The imposing Commander Limited deserves some credit for at least trying to be kinder to the environment.
Its standard engine is a 4.7-liter, 235-horsepower V8 that delivers 305 pound-feet of torque. The traditional gasoline-only version is sold in California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont, while a flex-fuel version is sold in the remaining 45 states. The latter is compatible with E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), the corn-derived fuel that may have a considerable role in our country's future.
The available upgrade on the Limited is a 5.7-liter HEMI Multi-Displacement Engine, which DaimlerChrysler estimates can conserve gas at a rate of up to 20% during proper use. It shuts down 4 of the 8 cylinders during light acceleration as well as highway cruising below 60 mph. Of course, most Americans do not drive under 70 on the Interstates, so they will have to modify their driving habits to see the benefit in fuel consumption.
It's perfectly enjoyable not to rush a drive in the Limited, thanks to the comfort-enhancing standard features it has. The power sunroof is accompanied by a pair of fixed-panel skylights that extend over the second-row seat toward the back, bringing in the light or the view of the stars. Separate front and rear HVAC units (the front one includes auto-temperature control with infrared and solar sensors) make the climate comfy for all throughout the large interior. The deluxe audio system includes a 6-CD/MP3, in-dash changer and Sirius Satellite Radio.
The three rows of seating are trimmed in leather, and the driver and front passenger receive power-adjust with memory function and heaters. The second and third rows split and fold flat (40/20/40 on the second row, 50/50 on the third) to make the cargo space skyrocket as needed.
The overdrive gear on the Limited's multi-speed automatic transmission helps it to conserve a bit of fuel. (Then again, the standard-equipment remote start may tempt the driver to let the car idle too much in extreme weather, offsetting the slight fuel-economy benefit of the overdrive.)
Electronic Range Select provides the driver with the versatility of choosing to shift manually depending on travel conditions. When properly equipped (a Class II Trailer Tow package is available), the Commander Limited 4x4 can pull up to 6500 pounds, making it the perfect choice for the active, outdoor-oriented family.
The standard Quadra-Trac II 4WD system is the traditional variety and is not for use on slippery or loose surfaces only - not dry pavement. For such use you must opt for the available Quadra-Drive II full-time 4WD, a convenient choice that allows for the vehicle to be left in 4WD mode for any type of travel. Each system includes a two-speed transfer case with low-ratio gearing for trail use.