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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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My observations from a long road trip

Over the holidays my wife and I (along with a dog and a cat) drove from Las Vegas to Western Montana to Park City, Utah and back (about 2000 miles in total) mostly on I-15. The first leg of the trip (Las Vegas to Montana) was done in 15 hrs in one shot. The Jeep was loaded up with cargo for the trip including Christmas presents, ski equipment, pet stuff, suitcases and the kitchen sink was in there somehwere as well. We averaged about 80MPH for the trip with some stretches in Montana hitting 90, 95.

My impressions:

1. Driving through the mountains of Utah, Idaho and Montana was great, even loaded up as we were. Very smooth ride even at high speeds and going uphill was a breeze. Made me think the extra $$$ I paid to get the hemi was well worth it. The one thing I did notice which is a little irritating was engine lag at around 70MPH. At that speed when you hit the gas there is a (for lack of a better term) growl and some vibration that goes away when you hit 80. Anyone else find this?

- As an aside, anyone driving through Salt Lake City on I-15, there is a state trooper every 2-3 miles it seems so when the speed limit changes from 75 to 55, slow down, they are waiting!!

2. Seats were very comfy. I have back lower back issues and a long road trip can hurt, but in the Commander all was well. I had a little stiffness the day after the 15 hr drive but given my back history, that was great.

3. Sirius worked 99.9% of the time. This was in all weather conditions and through the mountains. I had read a review saying there had been problems reported with Sirius reception, I found none.

4. Highway fuel economy: when driving 65 about 18.5MPG. At 75, 16MPG. At 85 14.5MPG. At 90 13MPG. This was in 25-40 degree temps.

5. Snow, slush..bring it on. I could not be more pleased with the performance in the snow and we saw plenty of it.

6. In Park City, UT I had 2 separate couples stop and ask me about the Jeep, one in the parking garage of my condo, the other in the parking lot of Deer Valley. I also saw maybe 5 or 6 others around town. For those of you who know PC, that is quite telling as your average driver there is looking for the latest and greatest and coolest to be seen in. This is the Rover/Lexus/BMW crowd and if they are giving the Commander their blessing, it will do well.

7. Parking sensors stopped working for a day then the next day, started up again. I hope this is an isolated incident and not a sign that there are electronic gremlins inside - the same gremlins that live in my Saab and used to live in my Audi.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 01:31 PM
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Re: My observations from a long road trip

Park sensors might have gotten covered with slush or something that was screwing with their operation.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 02:58 PM
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Re: My observations from a long road trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by edlv
1. Driving through the mountains of Utah, Idaho and Montana was great, even loaded up as we were. Very smooth ride even at high speeds and going uphill was a breeze. Made me think the extra $$$ I paid to get the hemi was well worth it. The one thing I did notice which is a little irritating was engine lag at around 70MPH. At that speed when you hit the gas there is a (for lack of a better term) growl and some vibration that goes away when you hit 80. Anyone else find this?
We took ours on a road trip the day after we purchased it. Due to break-in, I was varrying my speed during the whole way so I was paying close attention to the speed and the behavior if the Jeep during the trip. I did not notice what you are describing.

Glad to hear you had a nice trip! We will be taking ours out of town again at the end of this month when we go to Durango for our ski trip. Its about 1500miles round trip..Cant wait!!


As for your possible gremlins...could be isolated..I hope anyways...but you never know. The warranty should cover it if there are problems.
Becuase of the complexity of this Jeep, I got the 84mo/85000 mile warranty on mine.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 04:46 PM
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Impressions from the first drive - terrible

