More Expert Reviews
|2010 Jeep Commander Sport 4×4 Specs|
By Michael D. Leroy
- Great on-road manners
- Touch-screen stereo works great and the built-in hard drive is nice
- Easy to park with backup camera and good turning radius
- Base V-6 lacks torque, get the 5.7L HEMI
- Unresponsive throttle when moving from a stop
- Poor rear visibility
- Too much hard plastic for a $38,000 vehicle
SUV’s for far too long have been too much utility and not enough sport. Many SUV’s have questionable off-road ability. Jeep claims the Commander, its flagship model, is a “Trail Rated” seven-passenger people mover. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to do an off-road excursion, but I did get a chance to see the Commander’s city manners.
Styling and Interior
The Commander at first glance looks like a cross between the Grand Cherokee and classic Wagoneer. Depending on your affinity to the Jeep brand, this is both a good and bad thing. Out of the entire Jeep lineup, the Commander looks the most dated. The SUV has changed little since 2006 and it’s boxy looks could use a refresh. On the other hand, if you grew up making road trips in a Wagoneer and love the Jeep look, then the Commander will bring back waves of nostalgia.
Interior quality is definitely a mixed bag. Hard plastic is everywhere, from the doors to the dash. The bolts exposed on the dash may give it a rugged look, but it’s unrefined. The interior is not as good as other full-sized SUV’s like the Mazda CX-9 or Ford Flex. On the upside, the leather seats in our test model are good quality and comfortable for long trips.
The driver’s door was determined to close on my leg. It seems like the door hinges were not up to the job keeping the door open when the Jeep was parked on a slight incline. Also due to the bulging rear fenders, the door opening for the rear seats is rather small and it can be easy to bang your knee on the them when trying to get into the back seat.
Even with the Commander’s large size, interior space is poorly utilized. The second row while not cramped by any means, could use more leg room. The third row, like most full-sized SUV’s, is for children only. With as large as the Commander is, perhaps it could benefit from being even bigger?
Our test model was equipped with a 6.5-inch touch screen that includes GPS navigation. The whole system worked rather well and was easy to operate thanks to controls mounted behind the steering wheel. This may seem awkward at first, but after a short learning curve it’s easy to switch inputs, tracks and volume because all the buttons have a different feel too them. This is much better than other models that always require you to look down to figure out which button will turn on your iPod.
Speaking of iPod’s, the connectivity cable is located in the glove box. This is rather annoying if you have an iPhone or don’t like leaving an iPod in the vehicle. Other models usually let you stick your MP3 player in the center console which does not require you to reach over every time you want to hook it up. This inconvenience can be solved by simply using the included 30 gigabyte hard drive. It was quite easy to load songs on the system using a DVD or a flash drive.
Like all touch screen controls, they can be hard to use while the vehicle is in motion. Options like shuffle are buried into sub-menu’s, but there is plenty of room to include them on the main screen. The LCD screen real estate is poorly used and often the touch-screen buttons could be larger. The Bluetooth system was easy to setup and worked well.
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