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

The center console was also well planned out and very intuitive – all the necessary buttons dispersed evenly and not too cluttered. Our test vehicle came with a 6.5 inch touchscreen. The AM/FM/XM radio presets were almost infinite and easy to toggle between either through the console or the steering wheel. And GPS navigation system was spot on – there was no way to be confused by it. And all the navigational views were customizable to the preference of the driver. Once that was set, I was very pleased with the display. A nice additional feature was while driving at night time, the back light of the display screen could also be dimmed. And the whole touch-screen can be ‘blacked out’ after a few screen toggles for those times when simplicity is desired. With tired eyes, this feature can be really handy. The Jeep Commander has the little details covered.

Jeep Commander 2nd row seats

Moving to the rear, unlike the comfortable and supportive front row seats, rear seats were rather upright and cramped. And 2nd row seating had adequate space, but the 3rd row seating and leg-room space was next to nil. For the 3rd row, they are positioned just over the rear-wheels which raises the seats relative to the others and were situated practically on the floor. These seats would be perfect for transporting amputees and very small children that can’t yet articulate how uncomfortable they are back there.

If legroom is not your concern, one of the few perks of the tiered rear seating, was that it allowed 3rd row passengers to enjoy the entertainment system which included a 9 inch backseat monitor coupled with the in-house DVD system. Therefore all rear passengers were able to view the on-board entertainment without heads getting in the way.

With the low interior noise levels and the Boston Acoustics Stereo System, the entertainment system in the Commander was top-notch. The Commander packs movie theater quality in a compact package that was great for distracting any rear passengers for extended periods of time. Unfortunately for the driver, if anybody is sitting in the way back area, rear view visibility decreases substantially: almost zero. So get used to using the exterior mirrors. Even with no one in the back, the seats still get in the way of rear-visibility so we found it was safer to keep them down most of the time.

2010 Jeep Commander

Performance and Handling

Jeep still offers two engine trims for the Commander line – a V6 and a V8. Our test model came with the 3.7-liter SOHC V6 with a 5-speed automatic that produces 210 horsepower and more importantly 235 lbs of torque. That’s no where near enough power to lug this 5,000 pound behemoth around and an RV trailer. The bear-like Commander’s V6, without a full load, was slow to accelerate; it slowly crept up to speed and lacked all semblance of performance. I doubt that the Commander with the V6 engine would be able to tow anything larger than a tricycle adequately.

Jeep’s aren’t known for their aerodynamics, but wind and tire noise were minimal inside the cabin giving the Commander a comfortable and quiet ride. Our test model came equipped with four-wheel-drive perfect any type of nasty road conditions or offroading. If you’re up for offroad adventures, its powertrain and underbody/chassis components allow the Commander to hit the trails effortlessly.

As for the handling, it might be a bear, but don’t be completely fooled. For a large SUV, the Commander aptly handled any turns in the road better than most in its class. It never felt like it was going to tip thanks to its lower center of gravity. With the Electronic Stability Control and four-wheel drive it had noticeable traction and smoothness to the overall ride quality by absorbing any bumps. Then we threw the Commander at a few small stretches of poorly maintained dirt roads to see how it really handled itself in its element. It was lots of fun bumping around in the dirt and it never felt out of control.

Jeep Commander rear tailgate window opens up

Value

Overall, the Commander is a utilitarian SUV highly capable for vacations, camping, winter weather and almost anything in between. It can transport up to seven people or haul enough gear to be a home away from home. And it comes with lots of included and optional features that add even more value like the Boston Acoustics Premium sound system, 30GB hard drive, iPod interface,  Jeep’s UConnect GPS interface with real-time traffic information, and Jeep’s ParkSense® rear parking assistant.

After struggling with sales for this line of SUV, Chrysler is really trying to vamp up the Commander and get it out on the streets. With the slight upgrades in build materials and added/optional features, they’ve sweetened the deal so to say. The Commander starts at a base price of $33, 575 and our decked out test Sport model price being $38,100. And with dealerships wanting sales, that always makes for good bargaining.

2010 Jeep Commander Sport 4×4 2010 Ford Explorer XLT Sport AWD
2010 GMC Acadia SL AWD 2010 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4×4 2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4×4
MSRP
$33,575
$31,600
$33,740
$32,890
$30,195
Engine 210 hp 3.7L V6
210hp 4.0L V6
288 hp 3.6L V6
266 hp 4.0L V6
270 hp 4.0L V6
Passenger Volume
112.3 ft3
106.4 ft3
154.0 ft3
N/A
98.2 ft3
Height/Length 72.1″/188.5″ 71.9″/193.4″ 69.9″/200.7″ 72.6″/192.3″ 71.5″/189.9″
Basic Warranty 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months
Powertrain Warranty 100k miles / 60 months 60k miles / 60 months 100k miles / 60 months 60k miles / 60 months 60k miles / 60 months
Fuel Economy (mpg) 14/19 13/19 14/19 14/20 17/22


Conclusion

There is a very good reason why the Jeep Commanders aren’t flying off the dealer’s lots. Blatantly stated, it’s just not a good car. The 3.7L V6 delivers a mere fraction of the power that the Europeans or Japanese could squeeze out of something that size. Then factor in the Commander’s colossal size and enormous weight which make it hard to use, uneconomical to drive, and unable to tow anything significant with so much size/weight. The interior is cheap. The exterior is outdated.  The added 3rd row seating, which is essentially why you would buy this instead of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, is practically unusable seating because it’s too tight. I can see what Jeep was trying to do with this vehicle, make it a multi-purpose utilitarian vehicle that can do it all. And while it can do many things, it does all of them poorly.

BUILD INTERIOR PERFORMANCE HANDLING STYLING VALUE OVERALL
RATING 3.0 3.0 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.9/C-

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2010 Jeep Commander Photo Gallery

2010 Jeep Commander Specs

2010 Jeep Commander Sport 4×4 Specs

JeepThe official Jeep website – www.jeep.com/en/

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