I congratulate myself on making a very poor choice.
First I must say that the ride is very cofortable at any speed. I've got standard 4.7 V8 and the thing is fully loaded but I didn't get Limited. But.....
Next day after picking the car up we drove mostly on highway for 400 miles - 200 miles Chicago to Galena, some driving around Galena and back.
1. The mileage averages 14 mpg vs advertized 15 city/19 hwy - horrible.
I had SUV's since 1983 Grand Wagoner followed by 2 Exporers and 2 full size 2001 Montero. '83 Wagoneer did 12 city 17 hwy exceeding this car by 3mpg.
2. Since the gas tank is bearly 20 gallons you'll have to stop for gas before you say oh, *#$%. From the moment you drive from the gas station, the needle plummets. If you do 250 miles on a tank of gas you're lucky. I was doing 380 on Montero on hwy and 300 in city. My mileage never differed from advertized figures by more than +/- 1mpg, thus it ain't my driving habits in case you wondered.
3. My wife is 5'-7" and the only thing she could see upfront is a dash - the road is not visible. The passenger seat is too low and the height is not adjustable (not even on Limited). She said she might as well ride in the trunk. The girls with height lower than her won't even see top of the dash.
4. The seat heater is a total screw-up. While Montero's heaters had 2 settings - hi and lo, either being comfortable. There is only one setting on Jeep and in 5 minutes it will burn the skin right off your ass.
I am getting all the compliments from people on awesome looking truck and my wife is calling me crazy.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 05:39 PM
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Re: My observations from a long road trip

I'd sure hope your mileage will improve markedly as you put more miles on your Commander.

I hit the reset button as I started onto the freeway for a recent 200 mile trip on my Commander (4.7 V8, also) and it indicated I was getting between 18.5-20.3 mpg while I was on the highway. This is with about 3300 miles on the vehicle, btw, and at around 70 mph.

The seats are hot but you _do_ have two stages. Press the button a second time and they'll cool down quite a bit. You'll see either one or two lights on the dash buttons to know which heat level you're at.

My daughter (15) is 4'10" and seems ok with the front seat -- haven't had her complain while I drive her to school, but of course she's still asleep that early. We noticed that even with the adjustable pedals she'll have trouble with the ergonomics in the driver's seat -- not sure what vehicle out there is going to be good for her at her height, though.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-03-2006, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Impressions from the first drive - terrible

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey
1. The mileage averages 14 mpg vs advertized 15 city/19 hwy - horrible.
I had SUV's since 1983 Grand Wagoner followed by 2 Exporers and 2 full size 2001 Montero. '83 Wagoneer did 12 city 17 hwy exceeding this car by 3mpg.

3. My wife is 5'-7" and the only thing she could see upfront is a dash - the road is not visible. The passenger seat is too low and the height is not adjustable (not even on Limited). She said she might as well ride in the trunk. The girls with height lower than her won't even see top of the dash.

4. The seat heater is a total screw-up. While Montero's heaters had 2 settings - hi and lo, either being comfortable. There is only one setting on Jeep and in 5 minutes it will burn the skin right off your ass.
I am getting all the compliments from people on awesome looking truck and my wife is calling me crazy.
#1...like I said in my post if you keep it at 65 you'll get the 18 MPG. I assumed if the EPA (or whomever does the testing) says 14/18 that means driving like grandma and in the real world take 15-20% off that.

#3 I'd agree with you there that there should be height adjustment available but my wife is 5' 8" and she's fine, at least she hasn't mentioned anything.

#4 There are 2 settings on the LTD, don;t know about the non-LTD though. The high is a little hot but the low is perfectly toasty.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-04-2006, 08:39 AM
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Re: Impressions from the first drive - terrible

