Jeep Commander 3.0 CRD Limited - test report -
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post #1 of 1 Old 05-10-2006, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Jeep Commander 3.0 CRD Limited - test report

Jeep Commander 3.0 CRD Limited
by David Finlay (10 May 06)

The Commander is Jeep's response to two demands that have been made by customers over the years. The first - which, I'm told, is the question the company has been asked more insistently than any others - was for a Jeep with seven seats, while the second was for a return to the rugged, foursquare styling used on previous models such as the early-90s Cherokee, rather than the sissy curvy stuff the company has favoured more recently.

The result is a car which does most of what the current Grand Cherokee does, except that it looks tougher and has two more seats. Jeep's marketing department will be emphasising the differences more than the similarities, of course, and will be portraying the Commander as a down-and-dirty workhorse, at least in comparison with the more lifestyle-oriented Grand Cherokee. And the funny thing about that is that, of the two, Jeep claims that the Grand Cherokee is actually slightly better off-road.

Not that there's much in it. The Commander has not had to be made much longer than the Grand in order to accomodate the extra seats - there's just 37mm difference, all of it behind the rear wheels - but that's enough to make the Commander fractionally less wieldy over the rough stuff. So a Jeep person told me, anyway. On paper, the Commander has a slight advantage; the two cars have identical departure angles of 27 degrees, but the Commander's 34.6 degree approach and 21.2 degree breakover angles are slightly better, and rear axle ground clearance is superior by a more significant 38mm.

But this is little more than hair-splitting. The Commander is far better off-road than you need it to be. It shares with the Grand Cherokee the Quadra Drive II 4x4 system which would require several paragraphs to explain but fortunately involves practically no brainpower on the part of the driver. Simply switch the transmission into low-ratio mode (into neutral, pull small chrome lever, job done) and all the electronic trickery engages itself automatically...
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