By on January 23, 2018

Jeep Grand Commander

Despite being one of the first brands that springs to most consumers’ minds when “SUV” is mentioned, Jeep doesn’t currently have an entry in the popular three-row segment. The slapdash Commander occupied that space in the late Aughts and the company is making noises about a potential Grand Wagoneer but those plans, for now, remain hazy.

A three-row Jeep has finally appeared. It’s called the Grand Commander and is slated to appear at this year’s auto show in Beijing as a model exclusive to China.

Bozi Tatarevic – our very own walking, talking parts counter – opines that the Grand Commander shown here is very likely built on a stretched CUSW platform, and he is likely to be correct. An elongated Cherokee would make a lot of sense.

Jeep Grand Commander

Up front we find a typical Jeep seven-slat grille, bookended by a pair of slim headlights aping those found on the Grand Cherokee. Tech addenda for FCA’s adaptive cruise control is visible on the front bumper, flanked by a formal set of horizontal housings for round fog lights. The rear doors are squared-off and stretch all the way into the rear wheel wells, presumably for ease of access to the third-row seats. In a video on Jeep’s China website, it’s easy to see the headrests for the Grand Commander’s third row. This is not a bad looking machine at all.

With only the most tenuous grasp of the website’s language, and with Google Translate not helping at all, the only information I can parse out of the copy is “2.0T.” Making the logical assumption this is referring to the Grand Commander’s powertrain, it is likely the same (or similar) two-liter turbo found in the 2019 Cherokee, lending more credence to Bozi’s theory. That engine makes 270 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque.

Chances of the Grand Commander wending its way to American soil? Limited, in this authors opinion, at least in the form displayed on Jeep’s Chinese website. The brand takes care to ensure at least one of the trims in each of the models it offers earns the “Trail Rated” badge, and the fairly long front and rear overhangs on the Grand Commander could scupper that effort. Having said that, Jeep employs engineers with pencils sharp enough to make vehicles as diverse as a Trackhawk and a Trailhawk out of a Grand Cherokee, so anything’s possible.

Despite not offering seating for seven, the Grand Cherokee outsold the three-row Highlander by about 25,000 units last year in America, with the Jeep moving 240,696 units and Toyota shuffling 215,775 machines off to new homes. Both those figures represent healthy increases over 2016 sales.

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43 Comments on “Jeep Grand Commander: Sorry, This Three-Row Jeep Is Only for China...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    Oh, thanks God I don’t have to see this on the road. Saved my eyes. Looks like another Subaru

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    I’m seeing a lot of Jeep Compass and Renegade in the overall design and a touch of Pacifica in the rear. A good enough design for the Chinese market, but it likely won’t pass muster in the U.S.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    Isn’t that stretched platform the same as the Durango? I’m seeing a lot of the Durango in the rear.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Despite not offering seating for seven, the Grand Cherokee outsold the three-row Highlander by about 25,000 units last year in America, with the Jeep moving 240,696 units and Toyota shuffling 215,775 machines off to new homes.”

    I would not have guessed that even if it was a multiple choice question, I could phone a friend, eliminate half the choices, and had Regis Philbin egging me on.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Last I looked, the Grand Cherokee was second only to the Ford Explorer in large(r) utility vehicle sales. But, that was a while back.

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      Jeep buyers are extremely loyal, and with the newer family sizes being smaller than previous generations, I don’t see a third row seat being extremely necessary across the board.

      • 0 avatar
        shane_the_ee

        Well, this loyal Jeep owner, having sired a 4th child and purchased a 6000lb GVWR travel trailer, has been forced to look elsewhere for his SUV needs…

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          You’re undoubtedly not alone. Jeep is missing out on a large chunk of the SUV pie by not fielding a third row entry. Yes, as has been pointed out, the Grand Cherokee does sell very well. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a 3rd row entry in the Jeep stable.

          I’m sure the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be far more desirable than this, if they ever get here.

        • 0 avatar
          NoID

          Well the closest thing you can get to a 3-row Grand Cherokee is the Durango, certain trims of which can most certainly handle your travel trailer. Built on the same architecture in the same factory (Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit) with a bunch of overlap in powertrain options.

          I’ve hauled my family around in the new Durango SRT and it’s a blast. If I was in the market though I’d get a 5.7L with the 2nd row bench to maximize utility, because the SRT only comes with 2nd row captain’s chairs and I’m too practical for my own good.

          • 0 avatar
            tp33

            ^This

            I had 2014 and loved it. More than the JGC which was the same price for a 7/8ths version (I don’t off road, so the Jeepy bits were of no value). If FCA put a “Jeep” badge on the Durango-sized version, it would have sold itself…

          • 0 avatar
            shane_the_ee

            Holy crap, I had no idea the Durango’s tow ratings were so high. But I wanted 8 seats, skid plates, and room for all 6 of us plus weekend sized backpacks. My Expedition Max FX4 should arrive sometime early March…

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          Get the v8.. It’ll tow 7200

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      That’s an impressive sales number. Ford sold 238,056 Explorers (plus 33,075 Police Interceptors).

  • avatar
    brettc

    Actually not terrible looking to me. Super happy fun brown wagon on stilts.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    The Commander failed in the States for several reasons, Styling and under powered being the two main reasons, followed by too small third row and some say poor visibility while driving.