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey
1. The mileage averages 14 mpg vs advertized 15 city/19 hwy - horrible.
I had SUV's since 1983 Grand Wagoner followed by 2 Exporers and 2 full size 2001 Montero. '83 Wagoneer did 12 city 17 hwy exceeding this car by 3mpg.
2. Since the gas tank is bearly 20 gallons you'll have to stop for gas before you say oh, *#$%. From the moment you drive from the gas station, the needle plummets. If you do 250 miles on a tank of gas you're lucky. I was doing 380 on Montero on hwy and 300 in city. My mileage never differed from advertized figures by more than +/- 1mpg, thus it ain't my driving habits in case you wondered.
3. My wife is 5'-7" and the only thing she could see upfront is a dash - the road is not visible. The passenger seat is too low and the height is not adjustable (not even on Limited). She said she might as well ride in the trunk. The girls with height lower than her won't even see top of the dash.
4. The seat heater is a total screw-up. While Montero's heaters had 2 settings - hi and lo, either being comfortable. There is only one setting on Jeep and in 5 minutes it will burn the skin right off your ass.
I am getting all the compliments from people on awesome looking truck and my wife is calling me crazy.
LOL!
#1#2 Hopefully your MPG will improve with more miles. Keep in mind this is a V-8 pulling around a 5000lb vehicle and its ALL WHEEL DRIVE (assuming you got the 4x4 model), all the time. Ours got right around 15.8 mpg on our first 2 tank fulls..this was during our road trip,,,speeds varried from 65 mph to 80 mph and we were driving through wind gusts of 25 to 45 mph on both days. I cant explain why yours mileage is so bad but I'd give it time. Everyone should be an informed consumer. As an informed consumer, you would know that these days sticker mpg figures are B.S. They are calculated under very controlled conditions and at an "optimum" speed. I personally believe they are even slightly padded to help sell the vehicles in this current world of 2 + dollars a gallon gas. So when I look at the vehicle mpg sticker ratings, I deduct a few mpg for "real world" conditions to get the actual figures. Also, were any of your past vehicles v-8s, weigh 5000lbs or have full time 4 wheel drive? If yur milage is still very poor after you get some miles on the vehicle, I'd guess theres something wrong and I would have it checked out.
As for the fuel tank size.... they can only do so much with the size of the gas tank. 20 gallons is a bit too smal IMO but, in comparison, my truck's (F-150 4x4) gas tank is only 24 gallons. This is a feature that is easy to find out...then you do some simple math and you'll know, before you buy the vehicle, approx how far you can go on a tank of gas. Again, this is something you should take into consideration BEFORE you buy your vehicle? I know I did, and it was something I decided I could live with. GEEZ I cant believe anyone would complain about this AFTER they buy the vehicle...you have every chance to think about these things BEFORE you purchase.

#3 My wife is 5'3"..she has no compaints about the front seat. I noticed this the first time I rode in the passenger seat..during one of our 3 test drives. I asked my wife to pay close attention to it when she was in the passenger seat (during our test drives) she said it didnt bother her at all. If you read your manual you'll know why the seat is where it is and why you cant adjust the height. They put the seat at this level for a PARTICULAR reason. Its because of the airbag and safety restraint system. If the seat is any higher than this it would cause problems with the restraint system working in the way it was designed to work. In other words....This thing has passenger side airbags and knee bolsters that are designed to work best with the passenger seat at that particular height. One question I have is....did you guys test drive a Commander before you purchased? You and your wife would have realised immediately that the seat was low..maybe too low for her liking and that there was no adjustment for height. Before your wife relagates herself to riding in a trunk...have her check out the back seat of the Commander..The 'Command View" stadium seating will give her a much better view of the road than any trunk...or even the passenger front seat in this case. LOL!!

#4..allready been touched on.. I think there are two settings for all the trim levels for the Jeep heated seats..I know oours has high and low, yours should to. (according to the owners manual, which is a pretty handy tool for a vehicle with this many features...)When you select high, the heat is boosted for a few minutes so it gets hot fast. Then it seettles down to normal high mode. Low heat is just that..low heat. Its alot more comfy in the low setting on not so cold days...did you read your ownwers manual? Did your salesman go over your all your features when you took delivery?


Good luck to you. I hope your ownership experience gets better...or you can always trade it in.

