2007 Commander New Car Test Drive
The Jeep Commander can haul up to seven people and a lot of stuff just about anywhere it can fit. Launched as an all-new product last year, the Commander offers more capability over rugged terrain than most drivers will ever need, benefits of its ground clearance and excellent traction. If you're expecting an unrefined vehicle with sluggish performance, however, you'll be surprised.
For 2007, the ultra-luxury Commander Overland joins the lineup, with more standard equipment, platinum-chrome exterior accents, and wood, leather and suede inside. Several new features are available for 2007 as well. Among them: a rearview camera, a power liftgate, a remote starter, and active turn signals. In most states, the optional 4.7-liter V8 can operate on gasoline or up to 85 percent Ethanol. Last year's base model has been re-named Commander Sport for 2007.
As suggested by its slab-sided styling, the Commander offers utility and a roomy, airy cabin. The rear seats are progressively stepped up, theater style, giving back-seat riders a view of the road. This feeling of airiness is enhanced by a pair of glass roof panels, though the third row is best reserved for 10-year-olds.
Utility comes in the form of a perfectly flat cargo floor when the rear two rows are folded down, providing nearly 69 cubic feet of cargo space. Those in the front seats enjoy a comfortable cabin, much of which is shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Belied by the utilitarian styling, however, is the Commander's responsiveness and agility. It handles surprisingly well for a tall, seven-passenger SUV. On the highway, the Commander is a notably smooth and comfortable cruiser, and we think it'd be a good choice for that cross country trip to Yellowstone. It's reasonably quiet, allowing easy conversation, a pleasant surprise given the squared-off styling and all-terrain tires.
A choice of V6 and V8 engines is available. The mid-level 4.7-liter V8 seems an excellent choice, with responsive acceleration performance for working through traffic and fuel economy just slightly lower than the 3.7-liter V6. The 5.7-liter V8 Hemi is a good choice for buyers who tow trailers of up to 7,400 pounds.
Two-wheel-drive models are available, though that seems a curious choice because it sacrifices the benefits of Jeep's highly capable four-wheel-drive systems, one of the Commander's most compelling features. Buyers who don't need off-road capability might be better served by something else.
The 2007 Jeep Commander comes in three trim levels: Sport, Limited, and Overland. All are available with 2WD or 4WD.
Commander Sport 2WD ($27,915) comes standard with a 3.7-liter SOHC V6, rated at 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission designed to balance performance and fuel economy. Also standard on Sport are air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers, power windows, power heated mirrors, front bucket seats with adjustable lumbar, ParkSense (which detects objects behind the vehicle while backing up), liftgate glass that flips open by remote control, all-terrain tires on 17-inch cast aluminum wheels, tire-pressure monitor, a full-size spare tire, and cruise control with switches on the steering wheel. Door handles, which were black last year, are body color for '07.
Commander Sport 4WD ($29,915) adds Quadra-Trac I, an automatic full-time all-wheel-drive system enhanced by electronic traction control.
A 4.7-liter SOHC V8 is available on Sport as part of an option package. It is rated 235 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. This engine also comes with a five-speed automatic, but a more heavy-duty unit with a split second gear that provides a shorter ratio on kick-down than on up-shift.
Limited 2WD ($36,025) comes standard with the 4.7-liter V8 and HD transmission, plus a wide array of comfort and convenience features, including automatic climate control; leather upholstery with perforated inserts; leather-wrapped steering wheel; Boston Acoustics sound system with six-CD player, MP3 playback, and Sirius Satellite radio; power adjustable, heated front seats; power adjustable pedals; rear-seat heat, ventilation; power sunroof; remote starter; rain-sensitive windshield wipers; SmartBeam automatic headlights; universal garage door opener; and a security system. Limited can be distinguished by its chromed grille and exterior chrome accents.
Limited 4WD ($38,645) has Quadra-Trac II, a full-time active four-wheel-drive system that includes a two-speed transfer case (so you can select a lower gear range for crawling through seriously rugged, muddy, or sandy terrain; or neutral for towing); plus electronic traction control.
Optional on Limited is the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 (again, as part of a larger package), producing 330 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. The Hemi features potentially fuel-saving Multi-Displacement System (MDS) technology, which shuts down four of the eight cylinders under light-load conditions.
Optional with the Hemi is Quadra-Drive II ($795), Jeep's most sophisticated 4WD. Three limited-slip differentials (one in each axle and one between the axles) are electronically controlled, sending torque to the wheels, or single wheel, with the best traction.
The new top-of-the-line Overland ($40,510) comes standard with the Hemi and a trailer-tow group. It raises the interior plush factor with suede-trimmed leather seats embroidered with the Overland logo; leather-wrapped shift knob and grab handles; Berber floor mats; and woodgrain trim on the center stack, console, steering wheel (which is also leather-wrapped) and front door panels. Overland also adds conveniences, such as a power liftgate, ParkView reversing camera, GPS navigation, UConnect hands-free communications, and a cargo net. Outside, Overland is distinguished by Platinum-look trim and a unique wire-lattice grille.
Overland 4WD ($43,975) comes with Quadra-Drive II.
Other Commander options include rear-seat DVD player and engine block heater. An Off-Road Group for 4WD models adds skid plates and tow hooks. A Class III towing package is available with the V6, and a Class IV package with either V8. Additionally, many Limited and even Overland convenience features are offered as either options or part of option packages on lower-cost models.
Safety features that come standard include side-curtain air bags with a roll detection system deploy in case.