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It's difficult to find much love for large, boxy, V8-powered SUVs these days, even with gas prices significantly lower than they were last summer. However, there are still those with valid reasons to look for a body-on-frame sport-ute with lots of horses – towing boats, trailers or, well, horses.

But all those Yukons and Expeditions and Durangos are virtually useless when the road gets more than a little rough – they’re usually equipped with big, low-hanging front fascias and fiberglass running boards. What’s really needed is a seven-seat V8-powered SUV created by the company synonymous with off-road expertise.

No, we're not talking about the latest Toyota Land Cruiser, but the venerable Jeep Commander. Created in 2006 in response to all of Jeep's competitors growing third row seats, the Commander is really a throwback to the old Wagoneer that stayed in production for 27 years.

The first thing you'll notice is the very upright styling, which owes much to the original Cherokee, albeit in 11/10th scale. The Commander is also unique in that its beltline is really low for a modern design, meaning visibility is really quite excellent. Because the rear seats are mounted higher than the fronts – what's referred to as stadium seating – in order to aid passenger comfort, the roof is actually stepped, although unlike the Nissan Xterra or GMC Envoy, the Jeep's is hidden by the standard roof rails.

Otherwise, the Commander's design is obviously aimed at aiding off-road ability, thanks to decent approach and departure angles. Under the skin, it looks remarkably similar to the Grand Cherokee, including the coil-sprung independent front suspension and beam-axle rear end.

More: 2009 Jeep Commander on AutoGuide.com
 

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Finally, a good review by someone who understands.

Chrysler needs to advertise the Commander instead of seemingly hanging its head. Chrysler and Jeep ads seem to have given up on the Commander.

There is so much that the Commander offers, great 4 wheel drive for snow and rain safety, full curtain airbags, luxury and comfort, good towing capacities, and fun to drive, whether you go off-road or not.
 

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It is about time they announced the 2009 model year Commander, only been available for 6 months now.
 

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Hi,

I'm new here and I'm getting back into off road after 20+ years. I've spoken to a few folks here and want to say thanks for the help and advice. This is a great site!!

I've had my Commander since January. I went to buy a Sahara and was soon looking at Cherokees. I wanted something I knew could take a pounding, but the wife also wanted some comfort. The salesman took us over to the Commanders and that was that.

I don't understand why these aren't more heavily advertised. They are perfect for the weekend warriors who also need to drive them to work everyday. Living in Colorado, it's also great not to worry about the weather and if you will be able to get to work after one of the notorious blizzards here.

I love this beast and look forward to having it for many years.

Jim
 

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Hey, Jim. How is Tammy ?
 

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Hi,

I'm new here and I'm getting back into off road after 20+ years. I've spoken to a few folks here and want to say thanks for the help and advice. This is a great site!!

Jim
Greetings, Check out our Camp Commander in Colorado this summer. CLICK HERE
 

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That is SOOOOO bad. I don't think there is one of those jokes I haven't heard. I got some satisfaction in having him mop floors for me in the 90's. You gotta love justice. :)
I wondered how you'ld take that. I guess you have to sense of humor.:)
 

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Too bad no diesel option in N. America

Finally, a good review by someone who understands.

Chrysler needs to advertise the Commander instead of seemingly hanging its head. Chrysler and Jeep ads seem to have given up on the Commander.

There is so much that the Commander offers, great 4 wheel drive for snow and rain safety, full curtain airbags, luxury and comfort, good towing capacities, and fun to drive, whether you go off-road or not.
Agreed... finally a "fair and balanced" (truly) review that gives an honest appraisal of the XK.

Considering all the knocks on fuel economy, I have to agree with the reviewer:

Incredibly, the high-tech, torquey and reliable 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 offered in the Grand Cherokee is not even an option in North American Commander models, although it is available overseas.
I keep hearing about how Americans will never buy "smelly" diesels, diesel (fuel) is more expensive than gasoline, etc.... but come on, a high-torque, small-block turbo diesel is just the ticket to fix the mileage problem. Too bad Chrysler (marketing) isn't allowing us N. American's the ability to choose this as an option. With the XK fading into history - after this model year - I guess we'll just never know how good of a match it would've been.

Other than that issue, I like my XK - and will likely buy an '09 when I hit lease-end in October. Just wish I could get it diesel "scented" instead of one with "gas."
 

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Regarding diesel, I don't think they smell as bad as they used to. Better technology and reduced sulphur fuels.
 

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I dunno,

The Grand Cherokee w/3.0 road tests were not real impressive.

Fuel mileage was marginally better than the gas motors.
Torque, as all diesels, was impressive, relative to displacement, but not a whole lot more than the 5.7 (memory says was about the same, just lower R.P.M.).

But, overall, not a real compelling option.

Rob
 
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