Jeep has finally done it. A 7 passenger trail rated Jeep is now available at a dealer near you. Long a maker of manly SUVs, the Commander holds true to form as it can easily be taken off road as well as down the highway. Unlike more pedestrian models, the Commander looks every bit the rugged vehicle that it is. For Jeep fans who need the extra room the Commander offers space not available in any Jeep since the Wagoneer was retired a generation ago. Lets take a look at the 2006 Jeep Commander, the focus of this review.
So, why build a seven passenger Jeep? To give customers a choice, thats why. With existing models able to carry only five passengers or less, the Commander meets the demand for a larger model. Instead of losing sales to GM or Ford, Jeep is now able to offer a vehicle that will keep customers from leaving for bigger and roomier models.
The Commander looks a lot like the Cherokee, which was retired in 2001 after an 18 year run. The boxy Cherokee was a favorite with many and the Commander successfully incorporates the Cherokees look and body style.
As it is, the Commander is not a huge beast. At just two inches longer than the Gran Cherokee, the Commander makes use of available space without adding a tremendous amount of bulk.
Key features of the Commander include:
3 engine choices: a 3.7-Liter V6; 4.7-Liter V8 MPI; 5.7-Liter HEMI® Multi-Displacement
2 transmission choices: a pair of five speed automatics
3 four wheel drive systems
Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
3 Sound Systems: AM/FM Stereo with CD Player and Changer Controls; an AM/FM Stereo Radio w/In-Dash 6-Disc CD/MP3 Player; or a DVD-based GPS Navigation System with 6-CD/MP3 Changer
Leather trimmed or bucket seats
Supplemental Side Curtain Air Bags In All Rows
The usual accouterments including air conditioning, bucket seats, power everything, etc.
Jeep gives owners the option of owning a traditional rear wheel drive Commander or 4×4 models. Base price for the entry level Commander starts at just over $28,000 while the fully loaded Commander Limited retails at just under forty thousand. Prices for the Commander are on par with those in its class.
I like what Jeep has done with the Commander and think that you will too. I am, however, holding my breathe as Jeep prepares to introduce its first non-trail rated model [sacrilege] next year; in the meantime the Commander carries on the Jeep tradition with much distinction and aplomb.