Thursday, March 30, 2006

2007 Jeep Commander Overland?

The almost certain possibility of Jeep releasing an Overland version of the Jeep Commander in 2007 was anounced recently by The luxurious Overland trim in the Commander would include platinum color wheels, body side moldings and grille, woodgrain accents in the steering wheel, bezels and doors, and of course a 5.7L HEMI® engine.

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Jeep Commander with Permanent A/C

Just kidding... This special show vehicle was made to give a full view of the interior of the Commander in last year's Frankfurt Auto Show. One thing is to see this vehicle at the showroom floor, and another one, much more intriguing, is to see it in a street setting, like in this picture that I found at a Japanese car site.

Tags: , , ,

Jeep Commander Test Drive Video

The folks at Inside Line, an website, bring us this interesting Jeep Commander Test Drive Video. It is around three minutes long and it will show you the Commander in action, as well as give you an overview of the Commander's main features.

Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Is a Jeep Commander Diesel Coming to America?

After the good reception given to the 2.8L CRD 4 cylinder Turbo-Diesel Jeep Liberty, the folks at Jeep may already be considering offering a Diesel Commander in the States, equipped with the 3.0L CRD V6 Diesel powerplant currently offered in the European Commander. Last week, the rumor mill had it that a couple of Commanders with a Diesel engine had been seen around the Detroit area, apparently undergoing testing.

This is what DaimlerChrysler has to say about the V6 Diesel:

"The all-new 3.0-litre V-6 CRD engine is a “next-generation” power unit from the DaimlerChrysler Group producing class-leading levels of power and torque, with good fuel economy. With Bosch high-pressure fuel injection (2000+ bar), a variable geometry turbocharger and four valves per cylinder, the new engine meets Euro 4 emissions standards without a diesel particulate filter. Maximum power is 160 kW (218 hp DIN) and peak torque is 510 N•m (376 lb.-ft.) from just 1800 rpm. "

I believe this engine would be a much welcome option in the Commander, and it would be interesting to see if the Jeep folks have the good sense to make it available shortly. Stay tuned.

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, March 24, 2006

Jeep Commander Engine Options

Jeep Commander buyers can choose between three different engines:

· 3.7L V6
· 4.7L Magnum® V8
· 5.7L HEMI® V8

Those opting for the standard, base level Commander will receive the 3.L V6, but may choose the 4.7L Magnum V8 as an option (with package 28S). The privilege of the larger engine will cost $720.

The HEMI is not offered as an option with the base level Commander. If you want the HEMI, you will have to start with the Limited version of the Commander, which offers goodies such as heated leather seats, improved sound system, etc., and comes standard with the 4.7L Magnum V8. To get the HEMI you must choose package 25H, which will set you back $845 vs. the price of a base Commander Limited.

Let’s talk about performance. The base 3.6L V6 boasts 210-hp at 5,200 RPM and produces 235 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 RPM.

The 4.7L Magnum V8 produces 235 horsepower at 4,500 RPM and 305 pounds-feet of torque at 3,600 RPM.

This is only a 12% difference in hp between the 4.7L V8 and the 3.7L V6. However, the significant difference is the torque: 305 lb.-ft. @ 3,600 RPM vs. 235 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 RPM. As any off-roader worth his/her salt knows, this is a significant difference (almost 30% more) and not only that: the peak torque in the V8 is produced at lower RPM. This means that the 4.7L Magnum V8 is a much better option if you plan to do a lot of driving off-pavement, where high torque at low RPM is a desirable.

Now to the HEMI. The 5.7L HEMI V8 produces a whopping 330-hp at 4,500 RPM and 375 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 RPM. That is a lot of torque for the off-road enthusiast, and a much welcome hp rating to motivate the Commander on the road, considering that it weights 6,200+ lbs.

Fuel economy is not the Commander’s forte, with highway mileage for the 2wd models rated at 21mpg for the V6, 20mpg for the 4.7L V8, and 19mpg for the HEMI. For those opting for the HEMI, there is the small consolation that in light acceleration or cruising speed its Multi-Displacement System (MDS) deactivates 4 of the 8 cylinders to achieve up to 20% fuel economy (which theoretically would improve highway mileage on a 2wd vehicle to around 23mpg).

