2008 Jeep Commander SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Jeep Commander SUV

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Jeep Commander Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.7 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 330 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Jeep Commander

  • Though providing plenty of power and impressive off-roading characteristics, the 2008 Jeep Commander is a lackluster choice for a midsize SUV due to its compromised interior room and poor fuel economy.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Stout V8 engines, comfortable and quiet interior, capable in off-road situations, plenty of luxury and entertainment features.

  • Cons

    Adult-unfriendly third-row legroom, unimpressive cargo capacity for its class, lackluster fuel economy, unintuitive MyGIG controls.

  • What's New for 2008

    Engine and feature upgrades are in store for the 2008 Jeep Commander. The 4.7-liter V8 is considerably more powerful this year as well as being slightly more fuel efficient. Off-road technology and versatility are bolstered with the Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist electronic driving aids as part of the Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system. Inside, the Commander has five-passenger seating available for the first time. To entertain the troops, this year's Commander can now be had with the hard-drive-based "MyGIG" infotainment system and Sirius Backseat TV.

Full 2008 Jeep Commander Review

What's New for 2008

Engine and feature upgrades are in store for the 2008 Jeep Commander. The 4.7-liter V8 is considerably more powerful this year as well as being slightly more fuel efficient. Off-road technology and versatility are bolstered with the Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist electronic driving aids as part of the Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system. Inside, the Commander has five-passenger seating available for the first time. To entertain the troops, this year's Commander can now be had with the hard-drive-based "MyGIG" infotainment system and Sirius Backseat TV.

Introduction

Jeep's big people mover is back for its third year of production. It's the only seven-passenger SUV in Jeep's lineup, and it carries the burden of providing rugged off-road abilities with luxury and convenience features for the whole family.

Though its blocky exterior styling is obviously influenced by the beloved Cherokee of the 1980s and '90s, the Commander is actually related to the current Grand Cherokee. It rides on the same wheelbase but is a little longer and notably taller. The height gain, in particular, allows the addition of stadium-style rear seating and a 50/50-split fold-flat third-row seat.

For 2008, the Jeep Commander receives a few significant changes. Under the hood you'll find a revised version of the optional 4.7-liter V8 engine. It now makes 305 horsepower, a whopping 70-hp increase over last year's 4.7-liter V8. Jeep even says that the new engine is slightly more fuel efficient (although gas mileage is still pretty abysmal). The base V6 and top-shelf 5.7-liter V8 remain, but we think that the vast majority of buyers will be quite satisfied with the new 4.7-liter V8.

Inside, the tranquil and straightforward design benefits from new technology updates. Chrysler's increasingly common MyGIG entertainment system, a hard-drive-based navigation system that can also store and play digital music files, has replaced the old DVD-based navigation system. There's also Sirius Backseat TV, which provides three channels of kid-friendly entertainment for the optional rear-seat entertainment system. Sadly, there's no NFL Network for Dad.

While these changes are welcome, the 2008 Jeep Commander still suffers from problems it had from the outset. Most significantly, its cargo capacity is meager for this segment of vehicle and the third-row seat -- the whole reason for the Commander in the first place -- is cramped and suitable for small children only. Meanwhile, the tall height and rugged suspension don't do the vehicle any favors in terms of on-road manners. Though still a decent choice for a shopper wanting real off-road ability plus seven-passenger capacity, we think most shoppers will be better off with more well-rounded midsize SUV choices like the Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner. And if seven-passenger capacity is a priority, crossovers like GMC's Acadia or Mazda's CX-9 are also excellent choices.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Jeep Commander is a midsize SUV. The three basic trim levels are Sport, Limited and Overland. The entry-level Sport can now be had in five- or seven-passenger configurations. They both come standard with 17-inch wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a rear park assist system, heated side mirrors and a CD player.

Stepping up to the Commander Limited gets you seven-passenger capacity, a rear back-up camera, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, power-adjustable pedals, power front seats with driver memory settings, heated front seats, leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control. Separate rear air-conditioning and heating for the rear seats, a sunroof with second-row skylights and an upgraded audio system with a hard drive, iPod connection and satellite radio are also standard. Almost all of these features are optional on the Sport through optional packages.

Topping the Commander range is the Overland trim with 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, wood interior trim, two-tone seats, Bluetooth and the MyGIG navigation and music system. A rear-seat entertainment system is optional on all trims, and Sirius Backseat TV is offered on the Limited and Overland.

Powertrains and Performance

The Sport comes equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 that delivers 210 hp and 235 pound-feet of torque. This year's revised 4.7-liter V8 delivers 305 hp and 334 lb-ft of torque. It's standard on the Limited and optional on the Sport model. Optional on the Limited and standard on the Overland is a 5.7-liter V8 rated at 330 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. All engines are connected to a five-speed automatic transmission.

In terms of drivetrain, each trim level is offered as rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Sport models have the basic Quadra Trac 4WD system and can be upgraded to the electronically shifting Quadra Trac II 4WD system. The Limited has the latter as standard. Optional on the Sport and Limited and standard on the Overland is the more advanced Quadra Drive II 4WD system.

