1 May 2006
AFTER 65 years Jeep is finally doing what the Japanese have done for decades, by offering a 4WD wagon with a third-row of seating.
The recipient is the Commander, a unitary-body SUV based on the third-generation Grand Cherokee released in Australia in 2005.
But with its blocky styling that is meant to recall the popular 1990s Cherokee, the Commander's job of swaying urbanised Ford Territory and Toyota Prado buyers has been tough.
It's a good thing then that keen value, a cracking turbo-diesel option and the brand's legendary off-road ability are part of this Jeep's armour.
Echoing the five-seat Grand Cherokee range released last July the Commander range opens with a 170kW/410Nm 4.7-litre V8.
The Commander 3.0L CRD employs the same DaimlerChrysler-developed 160kW/510Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine as the Grand Cherokee Laredo CRD (and the Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI).Topping the range are three Limited variants.
The top-shelf Commander is powered by the same 240kW/500Nm 5.7-litre HEMI V8 that motivates the quickest Grand Cherokee (and is a detuned version of the 250kW/525Nm engine found in sister company Chrysler’s 300C V8 sedan).
As in those models, it features the Chrysler Group’s fuel-saving Multi-Displacement System and, unlike 4.7 V8 variants, requires 95 RON premium unleaded fuel.
The Grand Cherokee line-up will be capped by an SRT-8 range-topper later this year, powered by a 313kW version of the recently released 300C SRT-8’s 317kW/569Nm 6.1-litre V8, and Commander could follow suit in 2007 – when the compact Compass and Patriot Jeep 4WDs will also be launched.