2018 Jeep Grand Commander
Jeep’s largest SUV yet is a China-only modelby Ciprian Florea, on
Discontinued in 2010 after only five years on the market, Jeep’s seven-seat SUV, the Commander, makes a comeback in 2018. But unlike its predecessor, which was a global model, the new SUV is only available in China. Production also shifted to the Asian country, while the nameplate was updated to the Grand Commander. The midsize hauler was unveiled at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show.
The new SUV is heavily based on the Grand Cherokee design-wise, and it appears to be focused more on hauling people rather than off-roading. While the Grand Commander won’t make it to the United States, a three-row SUV will be offered here, but under the Wagoneer name. Jeep plans to build both Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models, which will be based on the body-on-frame platform of the latest Ram 1500 truck.
Does the Grand Commander provide hints as to what we will get from the Wagoneer? It’s difficult to say given that the latter is still a couple of years away, but let’s take a closer look at the China-spec SUV for now.
Continue reading to learn more about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
2018 Jeep Grand Commander
2019 Jeep Grand Commander Exterior
- * Familiar Jeep looks
- * Boxy design
- * Seven-slat grille
- * Unique glasshouse
- * Chrome trim
- * Upscale appearance
Although it’s a brand-new model, the Grand Commander looks very familiar
Although it’s a brand-new model, the Grand Commander looks very familiar. That’s because it shares many design cues with the Grand Cherokee. This is particularly obvious up front, where the seven-slat grille is identical, while the headlamps are very similar. The fact that they’re a bit longer and that the LED daytime running lights below are placed a bit higher gives the Grand Commander a wider stance. Below, the new SUV boasts a more utilitarian look. While the Grand Cherokee has big, sporty intakes, the Grand Commander showcases a thin center vent and rectangular foglamp bezels.
Similarities with the Grand Cherokee continue onto the sides, where we can see the same squared-off wheel arches and a high waistline. But the Grand Commander becomes significantly different toward the rear. While the Grand Cherokee has a slightly sloping roofline, the Grand Commander is boxier. It also has a different lower window line that moves upward toward the tailgate.
As far as dimensions go, the Grand Commander is significantly larger than the Grand Cherokee
It’s the rear section where the Grand Commander stands out even more. Not only the tailgate is almost vertical, without sporty cues like seen on the Grand Cherokee, but the taillights are smaller too. What’s more, the chrome trim around the taillights and the strip above the license plate recess give the Grand Commander a more upscale look. The bumper is standard SUV stuff and includes a dual exhaust pipe layout.
As far as dimensions go, the Grand Commander has a total length of 191.85 inches and a wheelbase of 110 inches, making it significantly larger than the Grand Cherokee. The latter is 182 inches long and has a 106.3-inch wheelbase.
2019 Jeep Grand Commander Interior
- * Seven-seat layout
- * Modern dashboard
- * Small infotainment display
- * Analog instrument cluster
- * Faux wood trim
- * Three-zone A/C
The instrument cluster has simple, analog dials
The cabin is again very familiar because it shares some details with the Grand Cherokee. The center stack, for instance, is flanked by tall A/C vents, while the dashboard has a similar design. However, the A/C vents on the sides are slightly wider, while the controls below the infotainment system are spread on a wider console. The center console is different too.
The infotainment display in the center seems to be FCA’s eight-inch unit, which is a bit disappointing given that the competition offers bigger screens. The graphics and the navigation display don’t seem that high-tech either, so it’s pretty clear that the Grand Commander didn’t get the company’s latest tech. The instrument cluster has simple, analog dials. The uConnect infotainment system does include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity though.
The three-zone independent air conditioning system provides comfort in all compartments
The presentation model features Nappa leather seats, but don’t expect the base model to have this upholstery. The wood trim doesn’t look real unfortunately, but the two-tone finish on the door panels and the aluminum inserts save the day. The third row roomy enough for two people and the cup holsters on each side add convenience. Both the second and third rows can be folded flat to obtain a massive cargo area. Or as shown in the photos, you can just fold the second row and sit in the third row with all the legroom you want.
