Visitors of the 2005 The Big Apple International Auto Show could possibly have thought they saw a ghost the 2nd they entered into the Jeep display area. A ghost of the last Jeep Cherokee, that is. So as to return to its “classic” design, and appease those who haven’t exactly been pleased with the soft look of the current Liberty, Jeep has come up with this boxy version of the current Grand Cherokee called the Commander. Think of it as a Grand Grand Cherokee with carbon copy looks of your old Cherokee.
Confused? Which makes two of us. The whole point of the Commander, we think, would be to offer people a third row of seats. This is the first Jeep to seat seven. But instead of simply making a Grand Cherokee XL, like GM has done using its midsize SUVs, Jeep made a decision to entirely reskin the GC and consider it the Commander. In fact, the Commander shares the GC’s 109.5-inch wheelbase and is only about two inches longer overall.
The big difference comes in the stepped-up roof hidden behind the luggage rack. The bump that starts behind the very first row and continues up to the tail of the Commander provides the headroom needed for the second and third rows.
The big question that comes to mind, however, is simply WHY? We wondered what was undergoing Jeep executives’ minds once they came up with this idea. Perhaps the “everybody’s doing it” argument works – the Explorer, aforementioned GM midsizers, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and others, all have third row seating. So, considering investment in the new Commander should have been substantial, Chrysler must have data letting them know this is a item that stands a high probability of working. But will its success come at the cost of the Grand Cherokee? It really is only 2 “” longer, after all.
And what exactly was experiencing designers’ minds? The new Grand Cherokee followed up a prosperous run by having an odd fresh look, which includes a face that only a mother could love. The new Commander seems intent on being the GC’s equally unattractive bigger brother. It’s conservative yet ugly all at the same time – generally not just a feat we’ve come to expect from the Chrysler Group.
There’s a reason why GM’s Hummer lineup has become eating Jeep’s lunch recently (though their run has turned into a coughing, stumbling jog). It’s not just for the reason that H2 was the “it” vehicle during its first model year. Hummer works because it captures the brute brashness of true offroaders, even if its actual abilities are questionable. They make it look fun. Jeep, on the flip side, appears to be making a run at “Soccer Mom-mobile of the Year” award using this type of new Commander. This is as dowdy as it gets, which is terribly disappointing considering some of Jeep’s awesome concepts of late.
Oddly, Jeep is the only division with all the Chrysler Group where it appears concepts tend not to become reality. Because Jeep could really use some direction right about now, that’s too bad.
The All-New 2006 Jeep® Commander Expands Jeep Lineup with its Classic Design, Jeep Engineering, New Features and Safety Technology
Its name is Jeep Commander, however the newest member of the Jeep vehicle family could equally as easily answer to “vanguard.”
That’s since the all-new 2006 Jeep Commander – classic in design, engineered to carry out as only Jeep vehicles can, the first with three rows of seats, and equipped with advanced safety technologies – is definitely the leading edge of a Jeep product offensive scheduled for the next few years.
“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 inside the sport-utility market, a market that Jeep invented a lot more than 60 years back. This is the first seven-passenger 4×4 that is Jeep Trail Rated. Second, commander will be 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, Grand and Liberty Cherokee. And finally, the all-new Jeep Commander initiates the expansion of your Jeep vehicle lineup that will take place during the second half of this decade.”
Heritage Exterior Design, Complemented by An All-New Interior
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 the design ethic.
The Jeep Commander’s upright windshield, rear and backlite end, along with 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 due to the military bearing – upright and rugged.
The Commander looks familiar and new concurrently, and as it is steeped in heritage Jeep design. This tension between past and offer engages the emotions.
“The Jeep Cherokee is undoubtedly an authentic, classic shape which is rooted from 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 new vehicle. You will discover a sense of deja vu regarding the Jeep Commander that brings knowing smiles of satisfaction.”
The satisfaction continues within the vehicle, where attention to detail is evident. For example, both the-tone instrument panel is a design unique to Commander. Through the gear shift knob, to the four round gauges that make up the instrument cluster, on the new controls, Commander is refined and uniquely Jeep in appearance.
The newly designed seats are comfortable and supportive. And, for the first time in a Jeep vehicle, there are three rows of which, each row slightly more than the one in front of it. This distinctive stadium seating arrangement makes forward viewing easier. The third and second row seats fold forward to create a flat load floor. Commander is merely two inches over 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 maneuverable and off-road capable as being the Grand Cherokee.
The Jeep Commander’s stepped roof provides third and second row occupants with plenty head room. Complementing the available front-mounted sun roof is Command-innovative, View™ and new skylights (filled with shades) over the second row of seats.
Engineered to look Anywhere, Do Anything
Class-leading off-road capability and on-road refinement were mandatory for that Jeep Commander. So, the Jeep team went to the head of the class: They provided Commander with the same 4×4 systems, powertrains and suspension as the award-winning 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, including a completely 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
• Three available engines: the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 with the Multi-Displacement System,
the four.7-liter SOHC Power Tech V-8, as well as the 3.7-liter 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 had been 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 similar pedigree may be the all-new Jeep Commander.”
Safety and Security Designed in right from the start
Like all Chrysler Group vehicles, the 2006 Jeep Commander is designed to improve not only handling and accident avoidance, but additionally to provide excellent crash protection.
Jeep Commander is definitely the first Chrysler Group vehicle with electronic roll mitigation. Using input from multiple sensors, the device deploys the atmosphere bags in certain rollover scenarios, as well as side impact events.
Crash protection features on the Jeep Commander include advanced multi-stage air bags with an Occupant Classification System, available side curtain air bags, seat belts built with pretensioners and digressive load limiting retractors, and BeltAlert®, a buckle-up reminder system for that 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 security and safety on the road.
Jeep Trail Rated
The Jeep Trail Rated badge on the 2006 Jeep Commander shows that your vehicle has been built to perform in a number of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories: Traction, Ground Clearance, Maneuverability, Articulation and Water Fording.
Jeep Trail Rated is an industry-leading methodology established by the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) and Jeep Engineering to objectively measure and consistently predict off-road performance for many Jeep vehicles today and into the future. Through a mixture of natural and controlled field tests, and also 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.