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2006 Jeep Commander Test Drive Review

The Jeep Commander combines 3-row seating with off-road ability but falls short on cabin quality and cargo space.

7.7 /10
Overall Score

The 2006 Jeep Commander fills a missing piece to the off-road brand’s lineup. The big 3-row SUV has imposing styling, available V8 engines, and seating for up to 7 passengers. It slots above other mid-size SUVs like the Ford Explorer but under full-size SUVs like the Expedition. Compared to these vehicles, the Commander has terrific off-road ability but lacks cabin quality, cabin space, and towing capability.

Look and Feel

6/ 10

Shoppers will quickly be able to identify the Commander as a Jeep. The tall, square outline and seven-slat grille give it the look of a modernized and upsized Jeep Cherokee, which was phased out in 2001. Inside, the Commander has the simple, contemporary look of its stablemate, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The cabin features heavy use of hard plastics and other low-grade materials. Rivals like the Explorer have better cabin quality.

Jeep offers the Commander in two trims; base and Limited. The base trim comes standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels, power windows, power heated mirrors, and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player stereo system. It also comes standard with cruise control and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

Moving up to the Limited trim adds leather upholstery, a 4-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, and memory settings for both front seats. Other features on the Limited include power-adjustable pedals and dual-zone climate control.


9/ 10

The Commander offers one V6 and two V8 engine options. The base 3.7-liter V6 makes 210 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A 4.7-liter V8 comes standard on the Limited trim. This engine generates 235 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. The Limited also offers a 5.7-liter V8 engine as optional equipment. This Hemi engine produces 330 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. It also features Jeep’s Multiple Displacement System, allowing it to shut off half the cylinders when full power is not required. When properly equipped, the 5.7-liter Hemi allows the Commander to tow up to 7,200 pounds.

All engines route power through a 4-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels or available 4-wheel drive (4WD). Jeep actually offers multiple 4WD systems, called Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. The first is a full-time system that requires no driver input. This can be found on the base V6. Quadra-Trac II is a more conventional system with 2-High, 4-High, and 4-Low. Quadra-Drive II provides front- and rear electronically limited-slip differentials and can send power to any wheel when a loss of traction is sensed.

With all this off-road kit, the Commander is extremely capable on the trail and will outperform any rival SUV on the dirt, mud, and rock. The Commander balances that with composed and comfortable on-road handling.

Form and Function

6/ 10

The Commander provides a total of 68.7 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats folded. Folding only the third row provides 36.4 cubic feet, and putting up all seats drops cargo space to just six cubic feet. The Commander has a helpful rear-opening hatch window, which can be remotely opened.

Unfortunately, cars like the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Ford Explorer best the Commander on cargo space. The Trailblazer has 80 cubic feet of total cargo space, and the Explorer provides a total of 85.8 cubic feet of cargo space. This difference in cargo space can largely be targeted at the Commander’s third row.

Tech Level

9/ 10

The base Commander comes standard with an AM/FM/CD player stereo system with six speakers. Moving up to the Limited adds Boston Acoustic speakers MP3 capability, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio capability. The Limited also features a universal garage door opener and rear cabin climate controls. Standalone options include a GPS navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a flip-down screen.


8/ 10

Standard safety features include antilock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The Commander also comes standard with dual-stage front airbags and side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor.

The 2006 Jeep Commander earns a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


8/ 10

The V6-powered Commander with rear-wheel drive (RWD) returns fuel economy of 14 mpg city, 19 highway, 16 combined, making it the most efficient version of the SUV. The most-efficient V8 version is the 4.7-liter with RWD, returning 14 mpg city, 18 highway, 15 combined. The least-efficient configuration is the 5.7-liter V8 with 4WD, returning 13 mpg city, 17 highway, 14 combined.

The 2006 Jeep Commander has a starting price of $27,540. Adding 4WD brings the price to $29,450. A Commander Limited starts at $35,785, and a 4WD Limited costs $38,405.

Updated by George Kennedy

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Jeep Commander Questions


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