If the Dodge Nitro is a compact-class SUV, then we need to move up to the mid-size class and start with the Jeep Commander. I’m already craving Mountain Dew, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and AR-15s.
We finally have an American car that we Europeans can drive on our roads: the Jeep Commander. It looks like it hits the gym every day and on the road towards the gym it chuggs down a can of Mountain Dew and eats a triple cheeseburger, and then in the evening he sings patriotic stuff by the flame of a bum barrel he lit with bullets fired from his semi-automatic he bought at Walmart.
Yes, I know, we also have the Jeep Grand Cherokee and that’s an American behemoth but that one always left a European allure. It’s too curvy, it’s too civilized. When you say American car, you think Wrangler and Jeep Commander. Actually, the Jeep Commander is two cars: first, it’s that car we used to draw when we were kids and second, it’s the car you think of when you say American SUV.
Why was it the first Jeep that could be used by us Europeans?
Because it finally got the glorious 3.0 diesel V6 from Mercedes, mated to their glorious 5G-Tronic automagic. Okay, that engine has been around for a while in the Grand Cherokee, but it never pumped the muscles of a big, ugly, square, manly and hilariously inefficient Commander. And for those who think diesel is for tractors, women, environmentalists, the faint of heart, the faint of anything, Prosecco drinkers, and generally sensible people, for them the Jeep Commander also comes with the Hemi engine from the Chrysler 300C, a wonderful 360 horsepower, naturally aspirated 5.7 V6 petrol.
And how did it do in terms of sales?
The CEO of Chrysler, the people who owned Jeep at the time, said that the Jeep Commander is not a car intended for human consumption. They sold a few models and he doesn’t understand why people bought one. And in Europe, it wouldn’t stand a chance as a big, square, inefficient SUV with big engines and groaning excess. And yet in the US 217,141 Jeep Commanders were sold, and even 2066 in Mexico. And in Europe, they must have dropped a few models out of the container straight onto the street, because on mobile.de there are 42 models for sale right now. So the market for American excess definitely exists. Because a Commander inspires status much better than an S-Class which is meant to be discreet. Nope, the Commander is as subtle as a brick through the window. Or poems written on bathroom walls.
Jeep Commander Engines
- 3.7 PowerTech V6 of 210 horsepower – This engine is the equivalent of the 1.4 MPI in the Golf so it’s not worth our attention. It’s hilarious to say that an 3.7 V6 petrol is insufficient, but the Commander is a big rig for big people and it needs big engines with big torque.
- 4.7 PowerTech V8 of 235 and 305 horsepower – This is the 2 extra cylinders cousin of the 3.7 V6 so the issues are shared and that’s mainly down to the faulty cooling. These aren’t runabouts or high-effort engines otherwise they will fire up and out of the glove box will jump the N-Sync band singing “Bye! Bye! Bye!”. So change the oil constantly and keep an eye on the engine temperature.
- 5.7 Hemi V8 of 330 and 360 horsepower – Personally I’d avoid pre-2007 engines because they have issues with the cylinder deactivation system as it’s a big general pain in the buttocks. Only the Americans could think of fuel-saving technology in a 5.7 V8 naturally aspirated petrol powering a wheeled ship container.
3.0 OM642 V6 CRDi of 218 horsepower – This engine was heavily used by Mercedes under the hood of the W211 and W212 E Class, Sprinter and S Class but also Vito and pretty much the whole Mercedes village. This village bicycle is quite reliable but is pretty bad around town and you have to be careful with the injector seals, otherwise, they get plagued with the Black Death. And if you don’t believe me, you can Google “Black Death Mercedes” and you’ll see what some injector seals ignored long enough can do. Also, the oil cooler lining needs to be replaced otherwise it gets leaky. And the oil cooler is sitting in between the V of the cylinders, so if the lining costs 10 pounds and you won’t cry too much, the labor will make you cry in a corner, holding your knees.
Jeep Commander Common Issues
- None. It’s that good.
- Okay, the weaker among us will complain about the cheap interior plastics. And when I say cheap, I mean the first generation Dacia Logan is above any 2000-2005 Jeep interior quality.
- It’s a car…..truck….rolling monument of masculinity and it’s big enough to be a challenge to drive and park by the faint of heart or weak of anything. Plus the looks aren’t for you either.
- The sound system isn’t the most refined and has a tendency to get wasted pretty quick pretty fast. Kind of like at Glastonbury.
Jeep Commander Verdict
The Jeep folks say that if you want a 5-seater, you go for the Cherokee/Liberty; if you want a 7-seater, then go for the Jeep Commander. But let’s face it, who looks at a Commander and says “Gee, what a sensible family car, practical and excellent for summer driving at the Somerset beach with the wife and 3 kids”? I think people look at the Jeep Commander and think semi-automatics, WWE, ammo, and patriotism to a country you’ve never been to but know exactly what it looks like and how it inspires you. Because you have a Jeep Commander.
Which engines do I recommend? Honestly for the petrol power the mid-spec 4.7 V8 PowerTech should be enough, but here in Europe the sensible choice is the 3.0 Mercedes-sourced diesel.