It’s an open secret that as a country, our obsession with SUVs has more to do with their looks and size than the machines’ capabilities. It’s a moving statement that Big Sahib has come into life and only an SUV can match his social credentials to his level of personal achievement, besides an impractical alternative like an elephant. But among the most popular choices in India, which one has a rear seat worthy of pampering the bottom that’s probably covered by a separate insurance policy?
We’re not considering the Range Rovers of the world here, as those are reserved for those with nearly unlimited financial resources. Courtesy of the yard, it has a penchant for the likes of the Fortuner, and with the Endeavor gone, the only real butcher competition with Toyota is the new Jeep Meridian. The VW Group has alternatives and so does the XUV700! But where the Germans are very polite and courteous, Mahindra’s flagship could have been a potential challenger, only if it had asked for more money.
Now, with its body-on-frame construction, the Fortuner’s floor is already high enough to accommodate a seat that won’t allow the knees to point upward, unless the head pierces the ceiling. be With that, under-thigh support is already out the window. And even if they hire PC Sarkar to do the magic, the articulated body on the chassis will never behave like a monocoque on the road. And this is where the appeal of the Jeep Meridian comes in.
For two days, I spent all of my time in the back seat of the Meridian, as we sometimes drove on tarmac, and mostly on surfaces where only tar marks were left within deep potholes. I wonder if our streets will ever recover from this staph infection. Anyhoo, first of all, let me tell you about this place inside the cabin of the Meridian. I’m 6 feet tall and didn’t have an acre of room above my head and above my knees and feet. However, I never felt the need for more. Being there, I felt comfortable, I felt comfortable. And someone else may feel different, but I’ve always found that it’s not how big the mattress is, but how you feel when you lie down that makes you sleep better.
The window line was at an ideal height, the massive sunroof added warmth, and the central armrest not only let my lazy arm rest, but kept me in place when the driver got too excited and the transmission slowed. Couldn’t keep up. . The Meridian is one of those rare vehicles where someone like me found the under-thigh support to be ideal, along with the backrest angle, which also allows for a few degrees of adjustment. How about seat cushions? You see my bones are quite healthy and no joints break yet. So all I can tell you is that it’s not that soft where yours sinks and leaves a dent after a long ride. It’s not the same as sitting on a public bench at the beach. Ideal, that’s what it is.
So the rear seat inside the Jeep Meridian is comfortable. But its share in the brightness of this place is less than half. Because for the rest of it, it’s the way the Jeep rides and handles. The only other vehicle I can remember in a zip code like Meridian, and one that bowls you over with a magic carpet ride, is the Citroen C5 Aircross. But that’s for a different TG and its unique rear seat arrangement is either brilliant or weird, depending on how you look at it.
The Meridian’s ride is flat and composed when it’s flying at low levels or even when cruising over rough surfaces, and I was surprised that the suspension is separating the cabin from all the trash that the tires have. were going up. It’s just really really nasty stuff that spins you around a bit and even bobbing around is a smooth sideways motion and never vertical. On the tarmac, all passengers are stable as a rock, no matter which corner of the cabin you sit in and the excellent soundproofing is a major contributor to the amount of comfort. The Jeep Meridian excels at masking the effects of speed, a rare quality for a vehicle in this class. Some would say that a body-on-frame vehicle can do a similar or even better demolition job when the roads disappear. But hey, to do that, one needs to load up the cabin, built for the load and a stiffer suspension to settle and work better. On the other hand, with something like the Meridian, it’s a crank and demolish affair, where it doesn’t matter if all the seats are occupied or if it’s just one.
This brings us to some big questions. Is the Jeep Meridian the SUV to buy if you’re in the market for a rugged 7-seater but comfort is on your list? Yes! Does it have the presence and image to inspire someone who is already inspired by something like Fortuner? Yes! Is there a version available where all wheels get engine power so it can tackle your muddy farm track? Yes! If the road is smooth, is the 2WD version available for less? Yes! It’s probably the first time I’ve spent so much time in the backseat of a car (let’s leave aside the Innova and those European luxury barges) and not once did it occur to me that I’d had enough and someone else. Need to stay here and suffer. Why would I use the word suffering? Because I’ve rarely seen motoring journalists who care about the back seat occupants. And even then, if the Jeep Meridian has managed to earn our praise, don’t take our word for it, try it yourself.