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

While both cars are handsome in their own right, I think the Compass is better looking than the Meridian with its sleeker design and better proportions.

BHPian Ax77 recently shared this with fellow enthusiasts.

The Meridian vs the Compass | 2021 Compass 4×4 SA/T owner’s view of the Meridian.

Compass Owners Comparison Review:

After being bombarded 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 realized that Jeep has indeed moved its compass from magnetic north to geodetic north.

Although there are fingerprints of the compass on the design, the Meridian has its own identity and character. It’s a different SUV! Some of the new design elements, such as the front grille, the sunken hood groove and the worn taillights, add a touch of modernity and are a refreshing departure from the Compass’s five-plus-year-old, but somewhat timeless design. However, I feel the Meridian would have looked better without the chrome accents.

  • Interior: The tan seats and dashboard upholstery exude sophistication. Some thoughtful additions (which I wish were added to the Compass ☹) are: leather padding along the console that touches the left knee, cell phone holder next to the cup holders, and the tailgate stays at the desired angle when opened.
  • Exterior: Snowflake designed alloy wheels look amazing. I felt the 18 inch tires are the right size for the Meridian.
  • Ride and handling: is a notch above the 2021 S Diesel Compass. Having driven both SUVs back to back, I can confidently say that Jeep has automagically tuned the Meridian’s gears for the better. The Meridian’s engine is understated, with enough muscle to pull the extra size and curb weight, while feeling noticeably more nimble than the Compass.
  • Better NVH: The cabin is noticeably quieter than the Compass.

Axe77’s Comparison Review:

I have now driven the Compass and Meridian back to back on two occasions. Once with Jeep’s test drive cars and the second time was my friend’s compass and my meridian:

  • The first thing that is obvious 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.
  • Although both have the same engine specifications, I have not found the Meridian to be slower than the Compass in any respect.
  • Ride, handling and suspension characteristics are a hint improved over the Compass.
  • While one may be a derivative of the other, the Meridian has its own distinct look and feel. To call it an elongated compass in its entirety would be to do the Meridian a disservice (although even I have used that phrase in a limited context).
  • The interior definitely feels a little nicer, thanks to the extra room inside and the choice of colors.
  • Some nice interior touches that I’ve covered elsewhere are the center storage niche that holds a phone and the side trim in the center console where you can rest your 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 improve passenger comfort for three in the 2nd row.
  • While both cars are handsome in their own right, I think the Compass is better looking with its sleek design and better proportions. The chrome overkill on the Meridian only further enhances this in favor of the Compass.
  • The Meridian clearly enjoys higher ground clearance as well. Handy for an SUV.

Overall, there’s no doubt that the Meridian improves on the Compass in many important areas. It’s just that in terms of segment and price differentiation, that difference isn’t worth the 8L difference in terms of on-road price. At best a 3/3.5L difference between the two would be justified in my opinion. This is especially relevant given that the compass itself is overpriced to begin with.

Comparison via pictures:

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

A comparison of the length of the two cars. Note the effect of the chrome of the Meridian against the gray bits of the compass. Even the “Meridian” tag on the front door is in chrome where the Compass lettering is in grey. The discreet gray contrast looks so much more elegant.

Both models have great alloy designs – I liked the Meridian models a bit more though.

Check out BHPian’s comments for more insight and information.

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