Jeep Liberty Origins
The Jeep Liberty took many design cues from the Jeep Cherokee, but there were many changes that modified the look and feel of the Liberty. The body itself was expanded to create a larger cargo area, higher roof, and bigger wheel arches that flare.
The Jeep Liberty maintained the tradition of the Cherokee by remaining a tough and durable offroad vehicle. The suspension allows the Liberty to navigate steeper terrain than most direct competitors. The independent front and rear suspension, as well as the rack-and-pinion steering, give the driver ultimate control and comfort regardless of road conditions.
Unfortunately, as with most vehicles, there are downsides. Fuel economy is not as good as many competitors. Interior options are good, but the actual design is somewhat hard, with lots of plastic touches that cheapen the feel of the vehicle for some consumers.About the Jeep Liberty
The new Jeep Liberty took a huge step backwards. Although Jeep has finally tackled the interior problems with the vehicle, the mechanicals are getting old and lagging behind the competition. Although the Jeep Liberty can handle off-road conditions, pavement is a different story. The V-6 accelerates slowly and has terrible fuel economy, the handling is poor, and the transmission is very outdated. Even the improved interior leaves something to be desired.
The Jeep Liberty is available in three trim lines: the Sport, Limited, and Jet. The entry Sport model comes equipped with automatic headlights, heated seats, folding passenger seat, back seat with a 60/40 split, 16-inch alloy wheels, and tilt-only steering. A six-speaker system is available with satellite radio and an auxiliary jack is provided for iPod integration.
The Liberty model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome trim on the exterior, and an eight-speaker Infinity entertainment system. An upgrade to 18-inch tires is also available.
The Jet model provides 20-inch alloy wheels, exterior chrome, a rear parking-alert system, redesigned interior trim, and side curtain airbags.
Several packages are available for increased performance. A towing package is available that includes towing equipment, cloth sunroof, rear sensors, and a better sound system. An Artic Package available for the four-wheel drive vehicles adds vinyl upholstery, black wheel trim, and satin badging.
The 3.7-liter V-6 under the hood produces 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. This provides a lot of towing power, allowing the Liberty to drag 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the car can move quickly. Acceleration is muddy and underwhelming, especially in comparison to its competition. The fuel economy is poor, with a rating of 16/22 mpg city/highway.
The safety record for the vehicles is also worth considering. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave the top mark for front-offset crash tests and roof strength, but only a marginal rating for the side-impact tests. Jeep Liberty Evolution
The first-generation Jeep Liberty debuted in 2002. The first vehicles had a very similar grille and headlamp design as the Cherokee. Two trim lines -- the base Sport model and the top Limited model -- were available in both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive.
The base Sport model and the Limited had a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that produced 210 horsepower that used a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. A 2.4-liter engine was available from 2002 to 2005. The four-wheel drive vehicles had a low-range gearing option for offroad driving.
2003 and 2004 saw improvements to the interior of the vehicle. An overhead console and a six-disc CD player was borrowed from the Jeep Grand Cherokee design and adopted by the Liberty. A Columbia Edition was limited and boasted 16-inch graphite paint wheels, as well as a sunroof and fog lamps.
In 2005 and 2006, a diesel engine was available as well. This 2.8-liter engine was turbo-charged and produced 160 horsepower with 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine provided better fuel economy than the V-6, though this resulted in some cabin comfort being sacrificed to increased engine noise. U.S. emission standards required that Jeep discontinue the diesel engine.
The second and current generation of the vehicle was introduced in 2008.