Just a few simple tips can help owners of Chrysler Group engines with Multi-Displacement System (MDS) get the most fuel mileage possible from their 5.7L HEMI® V8 engine.

  • Keeping speeds to 65 mph or below – MDS uses four cylinder mode most at these speeds
  • Use cruise control – this helps maintain a steady speed, generally allowing the HEMI to run on four cylinders for longer periods
  • Accelerate more gradually – the HEMI will provide V8 power whenever it is requested by the driver
  • Use a steady throttle whenever possible – this maximizes four cylinder mode

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) Jeep Commander

American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), the company that created the Brute, and specializes in retrofitting Hemi engines into TJ Jeeps, is planning to recreate the 1980 National Geographic Iceland expedition, using only modified Jeeps, including an AEV prepped Jeep Commander (see above picture), featuring among other things a Superlift 4" lift and Interco 39.5x13.50x17 tires. No word yet on when the expedition will start.

Tags: , , ,

Readers' Rigs: A Jeep Commander in Hawaii

Iven just sent us these kick butt pictures of his dark blue 2006 Limited with Hemi engine, taken in Sandy Beach, near his home in Oahu, Hawaii. The pictures look great, but there is a catch: Iven is a professional photographer ;)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Readers' Rigs: Eric's Silver HEMI Limited

Eric sends us this great picture of his new Silver 06 Limited with a HEMI engine, taken near Lake Dillon, Colorado. Eric is waiting for the snow to melt so that he can test it in high altitude (and sleep in it too...).

Tags: , , ,

Jeep Commander Aces NHTSA Crash Test

The Jeep Commander earned high marks in the latest round of crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The full size Jeep got five stars for both seating positions in frontal crashes. Side impact tests were not conducted. To see how other cars performed read this article. (Update: watch a video of the crash test here)

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jeep Commander a hit with AAA and Parent's Magazine

The Jeep Commander has made it to the AAA and Parent's magazine list of "Best Cars for Families" for 2006. The Commander was named in the SUV category. Three of the most important criteria to making the list are safety, performance and value. Two other Chrysler vehicles were also named in other categories. Read the full press release.

Tags: , , , ,

Readers' Rigs: Justin's Black Commander from Arizona

Justin sends us these "before" and "after" pictures of his sharp looking V6 black Commander. He traded his stockers for 20" rims and tires, and installed a Limited grille and Mopar tubular side steps. Great looking ride Justin... thanks for the pictures.

If you are a Jeep Commander owner and would like your vehicle featured in this blog, just send me pictures and a brief description to:

Tags: , , ,

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Readers' Rigs: Randy's Hemi 5.7L

Randy's midnight blue Commander is shown in this picture taken in Orange County, California. Randy's Commander has the 5.7L Hemi and has just had a Gibson Performance exhaust installed. Randy's rig was the prototype vehicle used by Gibson's R&D's team to develop the exhaust kit. So far, Randy is very pleased with the results; he likes the "meaty" exhaust tone and the fact that is doesn't resonate inside the cabin. Randy uses his Commander for off-roading and some family hauling duties. His next upgrade will be a K&N intake kit, which is now in development.
If you would like your Jeep Commander featured in this blog, just send your pictures and a brief paragraph with the most relevant features of your vehicle to:

Tags: , , ,

Jeep Commander in the Oscars

Those Chrysler PR guys sure were busy during Oscar night, as celebrities were caught being shuttled around in shiny black 300C's and Jeep Commanders. Here's a picture of one of the black Commanders, with Uma Thurman in the background. Nice headlights...

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, March 10, 2006

Jeep Commander Limited vs. Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer

The Jeep Commander and the Ford Explorer butt heads in this entertaining comparo by Car and Driver magazine. At the end, when all is said and done, the Commander comes out a winner.

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Jeep Commander selling at a decent rate

I just read this article that shows the average number of days that different car makes and models stay on dealers lot before being sold. The Jeep Commander spends an average of 48 days on the lot, better than the industry average. Interesting article...

The clear winner is Toyota, and its brands Lexus and Scion; they are on fire. The Lexus IS and the Scion tc spend an average of only 10 and 11 days on the lot respectively (buyers literally snap them up as fast as they can).

