They’re plush, seat seven and might drive over every thing of their approach. However is Jeep’s new Meridian a greater wager than the legendary Toyota Fortuner?
Many got here, many noticed and plenty of conquered it compared assessments too, however none may ever break the Toyota Fortuner’s dominance on the gross sales charts. Famously the SUV of alternative for highly effective politicians nationwide (in any color, so long as it’s white), there’s little doubt its towering proportions and intimidating highway presence are an enormous a part of its enchantment, the opposite being Toyota’s rock-solid reliability. Accompanying this hovering recognition are hovering costs, in addition to new competitors, however none have taken the wind out of its gross sales. In reality, the departure of its rival-in-chief, the Ford Endeavour, has solely diverted extra demand in the direction of it.
Now, in comes a brand new challenger to try to take the large man down. The Jeep Meridian could not match up on sheer dimension and energy, however of their place is a great deal of tech and a extra trendy method to only about every thing. Oh, and it’s a Jeep, so it’s certain to be good off the highway too. Greater than any of that, it makes for a vastly higher worth proposition; actually, for lower than the worth of the Fortuner Legender 4×2 AT now we have right here, you may get a totally loaded, higher outfitted, top-spec Meridian AT with 4WD.
|Jeep Meridian Restricted (O) 4×4||Toyota Fortuner Legender 4×2|
|Suspension (f/r)||Unbiased, MacPherson struts coil springs and FSD/ Non-independent, multi-link with FSD and anti-roll bar||Unbiased, MacPherson struts coil springs/ Non-independent, multi-link with anti-roll bar|
|Engine||4 cyls, 1956cc, turbo-diesel||4 cyls, 2755cc, turbo-diesel|
|Energy||170hp at 3750rpm||204hp at 3000-3400rpm|
|Torque||350Nm at 1750-2500rpm||500Nm at 1600-2800rpm|
|Gearbox||9-speed auto||6-speed auto|
READY FOR ATTACK
There’s little doubt the Legender has the sting on the subject of sheer highway presence. That mentioned, whenever you park them facet by facet, you realise the Meridian isn’t as a lot smaller as you thought it was. It’s solely 26mm down on size, and is definitely 4mm wider, and has a wheelbase that’s 37mm longer! It’s the Toyota’s large 137mm peak benefit that makes all of the distinction!
There’s quite a lot of enchantment within the Jeep’s squared-off styling too. The hyperlink to the larger Grand Cherokee can be appreciated, as will the liberal use of chrome, which is a premium contact that consumers on this phase adore. The Legender, in the meantime, foregoes this for sporty black bits, which have their very own distinct enchantment, and provides its personal bling issue with a bolder set of LED headlamps in comparison with the common Fortuner.
Over to the facet, the extra angular design of the Meridian and general stance is decrease than that of the high-riding Legender, giving the Jeep a extra composed look. The extra muscular Legender has some good particulars, like a kink within the C-pillar, and whereas each get 18-inch wheels, the Toyota has the broader and chunkier tyres, beefing up the look. On the rear, the smooth LED tail-lamps on each SUVs look sharp, together with their angular bumpers, and once more, it’s the Jeep’s better use of chrome that offers it the classier look.
ARMS AND AMMUNITION
Meridian’s inside design, high quality feels worthy of the worth.
On the within is the place the jarring variations turn into rather less subjective. The place the Meridian seems refined and opulent, the Legender feels outdated and dated. The Meridian can satisfaction itself on its leatherette-layered dashboard, loads of soft-touch supplies and brilliant upholstery. The twin-tone end seems recent and the general structure is smart-looking as effectively.
The Meridian’s dual-pane sunroof is a giant plus.
The Jeep additionally will get a big 10.1-inch touchscreen that’s slick to make use of and crams in a bunch of options and performance. The ventilated seats may be adjusted from right here, it will get wi-fi Apple and Android connectivity, and in addition dual-zone local weather management. The instrument cluster is all-digital too, which wins it much more premium factors. The seats are powered and high quality is top-notch, with an air of desirability in every single place you look. The nine-speaker Alpine system is sweet too and the panoramic sunroof elevates your entire cabin atmosphere by a couple of notches.
Jeep Meridian’s digital cluster seems sharp and futuristic.
The Legender’s inside, alternatively, already felt behind the instances and easily doesn’t lower it in 2022. Whereas the construct is stable and it feels prefer it may survive an apocalypse, it simply doesn’t really feel wealthy or plush sufficient for an SUV priced over Rs 40 lakh. The darkish upholstery ought to be simple to take care of, but it surely does make the cabin really feel cramped.
