Home > camping, family, offroad > Jeep commander vs. hummer H2, Toyota Land cruiser, Mercedes G, Land Rover, Toyota FJ, Nissan Armada

Jeep commander vs. hummer H2, Toyota Land cruiser, Mercedes G, Land Rover, Toyota FJ, Nissan Armada

I am a huge auto enthusiast because I love to drive it and I love working on them even more.  I feel taste and need for a specific vehicle evolves with changing lifestyle and situation.  For example, when you get married with 2 rambunctious boys.  Maybe I’m a typical guy because I’ve always loved trucks for their all around capability and that go-anywhere  attitude.  My family has decided to be more outdoor active and decided to go all in on camping.  We started off  with your traditional kind of camping where all the amenities are there at the site, hot running water, full service bathroom, and groceries nearby.  We entered a phase where that is not good enough and we need a primitive style camping lifestyle.  For those not familiar with camping terms, primitive camping=you camp if you can get there.  So this meant we trade in our beloved Nissan Quest minivan for an off-road worthy SUV.  I have a track record of holding on to cars until either wife makes me get rid of it, or until it burns to the ground.  That was enough justification to go out and pretty much buy any SUV in the market at any price.  Wife really wanted the Land Rover Range Rover or the LR series.  We looked at it together and I have to admit, it’s a beautiful car and I’m sure it will be very off-road capable.  On paper it seemed like a done deal, but… From an auto mechanic’s point of view(yours truly), Land Rover is on top of my list of unreliability.  Their drivetrain has never been the same since going with an aluminum block.  Its inexcusable that you need to have a head job on these motors at about every 30k miles.  Thought of picturing my wife and kids stranded on some 2 lane highway is a nightmare situation for me.  It was tough convincing my wife out of it since her heart was so deeply buried in a Landover, but I convinced her she had to think of it from family point of view, and she finally agreed it wouldn’t be right. 

Hummer H2 was just okay in luxury features and initial presentation.  Test drive proved this vehicle was not ready for prime time.  It accelerated like a turtle and interior is surprisingly small for such a huge vehicle.  The H2 in its stock form actually looks lot more tougher than it really is.  In fact the H2 is probably the least off-road capable truck out of all the other trucks I listed.  Even if I can overlook it pathetic abilities, I cannot risk my family getting attacked by environazis while shopping for groceries.

Mercedes G series and Toyota FJ was rejected immediately because it doesn’t offer 3rd row seat.  Its unfortunate because these two trucks look very unique and fully off-road capable.  7passenger seating is a necessity for my family because we need to include grandparents, friends, and family during some road trips.

Nissan Armada, all I can say is WOW.  It is probably the best value in terms of capability, cost, and features.  Its not the most off-road capable but it exceeds in every other category.  Enormous interior, great gas mileage compared to others on this list, and I know it will get through 90% of trails I need to get through.  So what is the problem you ask?? It was the size.  This truck is just too big to drive around for practical purpose, especially for my wife who has horrible time parallel parking her small Volvo sedan Sad smile  This was truly a sad realization because we both wanted this vehicle so bad…

Next up is arguably the best off-road vehicle for a family, Toyota Land cruiser.  Its on road/off-road capability is legendary, its reliability is legendary, its also sized perfectly for everyday use, and all this for about $65k.  This was my 1st choice truck, in fact we almost did buy this until…

Jeep Commander.  This was the last truck we looked at and it was basically a no-brainer when I found out about its “newfound” features.  I already knew following things about Jeeps.  Its off-road capability is legendary, repair & service is cheap and easy, and it’s as American as it gets.  But I also know the following negative things about Jeeps.  They smell like gas, most women hate it, has “redneck” image, small interior, nuisance failures, and its loud.  Many Jeep owners I know have well over 200k miles on them and the powertrain usually outlasts the body, which is amazing.  So knowing all this, I was shocked and blown away when I found out the Commander is everything a Jeep is with refinements you see in luxury vehicles, and its got 3rd row seating.  Its got sunroofs all over the celling, its got stadium seating, its got Jeep’s version of dual lockers for going over anything, power rear hatch like a mini-van, and Hemi-V8.  Its also very quiet on the road, and parking/maneuvering this truck is piece of cake.  Wife loves it for the 3rd row seat, power, visibility, turning ratio, and maneuverability.  Kids love it for stadium seating, sunroofs everywhere, & dvd player.  I love it because it should be mechanic friendly, replacement parts will be cheap, aftermarket support will be big, and I know my family will have one of the most reliable vehicles on the road.  We maxed out the Jeep commander to their Overland edition with Hemi V8/Quadradrive system with every option imaginable under the sun.  All this and it still came out cheaper than the Land cruiser!

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Categories: camping, family, offroad
  1. charly
    August 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve seen some of these commanders on the road and I have to admit they look sharp. Have you taken it offroad yet, with your family?

    • August 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      Yep, fully loaded with wife and kids. We drove through ORV trail in Greenridge state park in Maryland quiet effortlessly. It was so easy, I even let my wife drive it through some of the sections. Everybody had fun and it made us love our Commander even more.

  2. dave
    August 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

    If size wasn’t an issue would you have gotten the Armada?

  3. September 13, 2011 at 5:43 am

    I enjoyed that post. This topic is really very intesting.

  4. May 17, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Someone get me a mop quick! I’m drooling! LOL My first 4X4 was a Datsun. What a sweet little truck! The year was 1982. I’ve driven pick-ups and sedans since then but I’ve always imagined driving a 4X4 again. The Commander is one sweeeet vehicle! I’ll have a summer one and a winter one please. LOL
    Thanks for the brief yet wonderful escape from reality this morning Chris. I needed that! 😉

    • May 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

      lol, that was a great little truck, I know the exact one you are talking about! The value in the Commander is unbelievable. You get so much for so little. Its probably the best bang for your buck in family SUV. Too bad Jeep stopped making them, but I’m glad I got mine and it will keep on truckin till I’m ready to retire…lol
      You are thanking ME for the wonderful escape from reality this morning? you have no idea what it was like for me to watch that youtube video link you sent me this morning 🙂

  5. June 5, 2012 at 7:27 am

    It’s really a tough task to compare the Jeep Commander with all its key competitors, but kudos to you as you done that successfully here.

    • June 5, 2012 at 11:46 am

      For me it was just a decision of finding the right alternative to our beloved mini-van. We still love our commander and we’ve even taken it on couple of offroad parks, too.

  6. December 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Hi! I’ve been reading your weblog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

    • December 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      so that explains why I have higher than expected hit count on my blog. Thanks for stopping in, but I highly recommend you getting a blog account with wordpress, its pretty cool.
      Your comment on the auto/truck section is reminding me I need to do a mega blog on a “doomsday vehicle” build.

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