2006 Jeep Commander Review
2006 Jeep Commander Review
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Used Commander for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Three available engines, excellent off-road ability, balanced handling, simple controls.
- Low-grade interior materials, minimal legroom for third-row seat, mediocre cargo capacity, poor gas mileage with the big V8s.
The 2006 Jeep Commander is a new seven-passenger SUV based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee's basic platform.
With the 2006 Jeep Commander, the automaker has taken all that is good about the Grand Cherokee, added more passenger capacity, and penned a design that is unquestionably a real Jeep SUV.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2006 Jeep Commander 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 5A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.76 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Midsize SUV
Jeep practically invented the sport-utility vehicle way back in the dark days of WWII, when the army needed a tough, maneuverable and lightweight vehicle capable of traversing the nastiest roads and trails on the planet. Sixty years later, the brand is still going strong. Two ingredients have been missing from the Jeep lineup, however; one, an SUV with a third-row seat, and two, a rolling box. Seriously, the departure of the Cherokee left a bit of an empty spot in the hearts of Jeep loyalists. Sure, the Liberty proved a worthy replacement, but its cute factor is no match for the rough-'n-tumble "real" SUV look that made the Cherokee such a success. Climbing two boulders with one meaty tire, the all-new Jeep Commander fills in those two missing ingredients. Make no mistake; the styling is boxy, hard-edged, and quite Cherokee-like. Nobody will ever call this Jeep SUV cute. And peering inside reveals the golden e-ticket of the SUV world, a third-row seat.
The 2006 Jeep Commander is based upon the Grand Cherokee platform, and as such, it shares running gear and major mechanicals. It also shares most of the GC's off-road prowess, so buyers can be assured that the Commander can take on moderate trails with ease. The Commander has the same wheelbase as the Grand Cherokee, and is a mere 2 inches longer. This means it's maneuverable enough for both city streets and off-road trails. One area where the Commander is larger, however, is overall height. This allows the second and third rows of seating to be arranged stadium-style for better forward visibility. The downside to the Commander's lack of an extended wheelbase, unfortunately, is that its third-row seat is quite cramped. While no midsize SUV offers truly spectacular third-row seating, many better the Commander in this regard and provide more cargo volume. Overall, the 2006 Jeep Commander should appeal to those people who need a trail-capable seven-passenger SUV or just enjoy its distinctive look. Just keep in mind that the Commander isn't the only buff SUV available.
Performance & mpg
The Jeep Commander comes standard with a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. The Limited is equipped with a 4.7-liter V8 capable of pumping out 235 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. Optional on the Limited is a 5.7-liter V8, which produces 330 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. All three engines come standard with a five-speed automatic transmission. Base models can be equipped with a full-time all-wheel-drive system, while the Limited utilizes the more advanced Quadra-Trac II (optional on base) 4WD system that incorporates a two-speed transfer case. Finally, the Quadra-Drive II system (optional on Limited) combines a full-time two-speed transfer case with front/rear/center electronic limited-slip differentials. With the 4.7-liter V8, the Commander is rated to pull 7,200 pounds.
Standard safety features include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control and side curtain airbags. The 2006 Jeep Commander has not yet been crash tested.
In spite of its boxy shape, the 2006 Jeep Commander has a rather quiet and serene ride. Road and wind noise is minimal, and the ride is smooth. The suspension dampens imperfections in the road well, and the rack and pinion steering provides a solid and responsive road feel. The all-wheel drive grabs pavement with gusto. Even though the raucous 5.7-liter V8 provides gobs of low-end thrust, the 3.7-liter V6 and 4.7-liter V8 are smooth and provide enough power for most applications.
The Commander's seats are firm and supportive, and the leather looks quite contemporary. The two-tone plastic panels lend a modern touch to the surroundings, even if they are a bit hard. The third-row seat is best suited for children. Cargo capacity with all three rows in use is 7.5 cubic feet. With the third row stowed, capacity jumps to 36.4. With all rear seats folded, total cargo capacity is 68.9 cubic feet.
