This is a new posting category, and it will be a regular feature on the Hooniverse Weekend Edition. The premise it this: There are brands that have a storied past, with current models that are or will be genuine collectibles in the future, but have more than a couple of questionable offerings in their lineup. Let’s start off with the Jeep Brand, which has outlived many of the companies that have once owned it. Every Jeep from the 40s, 50s and 60s are blue-chip collectibles currently, and there is no denying that many of the Jeeps from the 70s to today will fall into that category. One example id the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, with dealerships specifically set up to offer revitalized or restored models to the hungry consumer. Will the Jeep Commander become one of those highly sought after collectible Jeeps in the future?
The Jeep Commander was first introduced at the 2005 New York International Auto Show. There was never a Jeep offered with three rows of seating since the Wagoneer was introduced (though there were still a few Willys Wagons produced through 1965) and Chrysler saw an unfilled niche. The Commander was sold as a 7-passenger counterpart of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it shared it’s basic structure with the Grand Cherokee. The styling was rather boxy, and more upright than the Grand Cherokee, competing with the Hummer H2 and H3 in that department. It featured a stepped roof for the second and third-row seats (which were mounted higher than the first-row seats), and was cleverly disguised by the roof rack.
With the third seat deployed for use, rear visibility was non existent. Rear backup sensors were standard equipment because of this deficiency. Cargo room was also insufficient, even when the third seat wasn’t used. It look more like a compromise than anything else, with styling that was meant to invoke visions of the discontinued Cherokee. Power was supplied by three different engines: The inadequate 3.7L PowerTech V6 producing 210 HP; The barely adequate 4.7L PowerTech V8 producing 305 HP; and the ludicrous 5.7L Hemi V8 that produced 330 HP. Europe received the best engine for this truck with the Mercedes 3.0L Turbodiesel V6 producing 215 HP, but 367 Lb/Ft of Torque, with a 21 MPG rating.
For its introductory year, the Commander was available in base and Limited trim. For 2007, the base was renamed Sport, and the top-line Overland model was added. These three trim levels carried on until 2009, when the Overland was dropped. Only Sport and Limited models were offered for 2010, the Commander’s final year. The sales were nothing to brag about and are as follows: 88,497 were sold for its introductory year of 2006; 63,027 for 2007; 27,694 for 2008; 12,655 for 2009; and 8,115 for 2010. there were a further 105 sold in 2011 but who’s counting? The 4.7L V8 was discontinued in 2009 for this model.
So, is this Jeep model bound to be a blue-chip collectible 20 years from now, or will it be a curiosity like so many pretenders to the throne? Remember, the Jeep Wrangler will still become a collectible, as will others like the Cherokee, and to a certain extent the early Grand Cherokee. But will the later Jeeps ever achieve this status, and do you think the Commander has a chance?