4 August 2004

The Hummer H2 will meet with stiff all-American competition when Jeep’s biggest model, the new Commander, arrives Stateside next summer. These are the first pictures of DaimlerChrysler’s huge SUV, snapped as it began hot-weather testing in America’s Death Valley last week.

Although Jeep’s fourth model line will be based on the Rescue concept shown at the Detroit Motor Show at the beginning of the year. It goes on sale in the US from next summer, and will be a further 12 to 18 months later arriving in Europe, putting it in showrooms in late-2006. UK sales in right-hand drive are already confirmed.

Despite its squat, square looks, the Commander is said to be more than 110mm taller than the Grand Cherokee. The US market will get a choice of 254bhp 4.7-litre V8 and 340bhp 5.7-litre Hemi V8 power units, although a diesel will be essential to achieve any sales impact in Europe.

‘The Jeep brand has so much more potential than it is actually using,’ said Michael Castiglione, design manager at the company’s advanced product design centre in California. ‘At both ends of the brand there is room for expansion.’

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The company is also examining the possibility of a smaller SUV below the Cherokee, based on the Compass concept shown at Detroit in 2002.

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