Jeep has extended its model line-up with the new Commander, looking suspiciously like an ugly version of the old Cherokee but with a third row of seats.
“The 2006 Jeep Commander is significant for a number of reasons,” said Jeff Bell, Vice President Jeep, Chrysler Group. “First, Commander signals our commitment to remain the leader in the sport-utility market, a market that Jeep invented more than 60 years ago. This is the first seven-passenger 4×4 that is Jeep Trail Rated. Second, Commander is the only SUV in its class to offer two V-8 engines. In addition, the Jeep Commander expands and strengthens what is already a stellar lineup, consisting of the Wrangler, Liberty and Grand Cherokee. And finally, the all-new Jeep Commander initiates the expansion of the Jeep vehicle lineup that will take place during the second half of this decade.”
In developing the 2006 Jeep Commander, designers looked to past Jeep vehicles for inspiration: the Willys Station Wagons (1946 to 1962), the Jeep Wagoneer (1963 to 1991) and especially the Jeep Cherokee (1984 to 2001). All were classically Jeep in appearance, with sharp lines, planar surfaces and rugged looks. The 2006 Jeep Commander is a modern interpretation of that design ethic.
The Jeep Commander’s upright windshield, backlite and rear end, as well as its more vertical body sides and side glass, embody the vehicle’s classic Jeep styling. Even the side-view mirrors are blocky and stout. Overall, Commander looks strong and confident because of its military bearing – upright and rugged.
“The Jeep Cherokee is an authentic, classic shape that is rooted in the public consciousness,” said Donald A. Renkert, Senior Manager, Jeep Studio, Chrysler Group Product Design Office. “By reinterpreting that vehicle, and other classic Jeep vehicles of the past, the Jeep Commander elicited nods of recognition from consumers, even though it is a brand new vehicle. There is a sense of deja vu about the Jeep Commander that brings knowing smiles of satisfaction.”
The satisfaction continues inside the vehicle, where attention to detail is evident. For example, the two-tone instrument panel is a design unique to Commander. From the gear shift knob, to the four round gauges that make up the instrument cluster, to the new steering wheel, Commander is refined and uniquely Jeep in appearance.
The newly designed seats are supportive and comfortable. And, for the first time in a Jeep vehicle, there are three rows of them, each row slightly higher than the one in front of it. This distinctive stadium seating arrangement makes forward viewing easier. The second and third row seats fold forward to create a flat load floor. Commander is only two inches longer than the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, even though it is designed to accommodate three rows of seats. And since they have the same wheelbase (109.5 inches), Commander is as manoeuvrable and off-road capable as the Grand Cherokee.
The Jeep Commander’s stepped roof provides second and third row occupants with plenty of head room. Complementing the available front-mounted sun roof is Command-View?, new and innovative skylights (complete with shades) over the second row of seats.
Class-leading off-road capability and on-road refinement were mandatory for the Jeep Commander. So the Jeep team went to the head of the class: They provided Commander with the same 4×4 systems, suspension and powertrains as the award-winning 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, including an independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering. Available on Commander are: Three full-time four-wheel drive systems, Quadra-Trac I®, Quadra-Trac II® and Quadra-Drive II®, two transfer cases offering Brake Traction Control System (BTCS), and Electronic Limited Slip Differentials (ELSD) for best-in-class tractive performance and three available engines: the 5.7-litre HEMI® V-8 with the Multi-Displacement System, the 4.7-litre SOHC Power Tech V-8, and the 3.7-litre SOHC Power Tech V-6 engine.
“The on-road refinement and off-road capability of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee are key reasons why it was named 4×4 of the Year by 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine,” said Craig Love, Vice President, Rear-Wheel Drive Product Team. “Now, the only vehicle on the market with the same pedigree is the all-new Jeep Commander.”
Jeep Commander is the first Chrysler Group vehicle with electronic roll mitigation. Using input from multiple sensors, the system deploys the air bags in certain rollover scenarios, as well as side impact events.
Crash protection features available on the Jeep Commander include advanced multi-stage air bags with an Occupant Classification System, available side curtain air bags, seat belts equipped with pretensioners and digressive load limiting retractors, and BeltAlert®, a buckle-up reminder system for the driver.
Crash avoidance features on the 2006 Jeep Commander include standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and an All-Speed Traction Control System (TCS). A tire pressure monitoring system, ParkSense?, (rear park assist), Uconnect? hands-free communications, DVD-based navigation system, SmartBeam® headlamps and rain sensitive wipers provide additional safety and security on the road.
The Jeep Trail Rated badge on the 2006 Jeep Commander shows that the vehicle has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories: Traction, Ground Clearance, Manoeuvrability, Articulation and Water Fording.
Jeep Trail Rated is an industry-leading methodology established by the Nevada Automotive Test Centre (NATC) and Jeep Engineering to objectively measure and consistently predict off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles today and into the future. Through a combination of natural and controlled field tests, as well as computer simulated environments, Jeep Trail Rated provides a repeatable and consistent measurement of off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles. Only Jeep vehicles are Trail Rated.
We say: you have to work very hard to make a car look this ugly.