2006 Jeep Commander Limited Review
By Laura Heilig-Trexler
New to the Jeep line this year, the Commander appears to be the company’s response to the Hummer, which has grown in popularity despite rising gas costs. Our first impression of this vehicle is that it looks like a cross between the Cherokee and a Hummer that has been tricked out with some nice chrome. While the chrome looks nice, on closer inspection, the fender extensions and chrome bolt heads are plastic. However, the Commander is still an impressive-looking vehicle inside and out that will impress most Jeep aficionados.
We were given the Commander Limited with a light khaki metallic exterior, khaki/graystone interior, and leather trimmed bucket seats. The interior is gorgeous and has doors, a dash and a center console that are accented with chrome and wood. One of our favorite features is the round chrome door handles which resemble bottle openers. The driver and passenger seats are very comfortable with ample leg and head room. One of our passengers, who is rather short, did comment that it was impossible for her to position the headrest on the passenger’s side so that it was at a comfortable angle for her. Visibility was great all around with the exception of the rearview mirror. The third row seats greatly limit what you can see out the rear window, but with these seats folded down that problem is eliminated.
Comfort level in this vehicle fades the further you are away from the driver’s seat. While the Commander claims seating for seven, it is actually only comfortable for five adults. We are assuming the other two they used in their calculations were infants, because no one else could sit comfortably in the third row of seats that has no leg room at all. They are also extremely difficult to get into. The second row of seats, however, does have adequate leg room. Their 40/20/40 arrangement gives them the ability to fold down and tumble forward to give you more cargo room. Both rows of rear seats easily fold down, but this doesn’t help much with practical cargo space because the third row of seats cannot be removed at all.
The standard package for the Commander includes: front advanced multistage airbags, side airbags, ABS, 4-wheel traction control, ParkSense™ rear park assist system, power sunroof, one touch up and down power front windows, tire pressure monitor, AC with rear AC controls, heated power front seats, and power adjustable pedals. The one touch up windows took a little getting used to, but they were very fast and convenient. The placement of the rear climate control buttons for the third row passengers makes them very accessible for children.
The best standard accessories on this vehicle are the ample air vents on the dash, while the worst is the rear window. Each standard area for a vent on the dash is equipped with two fully movable ones, giving much better air flow throughout the vehicle. The rear window opens dangerously fast, and we came close each time we opened it to getting hit in the head. Besides that one problem, the Commander has very thoughtful accessories included with it. We particularly liked that there were plenty of power outlets in the back and ample storage compartments throughout. The front passenger’s seat even has a large useful tray above the glove compartment.
This Limited was loaded with several option packages that added an in-dash 6 disc CD player equipped with SIRIUS satellite radio, a theft deterrent system, a trailer hitch, roof rack, mini trip computer, a DVD entertainment package, and a full map GPS display navigation CD. The audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel for ease of use, and one year of service to Sirius is included when you buy the car. While we found headphones and the navigation CD in the center console, we never tested its capabilities during our road test. The DVD system hides the remote in with the pull-out screen making it less likely to be misplaced. All of these extra gizmos made our drive more luxurious, but they do come at a price.
Our Commander came equipped with an 8 cylinder 4.7L engine which provided ample power for all of our commuting needs and emitted a nice guttural purr on acceleration. We didn’t get to really test the full-time four-wheel drive, but the 5 speed automatic transmission with lockup torque converter in this model responded nicely.
The Purse With the continuous increase of gas prices, a big consideration in purchasing a vehicle has to be fuel economy. Our road test averaged 13.1 MPG on nicely paved back roads, but the sticker claims 15 city/19 highway. Frequently filling a 20.5 gallon tank will definitely put a major dent in anyone’s wallet.
The base model Commander lists for $38,205. The one we tested has a sticker price of $43,525, which includes $1200 for the rear seat entertainment video system, $1200 for the 6CD, full map GPS display navigation radio, $820 for aluminum chrome clad wheels, and over $1300 for other odds-and-ends like the tow hitch, off-road package and the UConnect hands-free communication system. The bottom line is that this is a nice-looking, nicely-equipped vehicle which hands-down is a better choice than the Hummer if you are looking for a status car instead of practicality.
© 2006 The Auto Page Syndicate