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2010 Jeep Commander ReviewThe Good
The 2010 Jeep Commander offers a car-like ride with lots of room for front passengers and rear cargo.The Bad
A lack of power in the V6 and a lack of efficiency in both engines seriously cripple the 2010 Commander.
The CarGurus View
The 2010 Jeep Commander looks suspiciously like Cherokees of old, and seems to have some of the same pitfalls. It seems Jeep recognizes this too, as its life cycle is slated to end in 2011, according to the new Daimler-Fiat five-year plan. It’s probably best to pass on this largest of Jeep SUVs.
At a Glance
When Jeep came out with the current generation of Grand Cherokee, it was apparently worried that enthusiasts would miss the old version, so in 2006 they introduced the Commander, another midsize SUV offering, mimicking the previous-generation Grand Cherokee in a slightly stretched variation.
This seven-passenger midsize SUV offers stadium seating, three moonroofs, the option of a V6 or a V8, and rear- (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Both trims, Limited and Sport, come standard with a five-speed automatic transmission. The Overland trim as well as the 4.7-liter V8 have been discontinued.
Standard in all Sport trims is a 210-hp, 3.7-liter V6. AWD versions have the option of a low-range gear for off-road work. While the V6 offers enough power from a stop and around town, at speed it feels taxed, struggling to keep up during passing and climbing. It’s a refined engine, however, with a muted tone even when struggling.
Optional for the Sport and standard on the Limited is a 5.7-liter V8, a 357-hp Hemi utilizing Chrysler's Multi Displacement System cylinder deactivation. Despite this, both engines offer dismal fuel efficiency, only 14/19 mpg for the 3.7 and 13/19 for the 5.7. Both engines pick up 1 mpg around town and on the highway with RWD, but this hardly bumps up the numbers to a respectable scale. Chrysler recommends 87-octane gasoline for the 3.7 and 89 for the 5.7, hurting the larger engine’s record even more.
Ride & Handling
With Jeep’s new efforts to improve on-road performance as well as off-road capability, the Commander follows the Grand Cherokee’s lead, with which it shares a platform. Much to the chagrin of off-road enthusiasts, the Commander and Grand Cherokee alike come with independent double wishbone front suspensions, providing a more car-like response on pavement and better reaction to rippled and pocked roads, but axle articulation that fails to live up to the previous live-axle suspension's.
The Commander's extra weight and size are definitely noticeable, requiring an extra decrease in speed for turns, although braking is more than adequate. Its tall, flat sides contribute to lean and wind susceptibility.
Cabin & Comfort
The Commander's seating is terrible. All seats have flat, firm bottoms that preclude comfort on long trips, legroom is severely lacking in the second row, and the third row is a laughable attempt at additional occupancy, suitable only for children at best. The stadium seating does provide a wealth of headroom, but coupled with the immense rear roof pillars, it obscures rearward vision almost entirely.
Controls are generally well-placed and easy to read, although some have complained about too-small markings that prevent easy comprehension, something that would most likely be alleviated after overcoming initial unfamiliarity. The optional navigation system has been well-received overall, but complicates what should be simple audio adjustments. Interior materials at least have been applied appropriately, achieving a pleasant blend of a rugged atmosphere with a touch of luxury, especially with the added trim and leather in the Limited.
The Commander’s dual front, front-side, and curtain-side airbags contribute to a five-star safety rating in frontal collision tests from the NHTSA. However, a worrisome three-star rating in rollover tests persists in 2010. Additional safety features include antilock four-wheel disc brakes with brake assist, an anti-skid system, and a rear obstacle-detection system.
What Owners Think
Many things receive compliments in the Commander – its stadium seating, refined engines, and car-like handling. Unfortunately, these also reveal the major complaints about the Commander, with uncomfortable seats, inefficient engines, and a lack of off-road chops marring reputation. While the interior design has generally been well-received, small complaints like indistinct markings and an overly complicated navigation system plague even that positive.
A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.