Inside reveals its age on Fortuner. Darkish supplies and fabric rob sense of area.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen is smaller than the Jeep’s, and is a bit too fundamental in its appear and feel. And whereas it does get wi-fi charging and ventilated entrance seats, there may be solely wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The instrument cluster is analogue and, crucially, there isn’t a sunroof on provide. Each SUVs additionally get linked tech with their respective apps so that you get geofencing, location monitoring, accident alerts, in addition to driving information, in your smartphone. For security, the Jeep will get six airbags, which is one lower than the Legender, and a 360-degree digital camera, versus the usual rear-view unit on the Toyota.
(Left) Second row of seats are comfortable and the panoramic sunroof makes it airier. (Proper) Non-adjustable center row ends in an uncomfortable third row in Meridian.
The Jeep’s second row is a pleasant place to be. Seat cushioning is supple, the home windows are giant and, after all, the panoramic sunroof helps with airiness. You’ll be able to recline the backrest, however solely by a bit. A key benefit the Legender has is its sliding second row, permitting taller passengers to essentially stretch out when there’s nobody sat behind them. Sure, you do miss a sunroof, however you’re sat greater up, which supplies a greater, stadium-style view ahead, after which there’s the roof mounted AC, which feels more practical on a sizzling day.
(Left) Theatre-like seating place offers an excellent view out, however sunroof is missed. (Proper) Legroom within the Fortuner may be prolonged by sliding center row forward.
Now, as is the case with most 7-seaters, the final row is seldom used, however for what it’s price, it’s the Legender that takes the lead right here. That adjustable center row actually helps, letting you liberate usable area for last-row occupants. House within the Meridian’s third row is suitable in isolation, however only for youngsters, and easily isn’t as a lot as within the Toyota. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re prioritising baggage over seating, the flat-folding final row of the Meridian is less complicated to function and yields extra usable area, whereas the cumbersome, upwards-folding seats within the Legender eat into the boot.
|Jeep Meridian Restricted (O) 4×4||Toyota Fortuner Legender 4×2|
|Apple CarPlay/Android Auto||Wi-fi||Obtainable|
|Related automobile tech||Obtainable||Obtainable|
|Wi-fi cellphone charger||Obtainable||Obtainable|
|Ventilated entrance seats||Obtainable||Obtainable|
|Digital instrument cluster||Obtainable||NA|
|Keyless entry & go||Obtainable||Obtainable|
|Auto local weather management||Twin zone||Obtainable|
|Powered driver’s seat||Obtainable||Obtainable|
|Sliding center row||NA||Obtainable|
|Digital parking brake||Obtainable||NA|
|Auto-dimming inside mirror||Obtainable||Obtainable|
|Rear-view digital camera||360 diploma||Obtainable|
|Hill begin help||Obtainable||Obtainable|
|ESC & Traction Management||Obtainable||Obtainable|
Highly effective and fast engine on the Fortuner however not essentially the most refined.
On paper, the Legender has a transparent benefit, with an even bigger and extra highly effective engine. The trusty 2.8-litre diesel makes 204hp and 500Nm, which dwarfs the Jeep’s 2.0-litre diesel that places out 170hp and 350Nm. It’s not too shocking, then, that in apply too the Toyota is faster, gapping 100kph in simply 9.9sec to the Meridian’s 12.9sec, and it’s an identical story in kickdown acceleration as effectively.
Meridian’s engine not as fast because the Fortuner however rather more refined.
Off-the-line responses in each are good, with the Fortuner then persevering with to rage forward a bit longer. That’s as a result of its max energy and torque are available in very low down, and there’s not a lot of a prime finish to talk of. The Meridian has a broader powerband and is extra inclined to rev additional, making it really feel a bit extra relaxed in its energy supply. The engine within the Toyota is loud, and refinement is the place the Legender falls behind the Meridian. Within the Jeep, the vibrations are higher contained and the cabin general is quieter.
The Fortuner’s drive modes alter powertrain response.
What aids this refinement is the 9-speed automated gearbox within the Meridian. It isn’t the quickest unit on the market by any means and, actually, is sort of relaxed with its upshifts and downshifts. So, if you happen to stomp on the accelerator, you may be greeted by nothing however the gravelly diesel drone because the Jeep wafts forward leisurely. Relaxed cruising is what the Meridian does finest, and as soon as it will get to ninth gear, the engine is quite a bit calmer. You’ll be able to take management of the gearbox by way of the gear lever, however even then, you may be left wanting for sooner shifts.
Paddle shifters on the Fortuner add driver engagement.
The Legender, alternatively, will get a 6-speed automated that could be a bit faster in its shifts. The shifts are clean too, supplied your inputs are clean, however if you happen to kick down onerous for an overtake, this old-school gearbox takes a second to reply. What’s appreciated, nonetheless, is the provision of responsive paddle shifters, and the Eco, Regular and Sport modes, which the Jeep misses out on.
