Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2007 Jeep Commander If...
This is the SUV for you if you like the bolted-together industrial look, combined with seven-passenger capacity, and have an occasional desire for serious off-road capability. If you covet Jeep’s tough "Trail Rated" image and reputation in a quiet, fully-equipped, leather-lined cabin, you’ll like the Commander all the more.
You May Not Like The 2007 Jeep Commander If...
If your SUV needs are more about fashion than function, and/or your driving preferences are more attuned to on-road ride and handling than off-road aptitude, this may not be the car for you. There are sleeker, less expensive and more fuel-efficient SUV and crossover wagon choices available to get you around town.
A new trim level, the Overland, joins the Sport and Limited models. A new 4.7-liter Flexible Fuel V8 is available, as is a power rear liftgate.
Jeep’s first three-row vehicle provides good two-row room, but we wouldn’t want to spend much time in that way-back third row with just 28.9 inches of legroom and 35.7 inches of headroom. Behind it are grocery hooks and a bin with a clever three-way lid, but little cargo capacity with the seatbacks up. Echoing the exterior’s "bold, rugged, constructed" theme, the base Commander cabin has cloth seats and a nicely textured upper dash. Sixteen Allen-head screws retain eight large, round air vents, while simulated Allen heads encircle the gearshift knob and steering wheel hub. The second row splits 40/20/40, the third row 50/50, and both fold flat for cargo.
While the Commander’s shape is cinder-block blunt, much wind-tunnel effort has been devoted to reducing aerodynamic drag for fuel efficiency and interior quietness. The big, blocky outside mirrors, for example, are virtually invisible to the wind, according to the vehicle’s chief designer. The roof is raised 3.15 inches, with the upturn beginning over the second row to provide more headroom. The roof-rack stanchions resemble buttress-style bridge supports, and five large simulated Allen screws appear to hold on each trapezoidal fender flare. The uplevel Limited wears chrome on its signature seven-slot grille, front fascia, body-side moldings, roof-rail crossbars and the two large liftgate grab handles that assist access to rooftop cargo.
The standard 3.7-liter V6 is adequate on- or off-road with light passenger and cargo loads, but would be underpowered with heavier loads or at higher altitudes. Steering is nicely weighted and fairly precise, while the on-road ride is surprisingly quiet and smooth. Braking is strong and fade-free. The 4.7-liter V8 delivers good torque, is a better performer and hauler and is recommended for its power/price/economy balance – unless you feel a need for the slightly more economical V6, or for the hot-rod HEMI V8, which is delightfully smooth and powerful at any speed. Given its hefty weight and high center of gravity, on-road cornering is not the Commander’s forte, but truly impressive off-road capability is. Also impressive are the Limited’s leather- and woodgrain-trimmed interior and ultra-comfortable front bucket seats.
The Commander has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $28,610 with a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and rear-wheel drive. Another $2,000 buys Quadra Trac I full-time four-wheel drive with Brake Traction Control System (BTCS). The Limited is $36,720 with rear-wheel drive and a 235-horsepower 4.7-liter V8, and $39,340 with the more sophisticated Quadra-Trac II four-wheel drive. The Overland has an MSRP of $41,205 with rear-wheel drive and $44,670 with Quadra-Trac II. Fair Purchase Prices that represent what people are actually paying can differ substantially, so be sure to check the price, as it is updated frequently. The Commander is expected to hold an average resale value, on par with the Grand Cherokee and Hummer H2, but below that of the Toyota 4Runner.
The base Commander boasts 17-inch cast aluminum wheels, power front windows, heated power mirrors, eight-way power driver’s seat, air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/CD six-speaker audio and rear park assist. Its standard safety package, Chrysler’s most comprehensive yet, includes multi-stage front and three-row side-curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with "Roll Mitigation" that senses an impending roll-over and works to prevent it. The loaded Limited adds leather seats with heated fronts and a four-way power passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear heating and air conditioning, power-adjustable pedals, six-disc CD/MP3 changer, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power flip-up liftgate glass, power moonroof and twin tinted second-row skylights.
Available options include the Overland trim, which adds a 5.7-liter HEMI engine, 18-inch wheels, platinum finish trim and grille work and suede seats with Overland embroidery. Other options include chrome wheels, an engine block heater, navigation system, ParkView rear backup camera, power rear liftgate, UConnect hands-free communication, rear heating and air conditioning, rear-seat DVD, "Saddle Brown" seating surfaces and a "popular equipment group" that includes heated front seats, power adjustable pedals and adjustable roof-rail cross bars. Four-wheel-drive choices include Quadra-Trac I (V6 model), Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II.
HEMI V8 EngineThis smooth and muscular powerplant, named for its ’50s high-performance ancestors, is an always-eager sweetheart, electronically tethered to your throttle foot. Despite its size, power and simple OHV (pushrod) valvetrain, it delivers a respectable 14-miles per gallon EPA city and 19-miles per gallon highway rating, due to its Multi Displacement System (MDS), which transparently disables four of its eight cylinders at light loads to conserve fuel.Quadra-Drive II Active Full-Time Four-Wheel DriveJeep’s most advanced four-wheel drive technology, QD II uses front and rear Electronic Slip Differentials (ELSDs) to transfer up to all available torque to any individual wheel with traction. Standard with the HEMI V8 and available with the other two engines, it is as capable in difficult conditions as any system on or off the road.
Under the Hood
Chrysler’s modern HEMI V8 gets all the attention, but it is costly and, despite the best efforts of its fuel-saving MDS, less fuel-efficient than its more affordable stablemates. Potential buyers should test drive and consider the more frugal V6 or the mid-range V8, depending upon their anticipated towing and hauling needs. The HEMI is more glamorous and more fun when you tickle its throttle, but you don’t need 330 horses to cruise around town on level ground.3.7-liter V6210 horsepower @ 5200 rpm235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20 (2WD), 16/19 (4WD)4.7-liter V8235 horsepower @ 4500 rpm305 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 (2WD Gasoline), 14/18 (4WD Gasoline), 15/19 (2WD E85), 14/18 (4WD E85)5.7-liter V8 HEMI330 horsepower @ 5000 rpm375 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD)
Jeep purists never got over the loss of the original Cherokee, so it’s no surprise Jeep’s new Commander bears a striking resemblance to the former’s beloved and boxy design. Unlike the old Cherokee, the Commander offers far better interior accommodations that include a third-row seat. The Commander is Jeep’s largest SUV to date and, although it shares much of its chassis and suspension with the Grand Cherokee (as well as the availability of a HEMI V8 engine), the two will never be mistaken for each other. While the Commander doesn’t offer the same interior space as a full-sized Chevrolet Tahoe or even Dodge Durango, it should suit most families looking for a workable combination of comfort, power and superior off-road ability.