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TAKING COMMAND (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 90
While the British car buying public may recognise Jeep models like the Wrangler and the Cherokee, the Commander is one that, rather gallingly for its importers, remains resolutely beneath the popular radar. Introduced to combat the threat of seven-seater Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery models, the Commander is big, blocky and a bit of a bargain, in the used market at the very least. If you can track one down, you'll get a whole heap of capability for a lot less than the going rate for its key rivals.
Modelsword count: 9
Models Covered: 2006-to date (3.0 V6 diesel [Limited, Predator])
Historyword count: 175
For a company that has such a long and illustrious history of building 4x4 vehicles, it's perhaps a little surprising that Jeep seemed to be caught on the hop by the surge in popularity in this country of seven seat 4x4s. The market started germinating in 2003, helped by the runaway success of the Volvo XC90 but really took off in 2004 when the Land Rover Discovery 3 started to dominate the marketplace. Jeep needed to respond and given that the Grand Cherokee was a little too compact to seat seven sensibly, the company used the Grand Cherokee platform and added a little more overhang and roof height at the back so that another pair of seats could be incorporated. While the Commander could never be accused of being a proactive product, it is a pragmatic one and one that makes a lot of sense as a used buy. Introduced with both the 5.7-litre 'hemi' petrol engine and 3.0-litre CRD diesel in 2006, the petrol engine was deleted from the line up in late 2007.
What You Getword count: 314
The military surplus styling of the Commander takes a little getting used to. With its tacked on wheelarches and heavy duty scuff plates, it looks like something that should be touring Fallujah looking for insurgents rather than collecting the kids from school. It is, therefore, perfect for the burgeoning quantity of buyers who prefer a little presence to get ahead in the traffic. Jeep never expected to sell too many, importing just 600 cars to the UK annually, so there's set to be a measure of exclusivity to boot. The seating system is interesting insofar as Jeep have allowed every passenger a decent view out of the car. It's easy to miss the subtle step-up in roof height half way along as the eye is diverted by the roof rails, but this increase in headroom means that each successive row of seats sits higher than the one in front. Five six-footers will fit easily into the first two rows of seats although the back two seats are best left to the kids. Squeeze seven passengers on board and you'd better hope they've packed light because that'll leave a mere 6 cubic feet of luggage space available. Seat five, fold the rearmost pair of seats down and you'll have a more satisfactory 36.3 cubic feet. Drop the middle row as well and you'll have a massive 67.4 cubic feet of available space. Although the Commander is a mere two inches longer than the Grand Cherokee and shares that model's 109.5 inch wheelbase, the additional 4 inches of headroom make the third row of seats viable and also give a much airier feel than the somewhat sporty Grand. The track is half an inch wider so the Commander is big but not of behemoth proportions. That's important when you're trying to slot it down a city street without depriving every other motorist of their door mirrors.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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