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2007 Jeep Commander

by Martha Hindes

Jeep Commander
Jeep Commander Interior

Jeeps, those trusty off-road dirt dominators that evolved from World War II, have always been smaller, right? For four or five like the upscale Grand Cherokee, but never seven. That's not the case any more with the Jeep Commander joining the ranks of seven-passenger sport utilities designed to carry a full contingent of people or cargo in quiet and comfort while retaining the ability to gut it out in the off-road trenches.

While Commander is midsize in the SUV scale, it's more closely akin, spacewise, to the old Jeep Grand Wagoneer from the '70s rather than today's spunky little Wrangler that can claw it's way up a mountainside. With 2007 the Commander's second year, there's a new, toney Overland edition designed to pamper as well as serve. Platinum-toned touches accent the exterior, while the interior gets leather, real wood, suede, cargo net and Berber floor mats.

As with its siblings, Commander wears Jeep's "trail rated" certification, a statement that it has the chutzpah to challenge wilderness trails despite its larger girth. If you doubt that, consider the Overland's front tow hooks designed to help the less fortunate out of mucky situations.

Commander power comes from a trio of engines: 3.7-liter, 210-HP V-6, (with best 16/20 fuel economy in 2-wheel rear drive); 4.7-liter, 235-HP V-8, now a Flex Fuel engine (15/19 EPA in 2X4 or 4X4) and the 5.7-liter, 330-HP HEMI V-8 averaging 14/19 MPG. Jeep adds three 4X4 systems for true off-roading, the Quadra-Trac I and II, and the brute force, go-anywhere Quadra-Drive II with full-time transfer case and Electronic Limited Slip Differentials.

For foraying in style, there's "CommandView" skylights, remote start, overhead-mount DVD, nav system, SIRIUS satellite radio, a rear park assist and UConnect. Five news colors are among '07 adds: Red Rock Crystal, Light Greystone, plus three metallics: Steel Blue, Jeep Green and Mineral Gray. Power liftgates are added, and the Sport trim gains body color door handles.

Expect to pay a base of $27,915 to get into a Commander, then prepare to rev.