2006 Jeep Commander models
The 2006 Jeep Commander is available in two trim levels: base and Limited. Standard features include power windows and door locks, air conditioning, a power driver seat, a CD stereo and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Limited model adds heated leather seats with driver's memory, a power front passenger seat, automatic dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals, rain-sensing automatic wipers, chrome exterior trim, a power sunroof with dual skylights for second-row passengers and a Boston Acoustics audio system with in-dash CD changer and satellite radio. Other options, depending on the trim level, include heated front seats, a navigation system, a sunroof, two specialized skylights and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
3.63 out of 5 stars
4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 5A)
Recently purchased a demo 06 Commander for around $19k. I was amazed at all the standard features this car has. To me the Commander drives better than my sister's Tahoe which she paid $12k more. Can't beat the price especially when Jeep is always giving incentives. Only complaint is the 3rd row which takes up to much usable space. Had a problem with the tire monitor going off for no … reason, but dealer fixed it.
5 out of 5 stars
Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)
Best vehicle I have had. I have owned Jeeps since the 50's. This one beat them all. Comfort, goes anywhere, anytime in comfort. No issues with any mechanical items. Did the maintenance on the scheduled recommended for warranty. Bought extended warranty after the 5 years ran out. Never used it. Some maintenance was pricey but the vehicle has never failed me. Even when the … battery is getting low it let me know by slow cranking. The Jeep is 12 years old looks new, has had three batteries, and three sets of tires. It is a Hemi, with the 8,6,4 cylinder running feature. On the road, I can get 24+ mpg. Around town it is 11 or 12. But I am a jack rabbit at stop lights...some of the lack of mileage is my fault. I am now 77 years old and do not plan to buy another vehicle. This one will go out with me. The vehicle has only 55K miles. 20K of which was very long trips. One to Panama, and two through Canada almost to Alaska. Performance with a lot of weight in back with all seats down did not seem to effect mileage or handling. Zero mechanical issues except for some wear in the driver position.
4.88 out of 5 stars
8x jeep, love it!
Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)
My husband and I are on our 8th jeep and I couldn't wait to get the Commander. Trail rated, reliable, large size. I am a total loss adjuster and auto damage adjuster so I work around cars all day long. Wouldn't trade my Jeep for any other SUV. **For 2006-sk.canada...sounds like you got a lemon or someone didn't take care of their vehicle, do some additional research on the vehicle's … history and mechanical records from the previous owner if available. The Tahoe has a history of issues ,problems and recalls..do your research.
3.5 out of 5 stars
4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 5A)
When I start my 2006 Jeep Commander and put it into drive or reverse and step on the gas its always hit or miss if the car is going to move. The engine will usually rev for a second and then finally go. Once it has starting moving in drive, every time it shifts from first to second there is a loud clicking noise. Took it to the dealership and they told me it has to get worse before they … fix it. That doesn't sound right to me.
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRolloverNot RatedDynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
More about the 2006 Jeep Commander
More About This Model
It's impossible to criticize the business plan for the 2006 Jeep Commander: Take the Grand Cherokee and give it an extra row of seats. Jeep dealers have long been tired of losing customers who need to haul more than five people to other manufacturers, so it's overdue.
And a tip of the hat to Jeep for doing a great deal of work to make this happen. The company could have done what General Motors did with the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and its kin: Stretch the five-passenger version to make room for a third seat. But the Commander, while clearly a Jeep, will not be mistaken for a swollen Grand Cherokee.
What it will be mistaken for, though, is a Jeep Cherokee on steroids. Not the kind of steroids that make you big and strong and acne-laden, but the kind that makes you — well, sort of just swell up, like Jerry Lewis. (Press the horn, and it goes, "Hey Ladeeee!" But they love it in France.)
Actually, that's cruel, because on the road, the Jeep Commander's looks grow on you. It's 2 inches longer and nearly 4 inches taller than the Grand Cherokee, but its wheelbase, at 109.5 inches, is the same. The Commander's track is a half-inch wider than the Grand Cherokee, though.
That extra height is there to make the middle and rear seats friendlier. The roof steps up more than 3 inches just behind the front seats, effectively hidden by the standard roof rack. It means ample headroom for all three rows, even though the second- and third-row seats are raised theater-style. Five 6-footers will fit without fisticuffs in the front and middle row, but the two passengers exiled to the rear had best be shortish.
With seven on board, there's room for 6.0 cubic feet of luggage. Folding the third-row seats expands the cargo space to 36.3 cubic feet, while folding the second and third rows gives a total of 68.9 cubic feet. A Grand Cherokee is only a wee bit smaller, offering 34.5 cubic feet of space with its second row in the up position and 67.4 cubic feet with its second-row seat folded.
