I was fortunate enough to get behind the wheel of this black n’ chrome SUV, navigating it from Tagaytay City to Metro Manila, and I’d say that I was delighted with the experience overall.
This sport-ute feels very solid, being a true and capable off-roader (and not a crossover on lifters). Yet the ride is comfortably supple, and the power is torquey and adequate. I know, the description I’ve just made is like stating the obvious, especially for an SUV that’s in the Php3-million price bracket.
But what really sets the Jeep Commander CRD apart from all others in its class is the fact that it’s diesel powered. (Yes! You read right) This makes a lot of sense, with rising fuel costs and the gas guzzler stigma stamped on American SUVs. Another SUV in this price range that “gets it” is the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, which is also diesel powered and closely priced at Php3.45M. If you ask me, I’d go for the Commander than the Prado. The Jeep is cheaper, yet more exclusive. All others in this price range are gasoline powered (i.e. Ford Expedition) which is plainly stupid, from a practical standpoint. Ford Philippines also offered an LPG converted Expedition. Now that’s even more stupid.
The Php3M price point is also very sweet and sensible: it’s a level up from the Fortuner and Montero Sport world, and way below the Php6M realm of BMW X5’s and Land Rovers. Three Million may sound a lot per se, but in the context of the Jeep Commander CRD, it actually equates to value thats short of amazing.
Oh, and a word about the Commander CRD’s 3-liter engine: it’s derived from Mercedes-Benz. It’s turbocharged and intercooled, pumping out 218 ponies and the same amount of torque as the Jeep Commander’s other engine option, the V8 Hemi! I reckon it’s more than adequate in Philippine driving conditions, including the occasional trip up to Baguio.
Postscript: On the road, I got a lot of turning heads and smiles of approval. It is a handsome 4×4, not to mention rare. I even saw one bystander look in awe and mouth the words “Jeep Commander” upon reading the badge. It’s natural for Filipinos to love this thing, simply because we are a Jeepney and owner type Jeep culture. For all Pinoys, the Jeep brand and the 7-slat grille is identifiable and more importantly, iconic. If an uninformed Pinoy would lay his eyes on the Commander he would probably think that its a gift from the owner type Jeep gods, or a Jeepney from the Star Trek future sent back in time.