine, he just laughed and said I’d rather buy another Fortuner (only if it had better low speed ride, which it unfortunately doesn’t). His wishful thinking is compass should’ve been 30L and Meridian 33-35L. His logic was if it’s the same engine, Jeep certainly has a brand name that can be monetised and it should’ve been priced similar to the Safari and the Meridian 3-4L more. Maybe in some multiverse, that is a reality and Jeep is setting the sale charts on fire, lol. The pricing comparison is strictly a personal opinion and if you think it’s worth the price, then you should go for it.

Meridian is officially off my list. I don’t currently see any other alternative to our Fortuner with a budget of 50L. So, we put our plan to upgrade on hold. RAV4, Innova Hybrid and maybe the next gen Fortuner are the cars that I'm considering and are on my list to watch out for.

Cheers!

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