2010 Jeep Commander Review – A Jeep of many talents, but a master of none

Wednesday June 2nd, 2010 at 8:66 AM
Posted by: mash

2010 Jeep Commander Sport 4x4
By Mary Ellen Ash

Yays:

  • Excellent cargo space
  • Average in-class mpg
  • 4×4 off-road capability
  • More utility than a Swiss army knife
  • Lots of television screens

Nays:

  • Poor rear view visibility
  • Very cramped 3rd row seating
  • Flimsy ignition system
  • Anemic engine
  • Cheap, poorly designed interior

Ruling: it’s utilitarian with lots of passenger and cargo space, with average in-class mpg.


2010 Jeep Commander

Jeep was one of the first automakers to see a civilian market for the military-style vehicles post WWII. And as you’d expect, the Commander comes from a long line of Jeeps and is consistent with the Jeep heritage. With design highlights taken from its iconic brother, the Grand Cherokee, and an added 3rd row of seating, the Commander is one of the largest Jeeps in production history. Also grabbing some styling cues from the more classy Hummer and Range Rover lines, the Commander’s exterior style has some added prestige. With its menacing size, it is one of the larger vehicles on the road today.

Build and Styling

The Commander comes from a long line of Jeep models and was designed to look and act as a utilitarian vehicle. It is instantly recognized as a Jeep with many design cues transcending from its brethren – the grille, the square-ish surfaces, the wheel openings and its headlamp module. For 2010, the Commander build was based on the Grand Cherokee, but is longer and taller offering a 3rd row for additional seating or for cargo space. Both the 2nd and 3rd row seats can be folded into a flat loading floor. It’s very versatile since all the rear seats can be arranged in any way for the most practical way to transport gear and people.

The Commander also comes with Jeep’s 3-year/36,000 basic limited warranty and 5-year/100,000 powertrain warranty attests to the company’s increase in build quality over the years. Also, it is engineered to include some great safety features (including side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring system, and anti-lock brakes). Pair that with good crash ratings (5-star front and 3-star roll over), the Commander will be able to take the routine fender-benders and keep on trucking without a problem.

2010 Jeep Commander

Both the interior and exterior styling is definitely skewed towards a utilitarian palate with a quasi-military look sprinkled throughout the car. The exterior is immediately recognizable, it is essentially a larger version of Jeep’s famous Grand Cherokee which hasn’t changed much in almost 20 years. Then there is the Commander’s overall size; it’s absolutely menacing, easily being one of the largest vehicles on the road. Its tall, box-like shape along with the overhead sun roof added a lot of cabin space. For my petite stature, I definitely exuded the small-chick-in-a-big-car syndrome. Though, it had quite a presence as it lumbered down the roads – it was quite fun to see other cars and children flee in terror.

Something unexpected was the ignition key. It had the standard remote keyless entry, but the flimsy plastic was also the ignition key. Jeep was trying to be different by straying from the regular metal key and instead used a plastic key ‘stub’. The driver still has to put the ‘stub’ into its port and then turn it like any other key. Its questionable reliability could be an in issue over time and use. Perhaps an upgrade to a push-button ignition is in the future.

Jeep Commander interior

For my personal tastes though, I found the Commander styling a tad too dated and excessive. While getting to know the Commander, I couldn’t overcome the sensation of the cheapness throughout. From the hard plastic surfaces, the incongruent designed interior, to the uninspired exterior, it felt like a car which didn’t have much love put into it. And I wouldn’t expect the Commander to give back much love either. I guess I’m just not military cool.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics

The inside of the Commander was loaded with more “rugged” or as I like to call them “extremely cheap” materials. It would be more likely to find such plastics used in children’s toys let alone a vehicle with a price tag close to $40,000. The dashboard “rugged” materials were made of a tough rubbery plastic with faux-wood highlights and cheap plastics made to look like aluminum. It also included some exposed screws for a little military-like Jeep flair. Everything was so square.

There were some aspects that were appreciated. All the seats were wrapped in some nice, robust leathers which were comfy and soft. The front driver seats came equipped with 8-way power adjustments and with the optional heated seats, any road trip could be customized for ultimate comfort – now if only there was a sound-proof panel to block the noise from the back-seat passengers.

Jeep Commander front seats

Also nice was the driving console on the leather wrapped steering wheel – it was minimal and with a little practice, the subtlety of the features began to stand out. For instance, the steering wheel radio volume and preset buttons were found behind the wheel at 3 and 9-o’clock, completely obscured from view.

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