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Review (2/2)

With Classic Jeep Design, the 2006 Jeep Commander Goes On- and Off-Road with More Size, More Seating, Safety and Security

Source: Jeep | Published: Sat Oct 15, 2005

(continued from the previous page)

Engineering

Jeep vehicles are engineered to scale obstacles that leave less capable vehicles bent and broken. Jeep Commander is no exception. It has the same underpinnings that have proven highly successful on the current Jeep Grand Cherokee, including:

  • 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)
  • Three available engines: The 3.7-liter SOHC V-6, the 4.7-liter SOHC V-8 and the incomparable 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. For the first time, a two-speed transfer case is available with the 3.7-liter engine, and two-wheel-drive capability is optional on the 5.7-liter V-8 engine. (Both options will be offered on the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee as well.)
  • Two five-speed automatic transmissions
  • Standard independent front suspension, along with rack and pinion steering

Design

Commander's all-new design was inspired by three legendary Jeep vehicles.

The Willys-Overland (1946 to 1962) was the tallest of the three, at slightly under 73 inches. The Willys-Overland was the auto industry's first all-steel station wagon. It was equipped with only two doors, but a fold-down rear hatch made loading easy. Seven-passenger capacity was achieved with a single, inboard-facing seat behind the second row of seats.

The Wagoneer (1963 to 1991) has often been called the first true sport-utility vehicle. It was lower and longer than the Willys-Overland wagon, but, like its predecessor, employed round headlamps. One difference was the Wagoneer's trapezoidal wheel openings, now a signature feature of Jeep design. A brawny 4,000 pounder, the Wagoneer was by no means aerodynamic. Still, it was less boxy than the Wagon; the windshield and rear were not as stiff. The four-door Wagoneer outsold the two-door model by wide margins.

In terms of a family resemblance, the Jeep Commander is closest to the Jeep Cherokee (1984 to 2001). The latter was 21 inches shorter, 6 inches narrower, 4 inches lower and weighed 1,000 pounds less than the first Jeep Wagoneer. The Cherokee was considered a breakthrough: It was the first UniFrame four-door compact SUV and a true car-like alternative. Additionally, it was the only compact sport utility to offer two-door and four-door models. It received rave reviews when introduced and went on to win '4x4 of the Year' from three magazines in 1984.

Commander retains important ingredients from all three vehicles, both in execution and in spirit. The result is a sport-utility vehicle with a mechanical, purpose-built appearance - rugged and unmistakably Jeep. Commander takes classic Jeep design elements - flat surfaces, upright stance, round headlamps, trapezoidal wheel openings and slotted grille - and gives them a 21st century interpretation.

Safety and Security

The 2006 Jeep Commander includes the highest levels of safety and security technology and features ever offered on a Chrysler Group vehicle. Standard features include side-curtain air bags with a roll detection system that deploys air bags in certain rollover and side-impact situations, ESP, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), tire pressure monitor and Brake Assist.

Additionally, advanced multi-stage frontal air bags with an Occupant Classification System for the front passenger are standard on Commander. This system classifies the severity of an impact event and uses additional sensor information to further modify front-passenger air bag output based on occupant size and weight. The resulting deployment could be low, medium or high output, or - in certain instances - none at all.

State-of-the-art energy-management features in the body structure and chassis work in conjunction with air bag and seat belt systems. Front seat belts are equipped with belt pretensioners and digressive load-limiting retractors. Pretensioners tighten the seat belt to help keep the occupant in place while digressive load-limiting retractors balance the load on the upper body, reducing injuries from seat belt forces. Head restraints are standard in all outboard seating positions.

Both the driver and passenger seat belts in the Commander are also equipped with BeltAlert, an enhanced seat belt reminder system that periodically activates a chime and illuminates a light in the instrument cluster to remind the driver and all passengers to buckle up.

Whether you're in traffic or out on the trail, the available SmartBeam headlamp system adjusts to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting no matter what the conditions.

Brake Assist is also standard. Using ESP, Brake Assist uses an active brake booster to increase brake output when the vehicle senses a panic braking condition. This allows for maximum braking power, providing the shortest possible stopping distance.

Technology

A number of technologies help make the Jeep Commander experience more enjoyable for driver and passengers.

The UConnect hands-free communications system uses Bluetooth technology to provide wireless communication between the customer's compatible cellular telephone and the vehicle's on-board receiver. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless networking technology that is used to connect two or more devices together.

A navigation system with MP3 player utilizes voice and on-screen directions to guide the user through the drive route, mile-by-mile and turn-by-turn, until the final destination is reached. Housed in the dashboard, the navigation system consists of a large 5.8-inch, full-color display that features an AM/FM stereo, six-disc CD changer, MP3 player and navigation system in one unit. A joystick allows the user to scroll through the navigation menus and icons quickly and effortlessly.

SIRIUS satellite radio provides Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep customers with 100 streams of the best commercial-free music, information, sports, news and entertainment coast-to-coast, 24 hours a day.

Customers can scan channels or select pre-set buttons for favorite channels. Selections can also be made both by music category and channel, which are displayed on the radio screen.

For rear-seat passenger enjoyment, Jeep Commander has an available DVD entertainment system. It consists of a center-console-mounted DVD player, overhead LCD monitor, wireless remote control and two wireless headsets. In addition to video DVDs, the system will play audio DVDs, audio CDs, MP3 audio discs and video CDs. There are also plug-in jacks on the housing to show video from a video camera, connect video games for display on the screen and play music directly from an MP3 player.

A unique feature of the DVD entertainment system is that the vehicle speakers can play audio from a disc in the DVD player while the headphones play audio from the SIRIUS satellite radio, AM/FM radio, or a disc in the radio CD player.

Jeep Commander Limited: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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