The front bucket seats are wide and pretty flat, similar to the seats of the target demographic — age 35 to 50, 85-percent married, 55-percent male, 62-percent college graduates. There are two models: the Commander and the Commander Limited. You shall know the Limited by its chrome. Inside, the Limited gets the expected power, heated front seats, plus leather upholstery, premium stereo with six Boston Acoustics speakers, Sirius Satellite Radio, power-adjustable pedals and the usual other luxury features.
This does not mean that the regular Commander is a stripper, because it isn't. It is well-appointed, and options such as a navigation system, rear-seat DVD player, hands-free communications and rear air conditioning can dress it up to near Limited standards.
As with the interior, the base Commander doesn't look downmarket. In some colors, in fact, some of us prefer it to the so-shiny Limited, which has a chrome grille, side molding and rear grab handles. Big, industrial-sized exterior door handles add to the son-of-Cherokee look.
Standard are 17-inch Goodyear radials with cast-aluminum wheels that look pretty nice, and include a full-size matching spare. Chrome wheels are a Limited option. With even the least expensive Commander, you're lookin' pretty good.
Under the Hood
The base-est Commander — responsible for that sub-$28,000 list price, with shipping — is a rear-drive model with the 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board. Next step up is the 235-horse, 4.7-liter V8, and at the top is the 330-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
The fact that the 3.7-liter V6 performs so well that it can't be dismissed out of hand is commendable. Even with four-wheel drive — and EPA rating of 17 mpg city, 21 mpg highway — there's enough pep to make it worth considering, so long as you don't need to tow more than 3,500 pounds. The 4.7-liter V8 has a lot more punch off the line, and can tow 6,500 pounds.
The big gun is, of course, the Hemi and its 375 pound-feet of torque; it can tow 7,200 pounds and has all kinds of acceleration. It also has the Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which shuts down half the cylinders to save gas when they aren't needed.
On the Road
The Commander's five-link solid rear axle manages bumps and potholes about as well as any, and the independent short-and-long-arm front suspension gives you above-average road feel and a good ride. For such a tall vehicle, the Commander doesn't feel at all tipsy, even when you are cornering more sharply than the tires would prefer. Every Commander, incidentally, gets electronic stability control, antilock brakes with BrakeAssist, and side curtain airbags that cover all three rows.
Like most Jeeps, the Commander has a relatively high waistline, but you don't get the feeling you're that far off the ground. The front seats need more side support, but otherwise, they're fine, even for long stints. There's nothing alarming or complex about the instruments and controls. With an overall length of just 188.5 inches — more than 10 inches shorter than a Chrysler Pacifica — the Commander doesn't feel ungainly around town.
And Off the Road
It's unlikely the Commander will be anyone's first choice to tackle the Rubicon Trail, but Jeep gamely insists that the Commander, appropriately equipped, is "Trail Rated." There are three available 4x4 systems: The base is Quadra-Trac I, with the convenience of full-time all-wheel drive and a single-speed transfer case. Quadra-Trac II has the new NV245 two-speed active transfer case, and Quadra-Drive II has front and rear electronic limited-slip differentials and pretty much every trick Jeep has up its 4x4 sleeve. When slippage is detected, 100 percent of the power can be sent to an individual wheel with traction.
We did some fairly serious off-roading with the Commander, and while it is certainly capable, it isn't all that much fun. Throttle tip-in seemed abrupt for rock crawling, and a little more ground clearance would be nice, but for a seven-passenger SUV, it's certainly capable of getting you there.
The 2006 Jeep Commander's list prices start with the aforementioned $27,985 base. Get four-wheel drive with the V6, and you're up to $29,985. The Limited starts at $36,280 with the 4.7-liter V8 (EPA ratings: 15 mpg city, 20 highway), and $38,900 if you want four-wheel drive. The Hemi starts at $40,395, with Quadra-Drive II as standard. EPA ratings are 14 mpg city, 19 highway.
Undeniably, Jeep needs the Commander, but with gas prices what they are, how much room is left for big SUVs of any brand is an open question, and likely one reason the Commander carries, at introduction, a $1,500 rebate. Jeep is about to learn just what level of pent-up demand exists for a seven-passenger Jeep.
Used 2006 Jeep Commander Overview
The Used 2006 Jeep Commander is offered in the following submodels: Commander SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A), 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 5A), and Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A). Pre-owned Jeep Commander models are available with a 3.7 L-liter gas engine or a 4.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 235 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Jeep Commander comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2006 Jeep Commander comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2006 Jeep Commander?
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Jeep Commander?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.