THANKS to the release of the Commander, families could finally add Jeep to their shopping lists as it was the first model from the iconic American carmaker to have three rows of seats.
The Commander’s hard lines and boxy shape were intended to convey the rugged image for which Jeep is famous.
Those who opened the door found a roomy cabin with accommodation for seven in a flexible seating arrangement.
With intelligent full-time fourwheel drive the Commander could go offroad, and take the family.
Jeep offered the Commander in two variants, the base model and the Limited, with the choice of diesel and petrol engines.
The diesel engine was a Mercedes 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 producing 160kW at 4000rpm and 510Nm at 1600-2000rpm.
It was also most definitely the fuel economy winner in the Commander range.
Against that, the 4.7-litre V8 peaked with 170kW at 4500rpm and 410Nm at 3600 revs.
The 5.7-litre Hemi V8, meanwhile, featured 240kW at 5000 revs and 500Nm at 4000 revs.
All the models came with a fivespeed automatic transmission with manual shift.
And all of them had fulltime four-wheel drive.
The 4.7-litre engine had Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II system with an electrically controlled centre differential that could split the drive between the front and rear wheels.
The 5.7-litre V8 and diesel also employed the more sophisticated Quadra-Drive II system with front and rear limited-slip differentials that could deliver the drive not only to the front and rear wheels but also split it between the left and right which gave greater drive capability.
Carsguide has had few complaints, which suggests Commander owners are a happy lot. Servicing can be expensive at Jeep dealers, so consider an independent service outlet once the warranty runs out. Check for regular servicing; as with all modern engines it’s crucial oil and oil filters are regularly changed.
There is no ANCAP test rating for the Commander. But with dual front airbags and side curtain airbags, ABS brakes, traction control, electronic stability control and rollover protection, it had plenty of equipment designed to protect the family— making it a good vehicle for school and sports runs.
Jeep reckoned the turbo-diesel would average 10.5L/100 km, but our owner gets 11.5L/100km and Carsguide could manage only 13.0L/100km. The V8s are thirstier: Jeep claims 13.9L/100 km for the 4.7 and 15.6L/100 km for the 5.7.
The whole box and dice: Commander’s boxy shape hides a nice, roomy interior