Should You Take the Jeep Commander Off-Road?

The baseline Jeep Commander is great for casual offroading, but adding a lift kit and the optional V8 engine will make you a true trailblazer.
Written by Samuel Todd
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Jeep Commander
lives up to its name, dominating off-road trails with grippy tires and excellent torque—especially if you go for the V8 option.
Between 2006 and 2010, the Commander dazzled Jeep enthusiasts with its off-roading chops. Now, in 2022, the Commander has made a resurgence in India and Brazil, and many Jeep fans are hoping that it will come to the USA next.
If you’re thinking about taking your beloved Commander off the beaten path—or simply preparing for its long-awaited return—insurance
super app
has the answers you need. We’ll walk you through all the essentials: ground clearance, torque, tires, insurance, and lots more.

Can the Jeep Commander go off-road?

Absolutely! With a relatively short ground clearance, the Jeep Commander won’t be able to crawl over boulders, but it should be able to tackle roots, ruts, mud, and other tough terrains.
Plus, since most used Commanders are going for about $8,000 today, it’s a trail warrior that won’t break the bank! Whether you’re heading to the mountains for a weekend camping trip or navigating the highway on your daily commute, the Jeep Commander is up to the task.
So, what are the Commander’s off-roading strengths and weaknesses? Jerry is here to break them down.
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Ground clearance

Let’s start from the ground up—literally! Ground clearance, which is the distance between the bottom of your car’s body and the ground, is a crucial component of off-roading success. The Commander’s clearance of 8.6 inches isn’t bad, but it won’t be enough to scale serious obstacles.
Ideally, you should look for a ground clearance of 8.8 to 10.8 inches. If you’re staying in the
family, you could try out the
, which stands 9.7 inches off the ground. Or, if your heart is set on the Commander, equip it with a custom lift kit to boost your clearance by two to four inches.


If you want to achieve off-roading greatness, low-end torque is your best friend. Essentially, a vehicle with low-end torque has lots of power at a low speed, which is perfect for conquering steep slopes.
The baseline Jeep Commander has a 3.7L V6 engine that produces 235 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 RPM. That’s pretty solid—but it pales in comparison to the 389 lb-ft generated by the top-tier 5.7L V8 engine. 
At the end of the day, if you’re content with some light off-roading, the V6 will get the job done. But if you want your name in the trailblazing hall of fame, you’ll need to upgrade to the V8—trust us, when you hear the roar of that 357 horsepower engine, you won’t regret it.


Of course, to put all that torque to good use, you’ll need some top-notch tires! Depending on which year you go for, the Jeep Commander rolls on 17 or 18-inch wheels, wrapped in a sturdy, all-terrain tire. 
Though standard Jeep tires never disappoint, you should consider adding a set of
all-terrain tires
to reach your full potential. All-terrain tires have better traction, so they’re able to distribute power more effectively. Sure, they’ll set you back a pretty penny—but they’ll take your all-terrain game to the next level.
MORE: Winter tires vs. all-season tires: Which is better?


When it comes to the drivetrain, Jeep owners have nothing to worry about. The Commander comes with an all-wheel drive option, which is a must-have for off-roading. 


No doubt, when you’re on the road less traveled, you’ll be doing lots of climbing and descending. As such, you’ll want to be confident that your approach and departure angles are rock-solid:
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
Fortunately, the Commander has outstanding approach and departure angles: 34 and 27 degrees, respectively. That agility will come in handy when you’re in a tight spot!

Off-road rating: Rough and Ready…verging on Trail Boss!

Last (but definitely not least!), let’s check out
highly technical DIRT rating system:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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It’s a close call, but we’re giving the Jeep Commander a Rough and Ready rating. It’s awesome for casual off-roading—with buddies or solo.
If you splurge for the V8 option and add a lift kit, though, we think the Commander can creep into Trail Boss territory. That added clearance and torque will transform the Commander from an off-road follower into an all-terrain trailblazer. The choice is yours!

The best off-road alternatives to the Jeep Commander

The Jeep Commander is a killer off-road ride—but what if you need more power? Or a lower price tag? Don’t worry, Jerry has done some digging, and we’ve got three stellar options for you to consider.
Best affordable alternative
2000 Nissan Xterra
$2,500 to $5,000
Though it’s got less power than the Commander, the Nissan Xterra will cut your payment in half and still provide solid off-roading ability.
Best pickup truck alternative
2007 Dodge Dakota
$6,000 to $10,000
Need an off-roading chariot that will double as a work truck? Check out the Dodge Dakota. It’s got a roaring V8 engine and tons of space for cargo in the bed.
Best alternative for serious off-roading
2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak
If you’re willing to pay more for a real Trail Boss, look no further than the Bronco Wildtrak. With all-wheel drive, a mighty V6 engine, and climbing angles of 43.2 and 37 degrees, it’s a first-rate off-roader.
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Loud music, a car full of friends, wind in your hair—hands down, off-roading is one of the best experiences out there. Unfortunately, it comes with one big downside: insuring off-road vehicles is extra expensive!
If you want to fight back against high car insurance rates,
is your secret weapon. How does it work? Simple!
Download Jerry’s top-rated insurance shopping app, sign up in 45 seconds, and sit back as Jerry combs through the nation’s best rates from 50+ top insurance companies. Then, just tap your favorite quote, and let Jerry’s fantastic insurance team help you switch.
Here’s the icing on the cake: the average Jerry driver saves over $800 on car insurance! Call it a coincidence, but that’s the perfect amount to spend on a Jeep lift kit.
“I can’t thank the
app enough! They saved me $160 a month, and I didn’t even have to talk over the phone. They took care of everything through text.” —Travis Y.
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
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