The Jeep Commander is a blocky, tall, broad-shouldered SUV that looks like it was made from Legos, making it very different from the the wind-smoothed Grand Cherokee with which it shares engines and underpinnings.
When Jeep debuted the Commander as a 2006 model, design by T-square was acceptable. (Think the Hummer H1 with a runner's physique.) It's 2 inches longer than the Grand Cherokee, with room for seven against the Cherokee's five. Its tall stance makes the middle-row seats comfortable perches with a superlative view.
There are plenty of powertrain options. The base Sport model comes standard with the Chrysler SOHC 3.7-liter V-6, also used in the Dodge Dakota and Jeep Liberty, with a five-speed automatic -- there are no manual gearboxes in the Commander's world -- and standard rear drive. Even this base engine, rated at 210 horsepower and providing a mediocre 14 mpg city/18 mph highway (using the current measurement methods from the EPA), can be mated to full-time 4WD.
But Jeep also offered the corporate 4.7-liter V-8 rated at 235 horsepower (at the same mileage figures as the V-6) and granted the option of RWD or the more sophisticated Quadra-Trac II four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case. The 4.7 was standard on the Limited, but buyers could option up to Quadra-Drive II 4WD, featuring a two-speed transfer case but supplemented with a trio of electronic limited-slip devices (front, center, rear).
Starting with 2007, the new Overland trim level came with a Hemi, all 5.7 liters and 330 horses worth, at the cost of just 1 mpg city and highway. Overlands came with Quadra-Drive II and a five-speed automatic transmission.