No matter what Commander you choose, fuel economy will be disappointing. A 4WD Commander with the V6 has a 2008 EPA estimate of 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. The mainstream 4.7-liter V8 has a 13/18-mpg rating while the big 5.7-liter, thanks to cylinder-deactivation technology, has a 13/17-mpg rating. Properly equipped, the Commander can tow 7,400 pounds.

Safety

All Commanders come standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control with rollover mitigation, and full-length side curtain airbags. In government crash tests, the 2008 Jeep Commander earned a top-five star rating for its protection of front occupants in head-on collisions. A trailer-sway-damping feature comes as part of the towing package.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Commander's interior exhibits clean, functional instrumentation and controls that are right in line with Jeep's user-friendly interior designs. However, the MyGIG navigation system's touchscreen controls are poorly executed, and unless you really want a factory-installed nav system, we'd stick with the standard hard-drive audio system.

The front seats are superbly comfortable and the second-row theater seats provide a good view of the road. Unfortunately, the just average second-row room and miserly third-row legroom make accommodations cramped for larger occupants. Cargo space behind the third-row seat is only 7.5 cubic feet. Maximum cargo capacity with all rear seats folded is 68.5 cubic feet for models with the third-row seat. For comparison, most competitors in this class usually provide 80 cubic feet or more.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Jeep Commander has a comfortable, serene ride and decent steering feedback. Some drivers might find the Jeep's body motions excessive when driven over bumps, however. When taken off-road, the ample wheel travel, sophisticated 4WD system and decent ground clearance allow the Commander to conquer some pretty rugged terrain.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Acceleration problems

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Commander Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

Love my Commander...got it new in 2008. This morning I got the scare of my life. Started the vehicle, drove to the back of the house, to picked up my utility trailer. As I was leaving the drive way, the accelerator got jammed. The vehicle went out of control (live on dirt road) and raced full speed ahead. First reaction was to hit the brakes... that helped a little, quickly put it in neutral and turn the key off. Got my conposure, and started the vehicle again. It went right back to a very, very fast acceleration. Turn it off and called dealership to have it tow to be serviced. Has anyone ever had this kind of problem ???




08 commander

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Commander Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 5A)

Great SUV for Canadian climate. Fuel mileage not bad for a heavy 4.7 v8. Problems with rear diff bearings, front diff failed at 40,000 km had to be replaced. Wife loves this SUV (our 2nd Jeep) will probably purchase extended warranty to ensure Peace of mind over the long run



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Surprised

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Commander Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

This vehicle was purchased for my husband. He had a 2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade. He loved it but it was time to find a new vehicle. When I went out shopping to the Jeep place, they showed me this 2008 Commander Limited. I feel in love with it. It's nice to have room as a passenger. We have no need for the 3rd row seats, so that isn't a issue. I highly recommend this vehicle if you want comfort & fun driving. The downside, which I was surprised about, is the cargo space. Not enough. We are going to see if removing the 3rd row seats will help that. Otherwise, everything is great about it. Can't believe we bought a V8, but with a vehicle like this. it's worth it!




Excellent value!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Commander Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

The Commander compares favorably with SUVs costing twice as much as this one. Many friends have commented "THIS is a Jeep?" when they first get in. In terms of comfort, power and reliability it's every bit as good as a Land Rover, Lexus or Escalade.




Love my commander

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Commander Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

Love my commander. sold a grand Cherokee with 120K miles and said what the heck I'll take another jeep. Love the exterior, based on the original Cherokee and the interior is very comfy, leather is awesome. I purchased with 10K mile, at 32K now, not a single problem so far. I don't gun it, don't brake hard probably why i average 16 mile per gallon. It's a great ride, very quiet. highly recommend if you need a truck and don't want to pay out the rear.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

So far so great!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Commander Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

Got this as a hand me down from the wife. I am a pretty big guy, so I appreciate the room up front. I also like gadgets, so the hard drive, GPS and tv screens rock! The kids feel like kinds in the back. As everyone else says, the view in the rear is horrible with the 3rd row up. But, with the sensor and the camera, I fail to see this as a significant loss. Between the windows and the mirrors, I feel the vision is excellent otherwise. Adults in the back seat? Forget about it. Unless they are tiny. The smooth, quiet ride is impressive. Almost spoils you. The outside look is sporty.



Talk About The 2008 Commander

2008 Jeep Commander Discussions See all Started By

neustkg
neustkg
06-08-2009
I looked over the real world mpg thread, but was mainly interested in the 3.7L V6 Commander. What kind of real world city/highway do you get? How does it perform on the highway (does the 3.7L V6 wor...


rsholland
rsholland
06-05-2006
2007 is the last year for the current generation Jeep Liberty. With that in mind maybe it's time to start a new thread on the all-new model, which debut as an '08 model....


mijs0405
mijs0405
10-04-2010
I need help. I have a 2008 Jeep Commander Hemi and has 51K mileage now but problem happened way before it hit 50K. I have 2 water leak problems one got fixed or supposedly fixed in 2009 and one prio...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 13
  • cty
/
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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