    Somethi g like the vehicle pictured above will not do too well in the States because of vanilla styling and a small, under powered engine in such a large vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Nothing is keeping them from adding a V-6 to it if it was brought here. Several of its platform mates use variations of the Pentastar V-6.

      The original Commander also drove horribly. I had the displeasure of driving one quite a few times.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      At the time of the Commander’s conception, Hummer was doing well, and was the target market for the Jeep. But the execution was sorely lacking with poor driving dynamics and a joke of a third row seat.

      But what instantly killed the Commander was just sheer bad luck. The Commander got very poor fuel economy and the vehicles were just beginning to hit the showrooms when Hurricane Katrina hit and the price of gas skyrocketed. It was a repeat of 1974 when Chrysler released their new full-size cars during the first gas crisis. Katrina not only took out the Commander, but went a long way to causing the entire Hummer division’s eventual demise, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s true. However, in urban China, where most people barely–if ever–use the highway, large under-motored cars are actually practical.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Stick a 300 grille/headlights on it and send it over STAT!

    Ladies and gentlemen, the new Chrysler Voyager.

    Oh, and drop a Pentastar in it, leave the 2.0L Turbo behind.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      I was thinking the same thing. Redesign the front clip with Chrysler styling and here’s a new Chrysler branded SUV for the North American market.

      I don’t know about the Voyager name though. There was a concept car called the “Chrysler Citadel” and I always liked that name. It would work well on this.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        Citadel is now a trim package.

        • 0 avatar
          BigOldChryslers

          I already knew but don’t care if Citadel has been used as a trim level on the Durango. I thought Chrysler Citadel was a great model name the first time I heard it.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Well, I was looking through old ChryCo names, that one seemed most appropriate.

        I’ve never liked the name Town and Country, and that would be very confusing since that model was so recent.

        “No, sir, the Pacifica is the minivan, the T&C is the SUV”

        “no its not! I have owned both! The Pacifica is a SUV, the T&C is the minivan!”

        I suppose the same could be said of Voyager, but it hasn’t been used here in a while so maybe it’d be easier to market. That was my thought anyway.

        I like Citadel, and Dodge could give up the trim name I’m sure. It wouldn’t be the first time a trim name became a separate and unrelated vehicle (Edge, Explorer, LTD, Ranger, hell even Silverado if you think about it).

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    You do realize that FCA has said that there is a CUV heading to Chrysler in the near future? Wouldn’t be difficult to run through the Cherokee Plant with a Chrysler front end……

    Bingo ! new product!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    From the sides, it looks very much like the previous-gen Highlander.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      All the complaints about it being generic or bland are simply a stand in for it being outrageous and ugly if they went a little more wild with it, like the current Cherokee, the B9 Tribeca, etc.

      I’ll take bland and generic with traditional Jeep styling attributes over gaudy and polarizing.

      My only concern about it selling here (as a Chrysler as I mentioned above) would be if the 3rd row wasn’t so small that it would make it the joke of the class (as was the case with the original Commander).

  • avatar
    deanst

    Allpar “insiders” are already expecting a Chrysler version….

  • avatar
    NoID

    There are different tiers of “Trail Rated” so the rear overhang might not be as big a hangup (pun intended) as you might expect, and the front overhang to my eyes looks identical to the new Cherokee, but I don’t know for sure. I suspect that it may have more to do with rear impact requirements, maybe the CUSW platform just can’t pass muster in the USA but meets the regulations in China. Otherwise I see no reason not to make this for the USA as well.

    Sergio is on record saying that the upcoming 3-row crossover for Chrysler is based on the Pacifica platform, so I’m not so sure that there’s a version of this with Chrysler badges waiting in the wings.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Wikipedia says Pacifica is on the CUSW platform, however elsewhere it is said that it is on an “all-new” platform, with one source stating with certainty that it is completely unrelated to the platform that underpins the Cherokee (as in the same one this Grand Commander is on, the CUSW).

      I wonder who could clear this up? I’m inclined to believe the Pacifica platform is unique, but then again, the CUSW platform can obviously support a 3 row vehicle as seen here, and it would make sense to have used it for the minivan, so I don’t know.

      Personally, I think the Chrysler brand could do a two row Edge/Murano competitor (a more refined and well equipped version of Cherokee), and a 3 row Explorer/Traverse/etc competitor. They need fresh product, and CUVs are where its at so far as sales are concerned. One could go so far as to suggest they make an Encore competitor as well, based off Renegade. *ducks*

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I think a two-row Murano-style CUV is a terrific idea for Chrysler. That one could even be based off CUSW, stretched a bit from the Cherokee and given the 3.6 Pentastar.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        The Pacifica rides on a new platform, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it shares some design features with the CUSW architecture. There’s no way CUSW could accommodate the structural features that support options like Stow-n-Go, the relatively flat floor, etc.

        As for the Renegade, is it really that much larger than the Encore? Speaking of Buick, I saw a new Regal TourX on the highway today it looks much better in person than I expected. The cladding is integrated well with the body, it didn’t seem nearly as Tupperware’d as other cladded vehicles that come to mind. I’d like to get up close and see if it’s truly cladding or just blacked out trim pieces.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          That makes sense (about the platform).

          I don’t know how the Renegade compares in size to the Encore, but I believe they’re similar enough that a Chrysler-badged (and more refined) version of the ‘Gade would compete with the Buick.

          @ dal, my thoughts exactly.

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