The base V6 in our Commander Sport is barely adequate for the job. Packing only 210-HP and 235 lb-ft, the engine had trouble moving the 4,800-lbs SUV. To make matters worse, you have to apply too much throttle to get it moving. Likely this was intentionally done to help improve gas mileage and preserve low-speed traction, but it’s rather annoying.
When it comes to driving dynamics, the Commander drove better on city roads than expected. The steering is well-balanced and does a good job of helping you forget the weight of the vehicle. The big Jeep has a good turn radius and is easy to park despite its size. Rearward visibility is poor when the third row is up and can be hard to tell where the rear of the Jeep ends without having a backup camera. Luckily our test model was equipped with a backup camera that made it easy to fit the Jeep into the tightest parallel parking space with confidence. The backup camera is definitely recommended with the Commander if you do a lot of urban parking.
The suspension is a bit on the soft side, but it’s great when it comes to the freeway. It’s easy to forget this SUV has a solid axle because it has a good ride. Bumps, potholes and speed bumps are not a problem for the Commander. Handling and body roll are affected by the soft suspension. The Commander does not handle as well as SUV’s that have more of a street focus like the CX-9.
While I did not get a chance to test the Commander off road, it’s clear the Commander is not meant for hardcore off-roading. The Commander is no rock crawler, but the 4×4 provided excellent wet-weather grip. Drivers that won’t see much bad weather can probably do without the 4×4 and enjoy the lower sticker price and higher mileage. Off road enthusiasts with a large family should spring for the Limited model that is equipped with the Quadra-Drive II 4WD system that has a two-speed transfer case, Brake Traction Control, Hill Descent Control, and other off-road features.
The biggest problem with the Jeep Commander is that it may be too much of a compromise. It tries to compete with the large SUV market, but it does not do it as well as the Ford Flex and even the Toyota 4Runner. Also the Commander may likely not appeal to some Jeep enthusiasts because it is not the hardcore off-road toy they would like. The bottom line is Jeep needs to decide which way it wants to go with the Commander.
|The official Jeep website- www.jeep.com/en/|
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