Last edited by Daytomann; 01-04-2006 at 01:47 PM.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-04-2006, 01:47 PM
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Re: My observations from a long road trip

FWIW...
Personally, I cant believe somone would have the guts to get on a forum like this and start a thread with the following words...."I congratulate myself on making a very poor choice." without feeling very embarrassed.
With all the vast information available to consumers on the Information Super Highway and the ability to ask questions to several sources...there is no way anyone with any common sense should make a poor choice for a vehicle that is going to put them in debt for 30,000 or more dollars. There are forums like this where you can post up any question you have (be it dumb or not) and people will answer you. I found several previews and first drive impressions from proffesionals (of which a few mentioned the low passenger seat hieght..all of them mentioned the fuell economy) and I found dozens of owner reviews. Theres more than enough information out there to help you make the RIGHT choice. Plus what ever happened to your own personal test drive impressions? We test drove a Commander 3 times before we decided on one. We drove it as long as WE felt we needed to, not how long the salesman wanted us to. Both my wife and I drove it, rode in the passenger seat, in the back seat and in the 3rd row seat. We took it to a parking lot to see how it parked and how tightly it turned. We tested out the rear parking sensor to see how it worked. We drove it on back streets and a jaunt on the highway. We put it in 4 wheel low. And yes, we even turned on the heated seats...
Maybe its just me but anyone who posts up on a owner website/vehicle specific forum..such as this one, with a beginning statement like "I congratulate myself on making a very poor choice." just tells me that they are not very smart when it comes to making major purchases. Sorry, thats just MHO.

Last edited by Daytomann; 01-04-2006 at 01:55 PM.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-04-2006, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My observations from a long road trip

I'd have to agree with you there Daytomann. I too test drove the Jeep 3 times (actually 5 times as I drove the various engines more than once) on 3 separate occasions. My wife was with me on 2 of those drives, both as passenger and driver (never tested the 3rd row seats as I doubt either one of us will ever use 'em). I played around with all the buttons, heating options (including heated seats), played with the seat memory settings, radio setting, NAV system etc. The average test drive was probably 25-30 mins and included freeway driving which is an absolute must on any test drive, no matter if the freeway is 20 miles away from the dealer.

I read some more reviews, went on discussion boards, got the opinions of friends who are well versed in car talk. Everything I read was essentially this: Great SUV, lots of power, kinda funky styling, BUT AWFUL FUEL ECONOMY, I repeat BAD BAD BAD fueld economy, do not buy this if you care about MPG!!" Anyone who bought one and then discovered that it sucks gas obviously did no research.

I suspect that I (and you) am in the minority of car buyers. The reason car dealers can still rip-off customers in today's world of nformation overflow is that most people see a TV ad, walk into a showroom, take a 5 minute test drive around the block, inhale that new car smell, listen to a salesman talk about the wonders of the latest and greates technology and before they know it they are driving home a new car that they don't want and in many cases cannot afford.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-04-2006, 02:13 PM
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Re: My observations from a long road trip

About mpg figures....sorry I have some time on my hands today..
I took about 5 mins and found the following info.
2006 ford Explorer 4.6L v-8 4x4..curb weight 4600lbs, 6spd tranny.
Sticker mpg figures 14/city 20/hwy
I found a "first drive review" on autosite.com
their Observed fuel economy was 13.2mpg. (HMMM, its under the sticker specs, what a surprise)
And thats from a truck with a smaller motor, weighs less and has a 6 speed tranny. Even Ford touts their new 4.6L as more fuel efficient than before.
Now plug in your truck's specs and do some figuring and you'll find out its really not all that bad.
All the SUVs in this market segment is gonna have bad gas milage. The LR3 were considering got the same bad gas milage as all the rest. Even the H3 with its little I-5 gets bad milage, way below what the sticker says. (GM's main reason they went with the I-5 was becuase it had decent torque numbers for off roading and becuase they wanted to get better fuel economy) well, they got one out of 2....somehow that better fuel economy buzz word just doesnt pan out in the real world.

Last edited by Daytomann; 01-04-2006 at 02:22 PM.
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