Jeep is on a quest to strengthen its India lineup and has already given the Compass a facelift and introduced the locally built Wrangler to that end.

The carmaker is expected to unveil a three-row Jeep SUV in 2022, according to reports. Roland Bouchara, CEO and MD of parent company Stellantis India, has now verified that the model’s introduction is on track. “We’re planning to launch a key UV [utility vehicle] model with Jeep next year,” he stated in a recent interview with Autocar India, referring to the seven-seat Jeep. According to our sources, Meridian production would begin in April 2022 at Ranjangaon, with a launch date of July 2022.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has pledged to invest more than $250 million (about Rs 1,870 crore) in the production of new models at its joint manufacturing site in Ranjangaon, Pune, by the end of next year, with the Meridian being a crucial addition. “We have to raise Jeep volumes,” said Bouchara, “and that’s what we’re planning to accomplish next year with the new UV.”Notably, India would be the export hub for the future Jeep SUV to other RHD (right-hand drive) markets across the world.

The Jeep Meridian (Commander) SUV

Jeep revealed a new three-row SUV called the Commander for South American markets in August. The Meridian name will be used to market the model in India.

The Meridian SUV, which is based on the same underpinnings as the Compass, has a much wider footprint than its five-seat predecessor to accommodate the third row of seats. A few design elements, like the front grille and window line, establish a link to the Compass. The Commander, on the other hand, is distinguished by its more rectangular headlamps, custom bumper design, longer wheelbase and rear overhang, upright tailgate, and smaller taillamps.

Jeep has previously stated that, despite its larger size, the new model stays true to its DNA and has the same level of off-road capability as the brand’s SUVs. The Commander features a horizontally tiered dashboard, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, similar to the Compass. Though the Commander was unveiled with a seven-seat layout for the Brazilian market, the model is slated to be offered in a six-seat format for the Indian market.

Engine and transmission in the Jeep Meridian SUV

In India, the Meridian SUV will be equipped with the Compass’ 2.0-litre diesel engine, which will be upgraded from 173 horsepower to roughly 200 horsepower. The Meridian is also anticipated to gain a 48V mild-hybrid system, as we previously reported. The transmission will be a 9-speed automatic, and power will be transmitted to all four wheels.

Price and competition

The Meridian is expected to attract a significant premium over the Compass, which is priced between Rs 17.29 lakh to Rs 28.84 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Other three-row, monocoque-bodied SUVs that will compete with the Jeep include the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and the impending petrol Skoda Kodiaq.

With a diesel engine, though, it might compete with body-on-frame SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner and MG Gloster.

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