Jeep Commander and durability in off-road use - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Jeep Commander and durability in off-road use

Hi, I have a question about the durability of the Jeep Commander for “moderately hardcore” off-road use. I’m looking for both opinions and actual experience.

Background information: I am using a 1990 Mitsubishi Montero for my off-road excursions (mostly hunting in conditions such as rough BLM land in Wyoming, muddy pheasant hunting in SD, and awful mud/clay in Missouri). I like this truck for its durability (and I have enhanced the vehicle’s off-road capabilities with large tires, locking dif, etc.), but it’s about shot (250k miles). I tried using a Ford Explorer as a replacement (LOL… total failure… don’t even think about and the fragile Explorer for off-road use).

Anyway, and getting to the point, I have a Jeep Commander that has mostly been a “queen” that my wife drives only on pavement. It’s a 2006 that I got on one of those inexpensive Chrysler Financial leases. It’s a $36k SRP Commander with a V8 (but not the Limited model) and very loaded (QuadraTrak II and a bunch of other options) for $219 per month for 29 months. I’m considering purchasing the car as a lease buyout, but only if it will withstand moderately rugged off-road use.

So finally, my question: Would anyone here be willing to describe personal experience they have with the Commander as an off-road vehicle used in fairly harsh conditions. And…How does it hold up in your opinion?

--Spike
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 05:59 PM
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In my opinion the Commander definately was built to withstand moderately rugged off-road use. The only complaint I have with the Commander is ground clearance. Stock the vehicle is extreemly low to the ground. I have the 2 inch BDS lift and my commander now sits level with a majority of other SUV's. I feel that it should have came stock from the factory the height it is now, but thats nothing a 4 inch superlift cant fix. Other then that I amazed at how good the commander is off road.




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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 06:31 PM
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Go to the trail ride section and check out these threads, you will find lots of pictures & comments on how well our Commanders handle the trail.

Crown King: https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ead.php?t=6377
Sedona: https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ead.php?t=4998
VA September 08: https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ead.php?t=4751





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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07JeepXK View Post
In my opinion the Commander definately was built to withstand moderately rugged off-road use. The only complaint I have with the Commander is ground clearance. Stock the vehicle is extreemly low to the ground. I have the 2 inch BDS lift and my commander now sits level with a majority of other SUV's. I feel that it should have came stock from the factory the height it is now, but thats nothing a 4 inch superlift cant fix. Other then that I amazed at how good the commander is off road.
That’s a good point, and worthy of more discussion.

Certainly the body clearance is not great with the Commander (the vehicle doesn’t even require running boards), but when you compare the Commander’s suspension, rocker panel, and underbody clearance to the Suburban/Tahoe, Expedition, and Explorer; the Commander has better clearance. The only vehicles matching the Commander’s “real” clearance (no rubbing surfaces anywhere) is the Land Rover/Range Rover, and the Jeep Wrangler (neither of which requires running boards for easy entry and exit).

I didn’t mention the Dodge RAM, but you practically need a stepstool to enter or exit this truck.

--Spike
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a49erFan View Post
Go to the trail ride section and check out these threads, you will find lots of pictures & comments on how well our Commanders handle the trail.

Crown King: https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ead.php?t=6377
Sedona: https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ead.php?t=4998
VA September 08: https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ead.php?t=4751
Thanks for the links. I did do a search and have looked at these threads before posting my question.

Some of the information in these links describes the capabilities of Jeep Wranglers. There is no question about the Wrangler’s ability off-road. The Wrangler’s great off-road performance is one reason this vehicle enjoys the best resale value (based upon multiple sources) of any car or truck you can buy.

I was mostly interested in peoples’ experiences with the Commander when running this vehicle for sustained tough duty off-road for extended periods. I consider the Commander in the luxury category, but think that it is also a really tough vehicle as well. I was looking for confirmation of this opinion.

--Spike
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 07:53 PM
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i think i can say i have beat on mine a fair bit. i have not had any problems to date. with a 2" lift and 32" tires i have done some pretty decent trails. i've mostly hit the gas tank and muffler. i have a few dents in those.

i'd say the body is pretty stout. you can really twist the suspension up and all the doors will open just fine. you can't do that with many unibody vehicles.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 08:16 PM
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With my not exactly limited off-road use - Rockies in Colorado (I'm sure there are videos and pics around here somewhere - if not they are on YouTube under PolarBZ), playing in the sand in Savannah, Georgia, and the Rockies in Montana - I give the Commander an "A-" for off-road use. I would not hesitate to take it anywhere I wanted to. In fact, I'm looking at a Rubicon Trail trip sometime in the future.

However, I would defer on off-roadability to GetLost4x4 or Phunkeydude and some others around here.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 08:21 PM
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I've beat on mine! It's a blast! I've bent the front bumper into weird angles, and almost tore the back one off, ( i got hung-up on the back-end while trying to cross a ditch..)
It'll handle just about anything you can throw at it! With a lift and some different tires, your good-to-go!

It's a JEEP thing!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for taking time to reply.

Your experience is pretty much what I expected (hoped) to hear. I think I will buy the Commander when it is off-lease if I can get the right price. I really like this vehicle (the Jeep Commander):
  • The undercarriage is substantial. It looks over-built and designed for rugged use.
  • I really think its clearance is superior (even as “not modified” with a lift kit). You can enter and exit the vehicle easily without running boards, and its real off-road clearance (everything higher and not rubbing) is better than Ford (Expedition and Explorer) or GM (Tahoe or Suburban).
  • The Commander drives better than a Tahoe (which feels more like a bathtub half filled with water).
  • The Commander’s turning radius is superior to any of the vehicles from Ford or GM. That is a useful feature when maneuvering during off-road driving.
Truthfully, everything I see in the Commander tells me this is an over-built and very tough vehicle. I really like the fact that is it both a luxury and a tough off-road solution.

--Spike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Get Lost 4X4 View Post
i think i can say i have beat on mine a fair bit. i have not had any problems to date. with a 2" lift and 32" tires i have done some pretty decent trails. i've mostly hit the gas tank and muffler. i have a few dents in those.

i'd say the body is pretty stout. you can really twist the suspension up and all the doors will open just fine. you can't do that with many unibody vehicles.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolarBZ View Post
With my not exactly limited off-road use - Rockies in Colorado (I'm sure there are videos and pics around here somewhere - if not they are on YouTube under PolarBZ), playing in the sand in Savannah, Georgia, and the Rockies in Montana - I give the Commander an "A-" for off-road use. I would not hesitate to take it anywhere I wanted to. In fact, I'm looking at a Rubicon Trail trip sometime in the future.

However, I would defer on off-roadability to GetLost4x4 or Phunkeydude and some others around here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old McDonald View Post
I've beat on mine! It's a blast! I've bent the front bumper into weird angles, and almost tore the back one off, ( i got hung-up on the back-end while trying to cross a ditch..)
It'll handle just about anything you can throw at it! With a lift and some different tires, your good-to-go!

It's a JEEP thing!
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