Though not as popular as the Grand Cherokee and the car it shares much in common, the Jeep Commander is by far a better buying proposition, especially used. Commanders of similar MY and mileage sell for a few thousand less, though offer much more. Both cars share the same off-road capable chassis, the 4WD drivetrain and auto box, and the same diesel and petrol engines. The Commander is larger in every dimension, with 5 cm in length for some extra boot space, and with a higher roof height, there’s better headroom for taller passengers. There’s the added benefit of 7 seats, so ideal for large families. Jeep is synonymous with off-roading, so a Commander is a cheap starting point in doing some exploring on the cheap in the bush.
With a few modifications, you can get the best out of the torquey 3-litre diesel and liven up the untapped power in the big 4.7-litre V8 petrol. The cheapest and simplest changes yielding the best results come in the form of a Jeep Commander electronic throttle control.
What Is An Electronic Throttle Control?
Electronic throttle controllers are electronic devices that change how the engine’s onboard computer, or ECU, reads the signals it receives from the acceleration pedal. Each time you put your foot down, sensors measure the position of the pedal and send the corresponding voltage to the ECU. The lower down the pedal, the more power is used to open the engine’s throttle body, or what feeds the engine with the air and fuel mix. The result is faster acceleration. The purpose of the throttle control is to speed everything up, both in the sensor readouts, and the end result, picking up speed quicker.
Most manufacturers stifle the throttle response to avoid jumpiness when you apply your right foot. An electronic throttle control cuts this out, as it provides more linear and controlled acceleration through all gears. It complies especially well with auto transmissions like those in the Commander and Grand Cherokee pair to make the best use of the power of the big engines. Other systems like traction control, hill descent, hill start and ABS are also catered to, as the incremental adjustments in the throttle response gives drivers confidence in a variety of challenging driving conditions.
How an Electronic Throttle Control Benefits the Jeep Commander
A jeep Commander reduces throttle response times significantly. Besides quicker get up and go for a heavy vehicle like the Commander, this is good in several other areas. With quicker throttle actuation the 160 kW in the diesel come up much faster, as the turbo lag common in diesels is virtually non-existent. The engine revs faster, and uses less fuel in the process. Similarly, for the naturally-aspirated V8 petrol, there’s less stress lower in the rev range, and gear shifts are quicker as a result. Electronic throttle controllers don’t choke the big engines, but make timely use of all the available power.
With four modes on offer, a Jeep Commander electronic throttle control combines well with the off-roading modes in the Jeep. The Snow, Sand/Mud and Rock modes engage the low gears to cut out unwanted jolts from too much speed, and something that can get you in trouble. The Eco mode in the throttle control allows for up to 10 incremental adjustments, so descending steep hills, tackling difficult terrains like large rocks, or sandy beaches, and towing heavy trailers is an easy and safe task. You’ll get a better feel behind the wheel, and know exactly what the car is doing. The Eco mode can also save you some fuel in daily driving on tarmac.
Opposite the Eco mode is the Ultimate or Performance mode in the throttle control. This lets the engine gain speed much faster and cuts out the hesitancy before the wheels start to spin. Better acceleration is useful in overtaking on highways, or just letting the big engines rip. You’ll feel the difference. This mode can also be adjusted. If you feel the car is a bit indecisive, dial in mid-way for better throttle response, and if you want the best performance, go all the way up to 10. Modes and incremental changes can be changed easily while driving. If you’ve had enough thrills, dial the Performance mode back, and enjoy smooth, linear acceleration.
Auto modes are best as a set-and-forget option, allowing the throttle controller to do the work for you. Tackling steep hills, cornering and gaining speed on the motorway is automatically and optimally adjusted. Your car responds in the best way according to the situation on the road. If you’ve decided to turn the Jeep Commander electronic throttle off, or lending the car to someone else, set it to Neutral. This reverts to the factory Jeep throttle settings.
Buying and Installation
A Jeep Commander electronic throttle control will set you back about $300. Get it online or from a range of automotive retailers. It’s one of the most affordable performance upgrades you can get, and also the easiest and quickest to install. The package includes the sensors and box with LED readings telling you the mode and level at which the throttle is set. This fits easily anywhere along the dash or in a space that you find comfortable. With a throttle control installed you get crisper throttle response, better reaction times, and better acceleration. All this while saving some fuel.