The three-zone independent air conditioning system provides comfort in all compartments, so passengers will not be treated differently because of where they sit. The third row didn’t get much attention in the past, but Jeep made sure that traveling in the back is as comfortable as it gets.
2019 Jeep Grand Commander Performance
- * Turbo 2.0-liter engine
- * 230 horsepower
- * 258 pound-feet of torque
- * Nine-speed automatic
- * All-wheel-drive
- * Needs a more powerful V-6
With 230 horsepower, the Grand Commander isn’t exactly powerful given its size
Unlike other Jeeps, the Grand Commander doesn’t come with a V-6 engine. At least not for a while. According to FCA, the three-row SUV is restricted to a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The mill is new and was recently unveiled in the Wrangler, but while the U.S.-spec Jeep comes with 264 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the Grand Commander uses a detuned version with 230 horses and 258 pound-feet.
This isn’t necessarily an issue, but only if Jeep will introduce a more powerful mill. With 230 horsepower, the Grand Commander isn’t exactly powerful given its size and a bit more oomph would bring more customers into dealerships. What’s more, the competition is available with larger V-6 engines, including the Volkswagen Teramont, China’s version of the Atlas, which benefits from 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of twist.
The standard SUV has a FWD layout, but an AWD system is available
The four-cylinder engine mates to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The standard SUV has a front-wheel-drive layout, but an all-wheel-drive system is available.
There’s no much info about the suspension setup, but it’s safe to assume that the Grand Commander was designed with urban driving in mind and it’s not as off-road capable as the Grand Cherokee. However, it rides on the same underpinnings as its U.S. counterpart, a stretched version of FCA’s Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) platform.
2019 Jeep Grand Commander Pricing
Pricing for the Grand Commander starts from CNY279,800. This converts to around $44,140, but as mentioned before, this SUV won’t be offered in the U.S.
2019 Jeep Grand Commander Competition
Volkswagen Atlas (Teramont)
Introduced in 2017, the Volkswagen Atlas is produced and sold in China as the Teramont. The German SUV is very similar to the Grand Commander, sporting a boxy design and a three-row layout inside the cabin. However, it comes with better equipment lines and includes the VW Digital Cockpit with the TFT instrument cluster as standard. It also has a bigger engine, in the form of a 2.5-liter V-6. The turbocharged unit cranks out 295 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. However, the base 2.0-liter turbo is closer to the Grand Commander at 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. All-wheel-drive is standard with both drivetrains. Pricing starts at CNY308,900, with the range-topping model coming in at CNY518,900.
Read our full story on the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.
Unlike other markets, China offers quite a few seven-seat models to choose from. One of them is the Ford Edge, which was launched in this configuration here in 2015. Three trims are offered, including a sportier S model with black inserts and the more luxurious Titanium version with extra equipment. Engine choices include two gasoline units. There’s a 2.0-liter turbo with 245 horsepower and 258 pound-feet and a 2.7-liter V-6 rated at a solid 329 horses and 370 pound-feet. Both engines mate to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. AWD is standard on the V-6 model and optional on the four-cylinder SUV.
Read our full review of the 2019 Ford Edge.
All in all, the Grand Commander looks to be deserving of the Jeep badge and the iconic seven-slat grille. It’s massive, boxy, and it rides high above the ground, offering everything you’d want from a Jeep in the design department. On the other hand, the Volkswagen Teramont is a better choice when it comes to interior appointment and technology. Another drawback is that the Grand Commander doesn’t have a V-6 engine. While the four-cylinder is good enough against four-pot versions of the Teramont and Edge, Jeep doesn’t have a competitor to go against the more powerful SUVs. And this could be an issue in the long run. Hopefully, Jeep will offer a V-6 sooner than later.
Read our full driven review on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Read more Jeep news.
Read more 2018 Beijing Auto Show news.