An important distinction is the chassis that underpin these two SUVs. In contrast to the Legender which sits on a extra conventional body-on-frame structure, the Meridian’s monocoque chassis ends in a way more refined journey, particularly at low to medium speeds. The place the Legender is hard-edged over bumps, with quite a lot of shock felt by means of the heavy hydraulic steering, the Jeep is supple. Damaged patches and bumps are dampened within the Jeep and bounced over within the Legender.
Each SUVs are at their comfiest over lengthy drives.
Nonetheless, as you go sooner, the ladder-frame Legender begins to shine. While you merely hammer over them at speeds, these jarring bumps get absorbed by the robust suspension, leading to much less physique motion. Admittedly although, for many homeowners, this would be the exception and never the norm, as these SUVs are likely to spend extra time on metropolis roads than anyplace else, and on most roads, the Jeep is the extra snug of the 2. What helps is that it will get frequency selective dampers that supply an excellent mix of journey in addition to dealing with. Its off-road functionality is sweet too, due to a classy all-wheel-drive system with terrain modes.
Each SUVs are from manufacturers which might be pioneers in off-roading, and whereas it isn’t widespread for his or her audience to take them off-roading, it’s the Jeep with its AWD system that has the benefit right here. Positive, if you happen to go for the 4×4 Legender, which might additional enhance the worth hole, it is going to be in a position to tackle related obstacles with ease, however the entire expertise is much more relaxed within the Jeep.
Talking of which, the Meridian, with its gentle and constant steering, can be the higher handler of the 2. Positive, these large boys aren’t meant to carve corners, however when it comes to comfort and luxury, the breezy steering on the Jeep makes the Legender, with its old-school hydraulic steering, really feel like a giant, heavy truck. Course modifications are simpler within the Meridian too, and with a 720kg lighter kerb weight, it’s the nimbler of the 2.
|Jeep Meridian Restricted (O) 4×4||Toyota Fortuner Legender 4×2|
|PERFORMANCE||Acceleration (from relaxation)||Acceleration (from relaxation)|
|ACCELERATION IN GEAR|
If you’re somebody who commutes largely in metropolis visitors, the Meridian can be quite a bit simpler to manoeuvre. Out on the freeway, each SUVs sit comfortably, however but once more, it’s the Meridian that’s the extra composed, with fewer vertical actions. In bends, it sits flat, whereas the Legender, regardless of having ‘pitch and bounce management’ does wallow a good bit. That, after all, will cut back when the automobile is loaded up, however the tall Toyota’s excessive centre of gravity is one thing that may’t be escaped.
There isn’t any denying the rock-solid enchantment of the Toyota Fortuner, to which the Legender solely provides a bit extra aptitude and some extra options. It’s an SUV that allows you to tower over one and all, with a mighty engine and strong suspension that allow you to cost by means of (or over) something the highway can throw at you. And whenever you mix that with the peace of thoughts that Toyota’s well-known reliability offers you, it actually appears like a sound funding you don’t should suppose twice about. However all of the reliability on the planet doesn’t fairly justify the way in which Toyota has inflated costs for its large SUV, and even this 4×2 Legender prices Rs 40.91 lakh (ex-showroom); the usual Fortuner is barely marginally cheaper. Clearly, that hasn’t stopped folks from thronging Toyota showrooms, however that doesn’t make it okay.
|Worth and verdict|
|Jeep Meridian||Toyota Fortuner|
|Variant||Restricted (O) 4×4||Legender 4×2|
|Worth (ex-showroom, Delhi)||Rs 36.95 lakh||Rs 40.91 lakh|
|Verdict||Not as hardy because the Fortuner, however is rather more refined and feels worthy of the worth.||Carries ahead its indestructible enchantment, however inside and cabin really feel outdated and fail to justify excessive worth.|
Particularly since for Rs 36.95 lakh you may have this absolutely loaded AWD Jeep Meridian. Even if you happen to look previous the vastly superior options checklist it presents, there’s loads else that you simply get in your cash. Higher consolation, a extra compliant journey, simpler manoeuvrability, better refinement, superior cabin high quality, and although we haven’t executed a full Autocar take a look at, possible higher gas economic system too. It’s a much more trendy automobile that doesn’t really feel utilitarian just like the pick-up-truck-derived Fortuner, and although it won’t have the versatile third row area, it’s a a lot nicer inside to be in. And whereas the Toyota model stands for reliability, the Jeep model does have a extra premium notion. In the end, the Jeep Meridian isn’t just the higher deal right here, however the higher automobile too.
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