Jeep Goes Old School with New Commander
What's old is now made new again, but with a twist in the 2006 Commander
. This is
|The Commander is the world's first seven-seat Jeep. (Photo: Justin Couture, Canadian Auto Press)|
the first seven passenger Jeep, ever. For all of you who miss the rugged classic styling of the Jeep Cherokee that graced the planet from 1984 to 2001, then you will love the look of the new Commander.
Boxy is the name of the game, starting with a traditional seven-slot grille, which is flanked by circular headlight lenses in rectangular casings; the timeless lines carrying through to the upright windshield. You won't find any wimpy curves here, it's all about solid and strong angles, paying homage to Jeep's military and off-roading roots.
|A brick wall has more curves than the 'classic' Commander. (Photo: Justin Couture, Canadian Auto Press)|
this Commander may have a bit of a retro look to it, there is a lot that is modern beyond the sheetmetal. Actually, it shares more than a few traits with the recently redesigned Grand Cherokee
. It's two inches longer, however, which allows for a third row. The Commander and the Grand Cherokee share the same suspension, powertrain and 4x4 systems. Both incorporate rack and pinion steering and an independent front suspension. Built with the same underpinnings, the Commander is just as handy off road as its brother. The new SUV has earned the coveted Trail Rated designation, meaning it has been designed to certain standards when it comes to five categories: ground clearance, traction, maneuverability, articulation and water fording. So you can have a good time getting off the beaten track with six of your closest friends.
Now hopefully some of your six closest friends are short, because
|Safety for third row occupants isn't ignored. Commander has three-point seatbelts, full head restraints and side-curtain airbags. (Photo: Justin Couture, Canadian Auto Press)|
the seating in the back row is a little tight. That being said one of the best things about the seating is that it is stadium style, meaning that each row is slightly higher than the one in front, so every one gets a great view whether it is of the road ahead or of the DVD screen. The two back rows of seats fold up and down easily as well. A simple tug on the lever allowed the seat to disappear into the floor, making the transition quick and painless. What's more, the cathedral-like roof allows for plenty of headroom for all.
The interior of the Commander is pretty sensible. The dash is peppered with multiple vents and plenty of textured grain. The gauges were easy to read and backlit in white. The centre screen and navigation system were a cinch to operate. The buttons are sturdy and the diamond-plate trim is a change from the traditional wood accents. On the new steering wheel you'll find the round Jeep logo smack dab in the centre, offset on both sides by the cruise and stereo controls.