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#9

in 2009 Affordable Large SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $12,869 - $20,283
Original MSRP: $29,380 - $46,110
MPG: 15 City / 20 Hwy
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2009 Jeep Commander Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

While the Commander is nearly unstoppable off-road, many SUV buyers will find its ride rough and trucky and its engines unrefined.

  • "There are sleeker, less-expensive and more fuel-efficient SUV and crossover wagon choices available to get you around town." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It drives very trucklike, a downer in today's world of refined crossovers." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The base Jeep Commander Sport has the standard 3.7-liter V6 capable of 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. The Limited model is a bit more powerful, and comes with a 4.7-liter V8 that generates 305 horsepower and 334 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7 liter HEMI engine is also available and is a reviewer favorite. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the rear-wheel-drive Jeep Commander with the V6 engine gets 14 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway. The four-wheel-drive V6 gets the same. The Commander's new Flex-Fuel engine should achieve 9 mpg in the city and 12 on highways using E85 fuel and four-wheel drive. With rear-wheel drive, the highway figure changes to 13 mpg.

  • "The standard 3.7-liter V6 is adequate on- or off-road with light passenger and cargo loads, but would be underpowered with heavier loads or at higher altitudes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The vigorous and smooth Hemi now churns out 52 more horses than the available 4.7-liter V8, and it actually drinks less 87 octane than its smaller sibling. This obviously makes the Hemi the engine of choice if your heart is set on buying a Commander." -- Edmunds
  • "You can still get a Jeep Commander with the Hemi V-8, but the responsible choice-as far as seven-passenger, V-8-powered SUVs are concerned in a gasping economy-is the smaller, 4.7-liter V-8. Oh, wait. The Hemi is only $820 more and gets better fuel economy? Never mind. (There is a V-6, but just because you have a rope and are near train tracks doesn't mean you have to tie yourself to them and wait for the 10:15.)" -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Reviewers agree that the Commander's handling is good for an SUV that's designed for heavy off-roading, but off-road capability means that on road performance lags behind competitors. However, many note that the Commander is comfortable on the highway.

  • "Evasive maneuvering, on the other hand, is as frightening as the Commander's proportions would suggest.The high roof, the narrow width, and the floppy tire sidewalls-which, at the end of our testing, showed landmark shoulder-block feathering-combine for relentless understeer at the limit and truly unsettling transient behavior. If it's anything smaller than a Sitting Bull in the road, your safest bet is to stand on the brakes-which aren't as effective as they should be, with braking from 70 mph to 0 taking 205 feet-and auger in." -- Car and Driver
  • "Commander absorbs most bumps with little harshness. A solid-feeling structure enhances the impression of car-like comfort, though some testers cited some unwanted float over highway-speed dips and swells." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 2009 Jeep Commander has a comfortable, serene ride. Some drivers might find its undulating body motions excessive when driven over bumps, however. " -- Edmunds
  • "Highway tracking is excellent, and it is very stable on the road."-- AutoWeek

Off-Roading

One stand-out attraction to the Jeep Commander is in its ability to drive off the road.

  • "Taken off-road, the Jeep proves to be a capable machine thanks to its sufficient ground clearance, ample wheel travel and low-range 4WD." -- Edmunds
  • "The Commander easily pulled through sand and mud and over large rocks and downed trees." -- Motor Trend

Next Steps: 2009 Jeep Commander

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