On the losers side, the Chrysler Crossfire spends an avereage more than 300 days on the lot! If you're looking for a car, and brand is not that important to you, you may want to take a look at the laggards on this table, as dealers may be willing to bend over backwards to get those suckers off the lot...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Readers' Rigs: Red Commander on the Trail

Every now and then we publish pictures of Jeep Commanders taken by their owners. This time we have Craig's brand new red Limited with Off-Road package, having a great time on a Jefferson National Forest trail. Follow this link to see all his pictures.

Tags: , , , ,

K&N Performance Intake Kit for Jeep Commander

A performance intake kit is a relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade that will give you a noticeable horsepower improvement immediately. It is not uncommon to gain 5-10 HP with one of these things. The concept is simple: your vehicle will inhale more air and that will increase power and acceleration.

Probably no other company knows more about performance intake kits that K&N, makers of the world's best air filters. They offer their performance intake kit number 77-1548KP for Jeep Commanders with the 4.7 V8 engine (a kit is not yet available for the 3.7 V6 or the 5.7 Hemi V8). This performance intake kit claims a 7.96 Horsepower gain over the stock air filter setup. Each kit comes with detailed instructions to facilitate installation.

K&N also offers another intake kit, the 63-1548, which claims an even larger Horsepower gain (9.47 HP), however it is not street legal in all 50 states.

For owners of Commanders with the 5.7L Hemi V8, there is the K&N replacement air filter. While not as effective as an intake kit, these filters last a lifetime and allow more air than the stock OEM air filters.

Jeep Commander in Coral Gables Jazz Festival

I just came back from a jazz festival here in Coral Gables, Florida, where Jeep was one of the sponsors. Jeep had four cars on display: a Grand Cherokee (which every day looks more like a Chrysler Pacifica on steroids), a Jeep Liberty (mostly stock, nothing special) and a black Jeep Commander in full chrome gear, ultra low profile tires and 22" rims (it almost gave the impression that a pimp was driving by, got lost and just left his ride right there, in the middle of the street; I didn't have my camera but it looked just like this one).

The fourth one, a Jeep Wrangler Rescue Concept, was the only vehicle on display that evoqued qualities normally associated with the Jeep brand (ruggedness, trail-worthiness, no nonsense function over form design, the outdoors lifestyle, etc.). The fact that this is a nine year old concept (it was first shown in 1997) really tells you where the minds and hearts of Jeep's branding gurus have been lately: too busy trying to adapt to the aesthetics and attitudes pushed by the hip hop crowd and the entertaining industry to pay attention to protecting the core values that made the Jeep brand great. I can't help but think that this is a very dangerous game... Jeep runs the risk of becoming an also run in an already crowded playing field.

I have nothing against brands adapting to changing tastes and consumer preferences, expanding their market reach, and making some compromises to remain profitable, but at the same time I believe that brands have to work even harder to protect their core. If four Jeeps are on display at a mass event, and three of them are not representative of the brand's core value, one has to conclude that Jeep's marketing folks are having serious identity issues. Time for me to make a qualifying statement, though: contrary to what many people think, I don't think the Commander was a mistake (bringing back the unapologetically square lines of the Cherokee is a step in the right direction), but when you outfit the one Commander you are going to display with 22" rims and chrome accessories up the wazzoo, you are giving ammunition to those that insist that Jeep is selling out. Jeep's marketing gurus need to wake up, smell (and drink) the coffee, and get to work at protecting the core, or in a few years there will be nothing left to protect.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Jeep Commander 0% Financing Incentive

DaimlerChrysler has decided to extend the 0% financing incentive on the Jeep Commander (and other models) until March 31st. Good news for those who are seriously considering buying Jeep's seven-seat flagship...

Tags: , , , ,

Chrysler releases US February sales figures

DaimlerChrysler has just released sales figures for February. US sales of all DaimlerChrysler vehicles for February 06 increased 4% vs. the same month last year. The Jeep brand reported an increase of 11%, including 7,091 units of the new Jeep Commander. The Commander accounted for almost 18% of all Jeep sales in units.

Tags: , , ,