By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2008 Jeep Commander. It competes with the Nissan Armada and Ford Expedition.
(upbeat music) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for Cars.com and it is 12 degrees in Chicago so we're gonna quickly show you the 2008 Jeep Commander. Now the Commander arrived in the middle of 2005 as Jeep's first SUV with three rows of seats.
Along with dash there's plenty of storage. There's a storage box above the glove compartment. There's plenty of little slots and knucks, kind of around the transmission and below the center controls. The glove compartment itself, it's plenty wide, but it opens pretty low. Sometimes it can get on your passenger's shins. Everything in here is a hard to the touch. All the materials are, but considering sort of the intentional truck like styling that's going on, it doesn't seem like quite as much of an offense. The center controls in our test car have a large, easy to use knobs for the air conditioning and the heat. But the radio here you'll notice it's just a big, massive buttons, which are kind of hard to pick out on the fly. Second and the third row is set progressively higher than the first row. So you'll actually have plenty of room out the windshield as you're sitting back here. Leg room in the second row really isn't great. That's where I'd sit to drive and as you can see, I'm pretty tight here. The headroom is actually pretty usable. Now accessing the third row is a bit tricky and that's because the second row actually splits into three different sections. The outboard seats sorta tumble forward, but you really have to pull on the lever to get them to move up. And the doors are pretty narrow and so is this opening right here as you get in. So it can be a little bit of a squeeze to climb in back there. Okay. Now with the middle section collapsed, third row leg room is still pretty bad as you can see, my legs are all scrunched up here. And this is really just for kids. Although headroom is actually quite good. If you have the seats raised though, the view at the third row is pretty tight. And with the third row up there really isn't very much room back here to put anything. The seats do come down pretty easily and there are straps to kind of lift them back up. The second row goes down too and with both of them down, there's actually quite a bit of room going forward. One thing I wanna notice is the height of the cargo floor. It's actually pretty high so if you have a lot of heavy suitcases, you're gonna need to get in they're gonna be a real pain in the neck to kind of lift that high. That does actually pay dividends with the third row glass hat, which opens like this. And a lot of SUV's the load floor so far down from the hatch that really to get stuff in it's just not very convenient. Here it's a real quick dropdown, which means that people might actually use this feature. The Commander has three engines available, we've driven all three. There's a V6, and that should prove fine if you just drive by yourself most of the time. So that's a 4.7 liter V8 and our test car that's been upgraded to make about 300 horsepower for 2008. That's actually quite powerful. It gets up and goes on the highway. Even with a full load of people I found myself able to pass semis at 60 and 70 miles per hour just fine. Just to a 5.7 liter Hemi V8. I'm not sure if you'll really need the upgrade this year because the 4.7 liter V8 feels just about as powerful. Now, the smaller V8 does get a little bit better gas mileage than before, but all three engines have gas mileage in the mid teens. That's in the neighborhood of larger SUVs like the Nissan Armada and the Chevy Tahoe. Well crossovers like the GMC Acadia in the Toyota Highlander gets significantly better gas mileage. The Commander does have two areas that it really comes through on that's off-roading power and towing capacity. So if you really need that, this might be up your alley. Otherwise, as far as overall practicality goes we think there are better choices elsewhere. <v Announcer>For additional information on this car or any other go to Cars.com and our blog Kicking Tires.