Whoever gave the green light on the original Jeep Commander project must have been compelled by the thought of advertising a Jeep that could seat seven. But when Jeep introduced the Commander in late 2005 as a 2006 model, SUV buyers yawned, causing leadership at DaimlerChrysler to gulp, swallow hard, and wonder if the vehicle was worth the investment.
The Commander is closely related to the Grand Cherokee mechanically but introduces a boxier body and reconfigured interior over similar components. The boxy shape takes after Jeep tradition, especially following the styling cues left off the last Cherokee, and has a large, muscular appearance, which is what many SUV buyers still want. It also has an instantly recognizable Jeep face, though you may mistake it for a HUMMER, which also sports a seven-slot grille.
Jeep styled the cabin of the Commander in a straightforward fashion. The squared-off dash houses round gauges that bring the angularity of the exterior to the vehicle’s interior.
The comfortable and supportive front seats contradict the cramped legroom of rear seats in the 2009 Jeep Commander. The optional third-row seat suffers a similar lack of legroom made worse by the limited headroom. Children will find it comfortable, until they hit a growth spurt. If anybody is sitting in the way back, get used to your exterior mirrors, as rearward visibility is virtually nil.
Performance for the 2009 Jeep Commander has improved with the introduction of a new 5.7-liter HEMI engine making 357 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque—an 8.2 percent increase in horsepower and a 3.7 percent increase in torque compared to the previous-generation engine.